BRIEF HISTORY OF MEDINA SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION OVER 125 YEARS STRONG
Banking in the late 1800’s was an institution for the privileged. Most banks were privately owned or controlled by wealthy stock holders who had the ability to grant or deny loan requests purely at their discretion. Their clientele were probably also of the middle and upper classes. The common, hard-working men of the time would probably have been hard pressed to be granted a loan under such a system. And Medina was typical. In 1888, Medina had two banks, the Earl W. Card & Co. Bank, owned by Earl W. Card and the Union Bank of Medina, with George A. Newell as president.
On March 20th, 1888, local attorney Fred L. Downs gathered together in his office at 502 Main Street, a group of 25 to 30 men who felt strongly that in order for Medina to grow and prosper, the community needed a banking institution, owned by its depositors, not the stock holders, in which the common, hardworking people of the day would have a safe place to save and invest their savings for the American dream of home ownership.
It was on this day that these men of foresight drew up the by-laws, elected 12 directors and chose a name for that institution, the Medina Saving and Loan Association. Interestingly, the first treasurer of the S & L was also the president of the Union Bank, George A. Newell, and its first secretary Harry F.Welton, a cashier of the Union Bank. In addition, several of the first directors were also directors of the Union Bank. So close, in fact, was this apparent relationship, that the Medina Tribune in a 1931 article, referred to the S & L as a “Branch of the Union Bank of Medina”.
The S & L beginnings were modest at best. Deposits were accepted every Monday evening in the offices of the Village, which were then located at 103 West Center Street. Upon completion of Medina’s City Hall in 1909, the Loan would set up its table on Monday nights in that building’s lobby. It was not until 1925, that the Loan finally had its first actual office which was located in rooms above the Union Bank at 500 Main Street.
In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the Central Bank of Medina, which opened in 1908 after the National Bank of Medina, the successor of the Earl W. Card & Co. Bank, which was closed for misappropriation of funds, failed that November with the Union Bank following soon after in December.
With these events, the S & L was forced again to set up their table in the lobby of City Hall. But by November 1932, arrangements had been made to remodel the western portion of the former post office at 110 West Center Street in the Downs & Kearney Block and the Loan moved to its first permanent office and established regular business hours.
It’s important to note, that during these hard times, Medina Savings and Loan would not fail. Much of the credit for this goes to then secretary, Clyde Walters, who it is said would personally call on loan customers accepting whatever little payment they could make, insuring that most would not default. It is because of this dedication to its depositors that a large percentage of past home ownerships in Medina can be attributed to existence of the Savings and Loan.
The Loan would remain at 110 West Center Street until 1969, when they would move into their new office building at 119 Park Avenue. This location was further enlarged in 1982. With the expansion of business along the Maple Ridge corridor, a branch office was opened in 1995 in front of Tops Markets. This would soon become the main office and finally, 119 Park Avenue would be vacated and sold to the Village of Medina whose offices are now located there. The year 2006, would see further expansion as a branch office was opened in the newly completed Wal-Mart located in Albion.
In its 125 years of operation, the Loan has had only 8 presidents. The first two, William U. Lee and B. Edward Slack together would serve 50 years. They were followed by Charles N. Hood, Irvin S. Bowen, Clyde Walters, Laverne Ehrenreich, Randi Stensgard and Timothy Moriarty.
The success of the S & L can be largely attributed to the dedication of its directors. Past directors read like a who’s who of area business men and included in recent memory; Donald Acer, C. Ronald Slack, R. Louis Walters, Henry G. Pollard, Robert E. Waters, John Sylvester, Robert Gelder, Charles Benson, Charles Slack, and John Slack.
Current directors are Donald Colquhoun, Kathleen Boice, Richard Barry, Craig Lacy, Katherine Bogan, Edward Fancher, James Gardner and Jeanne Whipple.
From its humble beginnings of accepting deposits one evening a week, the S & L has grown into a full service NYS Chartered Mutual Savings Bank, still owned by its depositors and offering a complete package of competitive banking products and services, both at its physical locations and over the internet. The Loan also has the largest number of off-site ATM’s of any county bank.
And today our commitment to Medina is the same as it was back in 1888, “To provide individuals and businesses with safe, affordable and personalized banking services with local decision making and re-investment of deposits back into the community. Everyday for over 125 years and with a commitment to the future we strive to continue to earn our motto of “Generations of Trust”.