Spring Valley City Bank’s Rich Heritage
The Spring Valley City Bank started operations in 1902 as a private bank under the ownership of two wealthy landowners named Norris and Kendall, who lived in the Princeton-Malden area.
A .R. Greenwood, an attorney then living in Spring Valley, became the Manager and Charles W. Knapp was his assistant.
In 1905 The Spring Valley National Bank, popularly known as the "Devlin Bank" ceased, and on November 1, 1905 the present Spring Valley City Bank was organized as a corporation under the banking laws of the State of Illinois with capital of $50,000.00.
W. B. Hummer of LaSalle, father of Wayne Hummer a broker in Chicago, became the principal organizer, and he was assisted by Charles W. Knapp.
The original stockholders who subscribed to the Bank capital of $50,000 were as follows: W. B. Hummer, Charles W. Knapp, J.C. Sitterly, E. M. Baysoar, V.J. Reinke, Charles Fehr, I.L. Steinberg, L.S. Blachly, J.F. Kimber, Leo Gluck, George L. Hoffman, Fred Guenther, Samuel Bernstein, Barney Ernat, James O'Connor, George A. Wheeler, Mabel L. Norton, C.N. Hollerich, Edward McCabe, I.J. Jagodzinski and William MacDonald.
At the first stockholders meeting, the following were elected Directors of the Bank: W. B. Hummer, Charles W. Knapp, J. C. Sitterly, E. M. Baysoar, Charles Fehr, L. S. Blachly, George L. Hoffman, George A. Wheeler, and I.J. Jagodzinski.
The Directors then appointed as officers: W. B. Hummer, President, I.J. Jagodzinski, Vice President, and Charles W. Knapp, Cashier.
The first employees other than officers were Anna H. Knapp, Bookkeeper, Ben Fowler, Clerk and Joe Saunders, Janitor.
W. B. Hummer died on May 16, 1908. Wayne Hummer was elected Director to fill the vacancy caused by his father's death and J. C. Sitterly was appointed President. Later Charles W. Knapp, Roy W. Brown, Peter Hollerich, Roderick J. Luther, Philip T. Mc Ginnis, Gordon J. Virgo, David W. Kromphardt and current president Matthew E. Merboth each succeeded to the Presidency.
On April 15, 1932 the Spring Valley City Bank was raided by professional gunmen. The bank was robbed by four armed bandits. In the bank at the time were; Peter Hollerich, the cashier; L. H. Luther, assistant cashier; Bank employees Lloyd Pierson, Mrs. Andrew Savio and Miss Madelon Mahoney; and two customers, Miss Mary Abraham and an unidentified Spring Valley man. The four men joined the getaway driver waiting outside in a Buick and drove east down St. Paul St. Several police agencies joined the Spring Valley Police in the early phases of the manhunt. A statewide search ensued, with a $1,000 reward being offered for the capture and prosecution of the criminals. Within three weeks two of the criminals, William Hertig and Pat Thomas, who were involved in another robbery and kidnapping attempt in Taylorville, were apprehended. Luther positively identified the two, but they never returned to Bureau County, as they were prosecuted in southern Illinois. A third robber, William Hoefield, alias "Bill Sullivan", was also apprehended due to his involvement in another crime and was identified by Thomas.
Philip T. McGinnis a former President and Chairman of the Board remembered a banking day in April of 1976 when Steinberg's Furniture store, which was contiguous to the Bank's building, burned to the ground, with flames billowing halfway into St. Paul Street. The Bank's building at this time was located on the corner of St. Paul and Greenwood Streets. That evening bank personnel scrubbed the floors and all of the furnishings which were covered in soot. The Bank opened for business as usual on the next morning. At the time of the fire, the new Bank which is now located at 315 N. Cornelia St. Spring Valley was already under construction.
As the Bank's deposits grew rapidly, the Bank quickly outgrew the original building. In the late 1980's the board of directors passed a motion to expand the building doubling its square footage. Employees began to utilize the addition in 1989. Now the building sits beautifully landscaped, as its doors swing open for business to serve thousands of residents in the Illinois Valley and beyond.
One of the earliest reports of bank operations revealed as of November 10, 1905: Deposits were $70,044.77 and Loans were $51,088.24. Today Spring Valley City Bank remains an independent community bank with assets averaging $200 million. Spring Valley City Bank takes great pride in the safe and sound reputation it has achieved. It continues to grow even in tough economic times.
From 1905 through today Spring Valley City Bank has grown to the largest locally owned financial institution in Bureau County. We have a strong commitment to the people and businesses in our community. Spring Valley City Bank has been assisting all aspects of the community growth whether through an Ag Loan for farm expansion; as well as with a mortgage for your new home; or a HELOC to help cover college expenses for your children and our employees commitment to community involvement. It’s more than just a jingle – it’s how we strive to do business. "Do business with your friends and neighbors… Spring Valley City Bank."