Saline Valley Bank
Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, 10 September 1981
The Saline Valley Bank at Lincoln – the county’s oldest and largest banking establishment – will be observing its centennial anniversary this month with a five-hour open house planned for Sept. 19. The bank is pulling out all the stops for an extraordinary celebration, with a grand prize drawing for a $500 savings bond climaxing the event, underscored by 30 treasure chest drawings in the amounts of $50, $75 and $100 savings bonds – ten in each of three categories – pre-school, student and adult. …
“Our customers are the real key to the success of our banking operation,” stated Edward Hamilton, bank president, as the institution readies for its Century of Service observation. The first quarterly statement of the bank, founded in September 1881, showed a worth of $63,425. The June 1981 statement totaled $16,041,000.
From data supplied by Mr. Hamilton who has about 58 years of banking experience, it is learned that the Shuster and Walker families of St. Joseph, Mo., founded the Saline Valley Bank. Those first officers were A.M. Shuster, president; H.T. Walker, vice president, and C.J. Brown, cashier. Early directors, in addition to these bankers, were J.W. Walker and S.A. Walker.
“The Saline Valley Bank has shown tremendous growth,” Hamilton said this week, and added, “I have to say this, a part of it is inflation. Our sizeable growth, and I want to emphasize this, is due to cooperation and loyal support our friends have given over the years. The growth is through the support of our customers.”
Approximately two years after the bank opened here, A. Marshall, a Minneapolis railroad agent, entered the banking business at Saline Valley Bank, and was elected cashier. Known as Uncle Abe, he later purchased outside interests and was elected president – a position he held until his death in 1930.
Abe’s son D.B. Marshall, who had then served 25 years at the bank, was elected and served as president until his death in 1949. His son, D.B. Jr., was president from that time until 1966, and it was then that the board elected Ed Hamilton president. Prior to that time, Hamilton, a native of Iowa who came to the Lincoln bank in 1928 after five years at Kensington bank, held positions of assistant cashier, vice president, cashier and executive vice president. A director at Saline Valley Bank since 1928, he observed 53 years with the establishment in April 1981.
As the bank observes its centennial, its Board of Directors is comprised of Elizabeth Marshall Erickson (since 1965), Richard A. Erickson (1976), John T. Marshall (1971), Lucile Hamilton (1966)¬ – also retired as senior vice president in 1971 after serving the bank over 30 years; L.B. Brockett (1966) – Lou is a retired vice president; Robert E. Hamilton (1970) – current executive vice president; and Gerald H. Walter (1976) – former agricultural advisor at SVB.
Throughout most of its 100 year history, the Saline Valley Bank has occupied the same building at the corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue, although the interior has been remodeled several times over the years and the exterior was extensively remodeled in 1956.
Veteran banker Hamilton reminisced that in the ‘30s when local farmers generally survived by means of bartering – eggs, milk and cream for off-farm necessities – together with often less than $10 cash income per month, times were difficult, severe.
“Farmers were faced with the loss of equity in their homes and farms. That was a real difficult decade, he stressed.
“Banks did what they could – it was just impossible to hold them all.”
The then 58-year-old Salina Valley Bank ended the dusty, depression years of the ‘30s with a $335,000 statement.
Modern banking equipment has taken away the drudgery of hand-sorting checks and of standing hour after hour to post daily accounts after closing hours, Hamilton acknowledged. But, for executives in the banking business, mandatory federal requirements usurp those “extra” hours almost completely, so that “banking hours” to the Saline Valley bank president still often extend beyond those “open” hours posted on its now-modern glass doors.
Ed Hamilton grins at the mention of “bankers’ hours.” For him, the term recalls after-supper hours – as in the “dirty thirties.” During that period, the bank cut back to three employees when the economy just did not justify the normal four, and those after-supper hours were routing. And that was before the advent of “overtime,” he laughed.
Possibly the most outstanding change in banking services during the Saline Valley Bank’s century of service concerns the “about-face” in the marketing of banking services, Hamilton stated. In those days, and earlier, it was the bank patron who sought bank services. “Trends now are for banks to seek through all modern media – television and newspaper advertising for example – those depositors and loan customers,” he stated.
The Saline Valley Bank president, who attended the “Beanery” and Kansas Wesleyan College of Commerce at Salina before taking his first banking job at Kensington, emphasizes that the loyalty of folks in the community he loves – Lincoln – are wholly responsible for the bank’s steady growth.
And, speaking for the bank, he invites the community to come in to share the centennial anniversary holiday that has been announced for Sept. 19.
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