A centennial review: the year was 1927 and the future had hardly ever looked brighter for the City of Camden. Times were prosperous, business and industry were booming, and the city was full of recently constructed public buildings, civic improvements, schools, the new Delaware River bridge and its new highway to the suburbs. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression that followed were in the unimagined future.
The Merchants Trust was organized in November of 1911. It was a small bank that catered to Camden’s business community, and was one of many small and medium sized banks active in the 1910s and 1920s. From its founding through his death in 1924 the president of the Merchants Trust was Charles Reynolds. He was succeeded in that position by George Frey. E.G. Robinson served as vice-president all through this time. The new bank acquired the house of Casper T. Sharpless at 18 Broadway, and remodeled it for use as a bank. The Merchants Trust opened its doors for business on March 4, 1912.
The Central Trust Company organized on April 9, 1891 at Read’s Hall, a building which later housed the Camden Daily Courier newspaper. After receiving its charter on May 8, the Central Trust 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 Central Trust Company bank building at 4th & Federal Streets was opened on October 31, 1900. The first president was Abraham Anderson, R.F. Bancroft the first vice-president, and Charles C. Pine the first treasurer. Thomas Nekervis was made secretary-treasurer on April 14, 1892. Montreville Shinn was made assistant Secretary-Treasurer on June 16, 1908, and C. Chester Craig was made trust officer on December 17, 1900.