Camden Trust Co. 75 Years Old; Leads South Jersey in Deposits

Camden Courier-Post – July 1, 1948

The Camden Trust Co. marks its seventy-fifth anniversary today.

Opening for business in modest quarters at 227 Federal street, July 1, 1873, the bank now has a main office at Broadway and Market street and five branches — Haddonfield, Gloucester City, Blackwood, one in South Camden and one in East Camden.

When the institution was started, it was known as the Camden Insurance Safe Deposit & Trust Co. On February 2, 1874, the word “Insurance” was dropped from the original title and on April 11, 1938, it was shortened to the Camden Trust Co.

Largest in [South] Jersey

From the beginning, the bank was popular, so much so that deposits totaled $66,000 at the end of the first month. The institution has grown to the largest bank, in deposits, in New Jersey, south of Trenton; the seventh largest in the state, the 210th largest of the nation’s approximately 14,000 banks.

The original board of directors of the bank was composted of Benjamin F. Archer, the Rev. Patrick Byrne, Samuel H. Grey, John Hood, Jesse E. Huston, Thomas McKeen, George Raphael, William S. Scull, William J. Sewell, Jesse W. Starr, Charles P. Stratton, Thomas A. Wilson and Isaiah Woolston.

Officers were: Starr, president; Thomas H. Dudley, vice president; Hood, secretary, and McKeen, treasurer. Grey was solicitor and James M. Cassady was notary public.

Factor in Area’s Growth

Robert J. Kiesling, president of the bank, in commenting on the diamond anniversary, said the growth of the bank in size and influence parallels the development of the Camden-Philadelphia area into one of the great industrial regions of the United States.

“We of the Camden Trust Co like to feel that we have been factors in the vigorous and healthy growth of this section of the country,” Kiesling said. “We are pleased to have had a part in it.”

“We are pleased also that the bank, with its experienced personnel, its strategically located main office, two city branches, the three out-of-town branches, and its up-to-date equipment today is better prepared to serve the commercial, industries and personal banking needs of the steadily expanding Camden community than ever before,” he said.

Cities Population Rise

Kiesling observed that the population of Camden has increased from about 20,000 in 1873 to approximately 116,000 in 1948, and the Camden metropolitan district to over 250,000, and that the industrial production and commercial activity of the area have increased by much greater percentages.

“The original modest operations of the bank have been extended with the years to cover all phases of banking and trust service — and Camden Trust Co., today, in addition to having more deposits than any institution in south New Jersey, has the oldest trust department in the state, and one of the largest,” Kiesling said.

“A ‘first’ of which the bank is especially proud is its volume of FHA property improvement loans — it is first in the state and 39th in the country in the aggregate of such loans, having made nearly 16,000 individual FHA Title 1 loans totaling some $8,000,000 since that type of business commenced in 1934,” Kiesling pointed out.

Founders Urged Thrift

“The founders of the bank were interested in 1873 in cultivating for the people of Camden the opportunity and urge to save, ‘particularly for the mechanic and working man.’

“With the ever-widening scope of the bank’s activities the importance of thrift continued to be stressed and has been a dominant factor in the thinking of the bank’s directors and officers,” Kiesling commented.

“As a result, the Camden Trust Co. on a recent date had 78,237 savings and checking accounts; total deposits approximating $84,000,000 and total resources of close to $90,000,000,” he said.

“Camden Trust Co. is one of the venerable enterprises of the city. Yet old timers in the city can remember when it opened, as well as the names of other local companies now nationally known and respected which also were doing business in 1873,” Kiesling said. He cited the William S. Scull Co., coffee and tea wholesalers, 1831; the Esterbrook Pen Co., 1858; Sinnickson Chew & Sons Co., printers, 1862; American Dredging Co., 1867; Anthony Brothers, formerly Anthony’s China Hall, 1868, and David Baird Co., lumber wholesalers, 1873.

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