NORTH COAST, Calif. – As the only locally chartered community bank, Savings Bank of Mendocino County looks forward to the future, as they reflect on the past 110 years.
In the latter part of 1903, a group of local businessmen got together and decided that the little agricultural community of Ukiah, the county seat, needed a third bank.
One of those in attendance, A.F. Redemeyer, had been a private banker and loan broker. He consulted with Judge J.M. Mannon, who was directed to proceed with plans for organization and a bank charter.
On Dec. 11, 1903, Savings Bank of Mendocino County opened for business at the Redemeyer building on the corner of State Street and Perkins Street in Ukiah, with J.H. Barker, president, acting as teller that day.
The first deposit of $100 made by a local blacksmith, W.H. Chessall, was recorded in the bank’s ledger with quill and ink.
The following day, Mary J. Thompson of Ukiah took out the first loan, a mortgage on her property for $300, payable in one year at 9 percent interest.
By 1909, due to growing business, the bank moved to larger quarters on School Street, Ukiah. This building was later known as the Republican Press Building.
The year 1914 brought additional change as J.H. Barker moved to San Francisco and was succeeded by Judge J.M. Mannon as president. J.L. McCracken became vice president.
The following year, William Bromley, who had been an electrical engineer for the city of Ukiah when electricity first came to the city, was employed to fill the need of a full-time assistant cashier.
Continued growth of business brought about the purchase of property at the corner of School and Standley in 1915 and construction of a new bank building began. Local industry was patronized in building the bank’s new home to the greatest extent possible.
It was reported in the Ukiah Republican Press on Aug. 11, 1916, that contractor U.N. Briggs burned the new bricks to be used for construction and local builders generously admired his work.
The new building was opened on Feb. 28, 1917, with three of the original founders of the bank – J.L. McCracken, J.M. Mannon and Dr. Stout – there to welcome visitors.
By 1920, Savings Bank assets had grown to $983,738. By 1923, the time Savings Bank celebrated its first 20 years, it had several thousand depositors and was one of the solid financial institutions in the state.
Charles M. Mannon, one of the original stockholders, was made a director in 1923 and in 1926 he was named president of the bank following the death of his father, Judge J.M. Mannon.
The Bank of Hopland was purchased in 1927, making this the first branch of Savings Bank, with R.E. Shimmin as manager.
While the Great Depression was at its height, Savings Bank bought the assets of First National Bank of Ukiah. Depositors were assured that the bank would honor their accounts.
In 1933 President Roosevelt proclaimed March 6-9 a “bank holiday.” All bank operations were halted. This measure was taken to stop hoarding of money by persons fearing bank failure. Only financially sound banks were allowed to open after the “holiday.”
On March 10, 1933, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, being determined financially sound, reopened its doors for banking business.
During World War II, three men of Savings Bank were in the service: Charles Shimmin, Frank Branson and Lloyd Hamlin.
Local women and high school students worked in the hop fields, pear orchards and grape vineyards while the men were at war. William Bromley was chairman of the ration board. Fred L. Creen was coordinator of War Bonds.
In 1952, Savings Bank purchased the Christian Church property on School Street for expansion. The following year, Savings Bank celebrated its 50th anniversary with assets of $10,494,851 and a staff of 24.
By 1956, the addition and remodeling of Savings Bank’s head office on School Street was completed, featuring the first drive-up windows in Ukiah, the “Auto Bank.” A year later Savings Bank opened Ukiah’s first “walk-up window” – a banking facility that allowed pedestrian customers to bank before and after regular banking hours.
Savings Bank President Charles M. Mannon passed away in 1957, seeing many of his dreams come to fruition. He had graduated from Stanford University in 1898. Herbert Hoover and Irvin S. Cobb were his classmates. In 1900 he graduated from Hastings College of Law.
In 1904, he was named assistant cashier at the bank in order to carry on for the cashier when necessary. He also served as attorney for the bank with his father and was made a director in 1923. He was the first of the original stockholders to part with any of his stock, selling 15 shares to the cashier, Arthur L. Tracy, in 1904.
With the passing of Charles M. Mannon, William Bromley acquired the position of Savings Bank president, serving from 1957 to 1964.
In 1963, the Barker Warehouse property (E.C. Kraft building) was purchased. The new remodeling extended the bank building 20 feet north providing space for loan officers and a new board room. New bookkeeping equipment was purchased to facilitate the processing of the large amount of paperwork necessary for bank business. The following year, the Barker and Schamber property was purchased.
A new program for Savings Bank was established in the Fall of 1964 called School Savings. It began with 1,400 student accounts. By the 1970s two tellers handled 11 Ukiah area elementary and junior high schools and approximately 2,500 student accounts every school year.
Today, Savings Bank is pleased to continue offering an on-campus Student Savings program at many local schools. Students learn the value of compound interest and saving for a future expense. Good habits start early in life and the savings habit brings lifelong benefits.
By 1965 it had become apparent that one bank office in Ukiah could not efficiently handle all the business.
On Nov. 11, 1966, Savings Bank opened the South Branch, located on South State Street with William Cherry as branch manager. Known as the “Round Bank” because of its circular structure, it reminded residents of a flying saucer, in keeping with the Space Age. Today the building is home to a 1950s theme diner, Be-Bops.
The year 1969 brought about the purchase of the Van Allen property in Ukiah at the corner of Oak and Smith streets.
When the assets of Coast National Bank in Fort Bragg were purchased by a large chain bank, Savings Bank felt that the coastal citizens should still have the choice of a local, independent bank. On Feb. 16, 1970, the Fort Bragg Branch of Savings Bank opened its doors at a temporary location on South Main Street. Carl Daubeneck was branch manager.
In September 1971, property was purchased at the corner of Franklin and Chestnut streets for the permanent location of the coast branch. The new branch office opened its doors on Dec. 16, 1972, with Mr. Lewis Sbrana as branch manager.
The Fraga Building property at the corner of Oak and Standley streets in Ukiah was purchased by the bank in 1972, making the entire square block bordered by Standley, School, Smith and Oak streets bank property. After extensive remodeling, the Fraga Building became the Savings Bank Head Office Annex.
In October 1974, the North Ukiah Branch opened for business at the corner of State Street and Low Gap Road. Jacqueline Peterson was branch manager. This office was unique to Mendocino County as a bank with visual remote drive-up windows, dubbed the “Fastest Teller in Town.” The North Branch office remained open through June 2013.
Charles B. Mannon was named Savings Bank president on Jan. 1, 1976, following the retirement of Frank Branson. Mannon held this position until 2011. Today he serves as chairman of the board of directors. His great-grandfather, Judge J.M. Mannon was a founder of the bank and president from 1914 to 1926. His grandfather, Charles M. Mannon, served as bank president from 1926 to 1957.
The Redwood Valley Branch opened its doors April 1976. Patricia Simerson was manager of the branch, which opened to receive the banking business of its customers in the “suburbs of Ukiah.”
The following year, the Mendocino Branch opened in October in the historic Masonic Lodge building. The bank purchased the historic building, giving the lodge retention to its meeting hall upstairs and the kitchen.
Lew Sbrana opened the Mendocino Branch as Manager and Dan Gill was appointed Fort Bragg branch manager. In 1978, Sbrana retired, with Erich Schmid taking his place as Mendocino branch manager.
Savings Bank continued to expand with the opening of the Pear Tree Branch Dec. 21, 1981, in the new Ukiah Pear Tree Shopping Center. The new branch, managed by Patricia Simerson, featured four drive-up lanes and a merchant window.
In 1985 Savings Bank installed automatic teller machines, or ATMs, at the Pear Tree and Fort Bragg offices.
In 1993, Savings Bank’s downtown Ukiah site, its home since 1917, fell to the wrecker’s ball and the head office moved it temporary quarters to 107 S. State St. On July 25, 1994, the new three-story, 60,000 square foot head office on its historical School Street site opens.
In 1903, customers had no choice but to come into the bank to conduct business, but by 2002, banking “online” began to become a popular and convenient way for Savings Bank customers to conduct banking business with the introduction of Online Banking and BillPay services.
In 2009 Savings Bank expanded its electronic banking services to include mobile banking. Today, mobile apps for iPhone and Android also are being used as well as other electronic services and customers have the option to help conserve resources by receiving e-statements within their online banking service.
The bank celebrated a “Century of Service” in 2003 with branchwide customer appreciation days and a special street party at its head office. Also that year, the South Ukiah Branch was relocated to the Redwood Business Park on Talmage Road with Saturday hours for the first time in more than 40 years.
In 2005, Savings Bank expanded beyond the county line, moving into Lake County with an office in Lakeport, with Susie Robinson as branch manager. On Dec. 5, 2011, the Lakeport branch moved to its newly constructed office on S. Main Street, which features drive-up lanes.
In July 2010, Savings Bank and Bank of Willits merged. The Willits and Laytonville branch offices of Bank of Willits became Savings Bank of Mendocino County. The merger brought together two organizations with a rich heritage of community focus.
Scott Yandell, an experienced banker from Wyoming, was hired as president and chief executive officer in June of 2011, replacing Charles B. Mannon. Yandell’s efforts continue to shape the direction of Savings Bank as a stable employer, community supporter and a vital part of the economic well-being of Mendocino and Lake counties.
Savings Bank is proud to celebrate 110 years of service and wishes to express sincere appreciation to the generations of local families and businesses they serve.