Exchange Bank History
History of the Exchange Bank - by Chuck Hall
Fred G. Moore brought a variety of achievements with him when he came to Perry in the spring of 1896. Born in Iowa and schooled in Kansas, he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy in 1882, where he remained three years. He resigned before obtaining his commission, to transfer to Princeton, where the best training possible was available in the field of finance and business. After completing the course he returned to Holton, Kansas, to become assistant cashier in his father’s bank. Here he remained until 1896 when he, like thousands of others, were lured to the new country to the south by glowing accounts of opportunity unlimited.
On February 20, 1896, Moore and his brother-in-law Harry A. McCandless invested $5,000.00 in capital and opened the doors of Exchange Bank in Perry, Ok. The bank’s first location was at the southwest corner of 7th and Delaware streets in a wooden building which was previously occupied by “Jake Leon’s Kentucky Liquor House.” Where bits were once traded for whiskey shots, dollars were traded for account ledgers and the bank would receive just over $1,000.00 in opening day deposits.
As the community grew and business increased the small working force at the bank was kept busy. All monetary transactions through the bank were kept in longhand in what was called a Boston Ledger. For each customer, there was a column for the old balance, a space for deposits, a column for checks, and another for the new balance. Loans were made on real estate, and personal property, mostly consisting of livestock. Sometimes a second mortgage would be taken on real estate if personal property was not enough to cover the loan. Nearly all farms in the area were covered by first mortgage loans.
In 1900 the bank’s location was moved to the north side of the downtown square. Also, this was the year oil was discovered in Noble County which helped deposits grow to $150,000.00 in 1912. This was followed by less than average rainfall for two years, a slower economy and slightly lower deposits when war was declared in Europe in August, 1914.
At this time the price of wheat was .88 cents per bushel, but because of the wheat shortage in Europe, the price soared to $2.26 per bushel by the end of the year. Despite another drought in 1916-1917 the community prospered because high prices received for farm products offset the shortage.
The ‘20s marked a period of prosperity for Perry. The business district was enlarged and many new homes were erected. In the fall of 1925, the Exchange Bank began remodeling. These operations were so extensive that it practically amounted to the erection of a new building.
By January, 1929 Fred Moore retired and Joe McClellan, who had lived in Perry for years and was active in both the bank and oil development became President and O.R. Hall continued as Cashier. Hall had first joined the organization in 1909; he was a native of Noble County, having been born inside Cherokee Strip Territory before the run. Historians suggest the real possibility that Hall was likely the first white man born in Indian Territory.
The ‘30s ushered in a period of economic depression in our community, as well as in the nation. In 1933 the price of oil reached a low of .40 cents per barrel at which time Governor Bill Murray, by executive order, declared that oil could not be purchased for less than $1.00 per barrel. Cattle prices became so low that on occasions would not bring enough to cover the cost of taking them to market.
Although there was a depression throughout the beginning of the ‘30s its depths were reached in 1931 when deposits at the Exchange Bank were at a low of $323,000 as compared with $428,000 just two years before. As a result of the failure of a large number of banks in 1932-33, all banks in the U.S. were temporarily closed by a Presidential Proclamation on March 4, 1933.
Prior to 1935 there were fifteen banks in Noble County of which four were banks in Perry that failed. From 1893 through 1935 the Exchange Bank was the only bank in the county that did not fail or that was not required to re-organize under a new bank charter. Following the moratorium, the Exchange Bank, being among the strongest banks, was allowed to reopen in two weeks. When most financial institutions were forced to start over, the Exchange Bank was allowed to continue building on its nearly 40 years of local service.
In December of 1933 McClellan retired and Y.V. Willett, a native of Perry who had been directing a bank in Goltry, Oklahoma purchased ½ of the Exchange Bank stock and shared equal ownership with O.R. Hall. At that time bank deposits were $340,000 and would nearly double in the 9 years this duo ran operations.
Upon Willett’s death in 1941, Mr. Hall became Chairman of the Board and President. During Hall’s administration the bank expanded its facilities in 1950 with a major remodeling and expansion to a partial second floor. Then again in 1963 the bank vacated the old bank building to a new building and a different location on the northeast corner of the square, where it now stands. Even though Hall had given up the Presidency to Kenneth K. Coldiron in January 1964, Hall continued to be quite active in the bank to his death in March of 1970. He had spent a total of 61 years in banking.
On August 11, 1970 Kenneth K. Coldirion, who had been an officer since employed by the bank in 1947 and President since 1964, became Chairman of the Board. He had retired as a full-time employee in 1980 but continued on as Chairman of the Board until February 1982. He would remain a valued advisor to the board as Chairman Emeritus until his death.
George W. Hall, son of O.R. Hall, joined the bank in 1950. He became Chief Executive Officer in January 1968 and held that position until 1996. He succeeded Coldiron in 1970 as President and Board Chairman in 1982. A position he held until November 1997, when he was elected as Chairman Emeritus (a position he held until his death in June 2007).
Under the watchful eye of the second generation of Halls, George would be on hand for the bank’s 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations. He would guide the bank through 3 more expansion and remodeling projects, a bank acquisition and the opening of the institution’s first detached facility. He would coordinate community gifts from the bank including: Ripley Field and Century Park and develop lasting relationships with depositors resulting in asset growth exceeding 1,000% during his 57 years of service to the Exchange Bank & Trust Company.
In 1982 Robert F. McDaniel, yet another Perry native, who had been with the bank 28 years became President. McDaniel started with the bank while still a teenager and in true pioneer form advanced through the ranks to hold top positions succeeding Hall as CEO and Chairman of the Board before his retirement in 2000.
The threesome of Hall, McDaniel and Coldiron are to be credited for the bank’s dramatic impact on Perry and its many accomplishments during their ½ century of service together. In 2000 a new century was received, and a new group of capable Perry natives would make up the bank’s management team.
In February 1988, Dwight Hamann was hired by the bank as a marketer. Hamann, born and raised in Perry, took an interest in lending and soon held the largest single-officer loan portfolio in Exchange Bank’s history. Already a college graduate, Hamann would spend his spare time in night school earning his Masters before successfully obtaining his CPA designation. In 2000, already serving as bank President, Dwight would succeed McDaniel as CEO.
Charles Hall also joined the bank in 1988. The son of George W. Hall and the grandson of O.R. Hall, he would be the third generation Exchange Bank banker and a fourth generation Cherokee Strip settler. Hall was hired to eventually take over Hamann’s marketing duties and soon became active in both bank and holding company general operations. Following a 4-year stint with the Oklahoma Bankers Association as Director of Government Relations, Hall returned to the bank and now serves as Chairman of the Board for both the holding company (Perry Bancshares) and Exchange Bank & Trust Company.
Zack Hall, a graduate from the University of Oklahoma and the youngest son of George W. Hall and the Grandson of O.R. Hall would leave the Institutional Investment firm of James Baker and Associates to join the bank as Vice-President for commercial lending in May of 2000. With his finance background, Zack was soon charged with the bank’s 35-million-dollar investment portfolio and accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer.
On July 3rd, 2008, the Exchange Bank & Trust Company opened its doors to a new 9500 square foot branch bank facility in Stillwater, Ok. Labeled as one of the finest new construction projects in Payne County for 2008, the modern/state-of-the-art banking center was designed to house branch bank operations; a community meeting room; and a mortgage lending department which opened in May of 2009. Dwight Hamann was selected by the Board to service as President of Stillwater operations and relocated to Stillwater. Charles Hall assumed the CEO responsibilities for both banks and Zack Hall was promoted to President of Exchange Bank in Perry.
By late December 2015, Stillwater operations grew in such a fashion that it required the lease of a second location to house the mortgage loan function and the purchase of a downtown Stillwater location where a full-service drive-up ATM facility was erected.
With the untimely passing of Mr. Hamann in February 2016, Andrea Bendele was selected by the board of directors to assume the Presidency of the Stillwater market. Mrs. Bendele was first hired by the bank in 2009 as a commercial lender just prior to the Stillwater location’s first anniversary. She specialized in Small Business Administration lending and quickly became Exchange Bank Stillwater’s second largest commercial lender in portfolio size.
Continued growth in the Stillwater market resulted in a need for a second bank facility. In early Fall of 2017, the Exchange Bank & Trust Company purchased approximately 10,000 square feet of the old Hastings building located on the corner of Hall of Fame and Main Street. Construction began in January of 2018 and the new bank opened for business at the beginning of 2019. The Exchange Bank mortgage lending department moved from the leased property west of town to the new centrally-located facility on Main Street. Andrea Bendele remains the President of the Stillwater market and Garrett Morris was promoted to Branch Executive of the new Main Street location.
Now celebrating their 126th year in operation, the Exchange Bank & Trust Company from its humble beginning of $1,000 in opening day deposits, has grown to total assets exceeding $358 million dollars to date. Presently, the bank employs over 80 hardworking, talented staff members all with a desire to be better tomorrow than they were today. The future remains bright for the “old reliable”. The late George W. Hall would often say, “Now and then it is well to look back and see how far we have come, for frequently we fail to appreciate what has been done in our day to day living.”