The Banking Facilities of Greater New York 1898 Part IV

Trust Companies

The trust companies of New York constitute one of the most important financial features of the Greater New York. Most of them do a banking business, and they are Intimately connected with the banks and insurance companies. It is sometimes said that the trust companies control virtually many of the banks. It is certain that some of the newer ones are owned and controlled by the larger insurance companies. All of them work in unison with the banks, even though competing for the same business. Like the banks, the older ones were organized under special charters until 1877. Since then the new ones have been organized under the general state banking law. They enjoy many privileges over the banks. Probably the oldest trust company is the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company. Next in point of age is the United States Trust Company, which was organized in 1853, with Joseph Lawrence as its first President and John A. Stewart as its first Secretary. Mr. Stewart has been its President since 1866, having been continuously in the employ of the company since its organization, except for a brief period, when he was Assistant United States Treasurer in this city. The Union Trust Company was organized in 1864. It was the failure of a trust company, the Ohio Life and Trust Company, which precipitated the panic of 1857. With that exception, the New York trust companies have been uniformly among the most successful of New York's financial institutions.

Savings Banks

The banks of the poor people are said to be the savings banks, but their depositors are by no means confined to the poor people, as the magnitude of their deposits clearly shows. The savings banks of the state of New York are conceded to be the safest in the country. Savings banks in this country date from 1816, and the oldest of them was organized in Philadelphia In that year. Massachusetts came next with one in 1816, and Maryland followed suit in 1818. The oldest one in this city is the Bank for Savings, 1819. Its oldest trustee in point of service is Frederick D. Tappen, President of the Gallatin National Bank. The Seamen's Bank for Savings was founded in 1829, the Bowery Savings Bank in 1834, the Institutions for the Savings of Merchants' Clerks in 1848, the Dry Dock Savings Institution in 1848, and the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in 1850. There are nearly 900,000 depositors In the New York savings banks, and their deposits aggregate nearly $40,000,000, with resources of about $50,000.000 in excess of that
amount, to say nothing of the savings banks of Brooklyn and other parts of the Greater New York. AS an illustration of the primitive methods prevailing during the early days of the oldest savings banks in this city, Mr. Tappen said recently that on the nights the Bank for Savings was open for business the Treasurer used to carry the deposits home in a little hair-covered trunk, the bank then not owning a safe. That trunk is now one of the bank's most prized possessions.

The Greenwich Savings Bank, of which John Harsen Rhoades Is President, had its first home at No. 10 Carmine Street, in Greenwich village, whence it moved to Sixth Avenue and Fourth Street; thence to Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place, and finally to the handsome substantial granite structure built for it at Sixth Avenue and Sixteenth Street. The trustees of the bank comprise several of the best-known men in this city. The Bowery Savings Bank has more than 118,000 depositors, and the largest amount of assets of any savings bank in the country. Its surplus  exceeds $6,000,000. John P. Townsend, for many years Vice-President of the bank, is the President, and the board of trustees comprises a large number of thoroughly representative men.

Foreign Bankers

of this city, but of the country at large, by the so-called foreign bankers. These are for the most part European bankers with American agencies in this city, or American bankers with European branches and connection. There are also the branches of the Canadian banks, which, like the other foreign bankers, do a regular foreign exchange business. Some national banks, such as the City Bank, the Hanover, the Park, and Produce Exchange Bank, also do a large foreign exchange business; but, as a rule, that class of business is largely monopolized by the so-called foreign bankers. But It is not so much in the conduct of a mere exchange business that the foreign bankers have taken a notable part of late. That, to a certain extent, may be said to regulate itself under normal conditions, but it has been in the control and manipulation of the foreign exchange market in times of panic, as in 1895, when, under the contract with the United States Treasurer, a syndicate of them undertook to protect the Treasury reserve by preventing
gold exports, that the foreign bankers have performed the most conspicuous service in the pursuit of their calling. Another important part, too, played by them, has been the financing of big railroad reorganization plans, involving the use of much foreign capital, the latest instance of which is the Union Pacific reorganization, involving the transfer of $100,000,000 of securities and the payment to the government of nearly $60,000,000 in cash, all of which, it may well be said, has been successfully carried out without the slightest disturbance of the world's money markets. In fact, it may be accepted as a fact that no big financial plan is now ever undertaken or carried out without the aid of the foreign bankers.

End of Article


Website: The History
Article Name: The Banking Facilities of Greater New York 1898 Part IV
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


 Greater New York: Its Government, Financial Institutions, Transportation Facilities and Chronology; The Evening Post Publishing Co. New York 1898
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