A history of banking in Camden, NJ

Notice

This page was drawn in great part from the book SPAN OF A CENTURY 1828-1928 100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY.

SPAN OF A CENTURY, 1828-1928

100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY

Compiled from notes and data collected by Charles S. Boyer, President Camden County Historical Society. Published by Centennial Anniversary Committee of Camden, New Jersey. Additional Photos and Notes by Phillip Cohen in 2003.

Want to see more? Check out the Span of a Century series.


Camden Banking

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank was organized with a capital of $300,000 on March 31, 1855. The banking house at the southeast corner of Front and Market Streets was built at the cost of $18,000. This institution was conducted as a State Bank until September 1, 1864 when it became a National Bank and its title changed to First National Bank of Camden. On July 1, 1922, it merged with the National State Bank under the title of First National State Bank of Camden. The banking house of the National State Bank was used by the combined institutions and the old building of the First National Bank was subsequently sold to the Joseph Campbell Soup Company.

The Camden Insurance Safe Deposit & Trust Company was chartered by an act of the Legislature, approved April 4, 1873, and the subscription book was opened May 31, 1873, at Parson’s Hotel, Front and Federal Streets.

In 1874 the Legislature authorized the company to change the name to The Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company. The house lately occupied by Dr. Isaac S. Mulford, which was originally built by Joshua Cooper in 1810, was purchased, fitted up as a banking house and opened for business July 1, 1873. With some alterations, made necessary from time to time, this building was used until October 31, 1892, when the present banking house was completed and opened for business. The Mulford House was torn down in April of 1893, and in 1901 the rear building was completed. Jesse W. Starr was the first president, followed in succession by James B. Dayton, Peter L. Voorhees, William C. Dayton, Alexander C. Wood, Edward L. Farr, and Ephraim Tomlinson.

In 1938 the bank shortened its name again to that of Camden Trust. By the time it celebrated its 75th Anniversary, in 1948, it was the largest bank in South Jersey, and seventh largest in the state.

The Camden National Bank opened at 259 Kaighn Avenue on August 13, 1885. Zophar C. Howell was the first President. The brick bank building at 2nd and Kaighn Avenue was opened in July of 1887. The bank removed to its new building at Broadway and Sycamore Street in 1906. This bank merged with the First Camden National Bank and Trust Company on July 1, 1927.

The New Jersey Safe Deposit and Trust Company was incorporated on November 10, 1886. Its temporary office was at 225 Market Street, until the building at 301, Market Street designed by local architect Arthur Truscott, was occupied on November 1, 1888. This company was merged with the Security Trust Company on December 8, 1902, and was thereafter known as the Security Trust Company.

The Central Trust Company commenced business on May 11, 1891. The bank was located at 324 Federal Street until April 1, 1892, and then at 323 Federal Street. The bank building at 4th & Federal Streets was opened on October 31, 1900. The first president was Abraham Anderson. Other principals included William L. Hurley, Killam Bennett, Volney G. Bennett, and George A. Munger. This bank merged with the Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company in 1927.

The Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company, which first opened on July 1, 1873, opened its new building at the northeast corner of Broadway and Market Street on October 31, 1892.

In 1938 the bank shortened its name again to that of Camden Trust. By the time it celebrated its 75th Anniversary, in 1948, the Camden Trust was the largest bank in South Jersey, and seventh largest in the state.

The Central Trust Company bank building at 4th & Federal Streets was opened on October 31, 1900. This bank merged with the Camden Safe Deposit & Trust Company in 1927.

After the merger, the building became the home of the Equitable Beneficial Insurance Company, and remains as such today.

In October of 1902 the Security Trust Company, which had been previously created by the consolidation of the Security Trust & Safe Deposit Company and the Real Estate Loan & Trust Company, absorbed the New Jersey Trust & Safe Deposit Company. Francis R. Fithian was the President if the Security Trust Company at that time.

East End Trust Company organized May 26, 1905. Dr. C.F. Hadley was the first president.

Merchants Trust Company laid the cornerstone of the new building at Broadway and Carman Street on May 14, 1918.

The Camden City Clearing House, organized by Camden’s financial institutions to facilitate business and to do away with runners, began operation on Monday, February 17, 1919.

Thomas W. McCowan, for forty-seven years assistant paying teller of the Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Company, died on March 15, 1921 at the age of 76 years.

The South Camden Trust Company was opened for business on April 2, 1921. Judge Ralph W.E. Donges was the first president. The building was designed by architect Joseph Hettel.

The cornerstone of the East End Trust Company was laid on September 24, 1921.

Camden banks received their first “Peace” silver dollars on January 4, 1922 from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Merchants Trust Company introduced a twelve-hour service in its banking-house in June, 1923.

Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Company celebrated its fiftieth anniversary July 2, 1923. Ephraim Tomlinson, the President, and other officers and directors of the bank were host to visiting bankers from Camden and elsewhere.

Victory Trust Company organized November of 1923. It took over the private banking business of Antonio Di Paola, who became the first President of the bank.

The cornerstone of the new $200,000 banking-house of the Parkside Trust Company Haddon and Kaighn Avenues, was laid August 21, 1925.

The new banking house of the Parkside Title and Trust Company was opened to the public on March 12, 1926.

Contractor James W. Draper began construction of the new banking house of the South Camden Trust Company, at Broadway and Ferry Avenue, on Monday, March 1, 1926.

The North Camden Trust Company began business on May 4, 1926 in the banking house on Penn Street at 6th and the Bridge Plaza. Dr. J. Lynn Mahaffey was the first President.

Contract awarded December 1927 for the construction of the new bank building for the First Camden National Bank& Trust Company, to be erected at Broadway & Cooper Streets, at a cost of approximately $825,000

On May 16, 1927 a merger was effected between the West Jersey Trust Company and the Parkside Title and Trust Company, the new bank to be known as the West Jersey-Parkside Trust Company. Congressman Francis Ford Patterson Jr. was the first president of the combined banks. The West Jersey Trust Company was established April 2, 1906 at Third and Market Streets, and its first President was Norman Grey.

Fairview office of the West Jersey-Parkside Trust Company was opened November 1, 1927.

On July 1, 1927 the First Camden National Bank& Trust Company began business under this title. The bank and its forebears trace their history back to 1812. In that year Camden’s first bank was incorporated. It was known as The State Bank at Camden, and retained that name until June 2, 1865, at which time it became a National Bank and its title was made “The National State Bank of Camden”. This name was retained until July 1, 1922 when it merged with the First National Bank under the name First National State Bank. In 1927 another merger took place, this time with the Camden National bank, the new and large institution now being known as First Camden National Bank & Trust Company. The first President of this institution was F. Morse Archer.

The Broadway Trust Company and the Merchants Trust Company merged July 1, 1927. John B. Kates was the first President of the merged banks. The Broadway Trust Company was incorporated in April 1907 and opened for business August 12, 1907. Its first president was John J. Burleigh. On September 8, 1920 this company moved into its handsome banking building at Broadway and Walnut Streets. The Merchants Trust Company was organized November 16, 1911 and opened for business March 4, 1912 at 18 Broadway. The first President was Charles A. Reynolds. The present bank building (1928) was opened for business March 24, 1919.

The consolidation of the West Jersey Trust Company and Parkside Title and Trust Company became effective May 16, 1927.

Cornerstone of the American National Bank, Broadway and Kaighn Avenue, laid April 9, 1927.

The Camden Safe Deposit and Trust Company announced early in April the purchase of a site at the northwest corner of Broadway and Market Street, upon which a modern bank building will later be erected.

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