History of The Equitable Savings and Loan Company
The year was 1873,
shortly after the conclusion of the American Civil War when herds of
buffaloes still roamed the Wild West, Ulysses S. Grant was in the White
House, and horse and buggies were the principal form of transportation.
In the Allegheny Plateau region of Eastern Ohio, Cadiz was essentially
a self-sustaining, agricultural community. Most everything needed for
daily life was either built at home or manufactured locally. There were
water-powered flourmills built along the streams, stagecoach stops and
taverns, banks, and other local businesses. Coal was mined nearby on
a small scale to satisfy local demand.
On January 6, 1873
a group of Cadiz citizens met for the purpose of organizing a savings
and loan company so that ordinary individuals would have a place to
invest their money and borrow funds to buy or build a home. Banks at
that time dealt primarily with commerce and industrial needs. Two weeks
later, on January 23rd, the Cadiz Building and Loan opened for business,
this being the original name of our present company. Colonel John S.
Pearce became our first president.
During this time,
savings and loans operated on a serial or terminating charter whereas
every seven years, the companies would conclude their affairs and go
out of business. In anticipation of this, a new charter would be secured
and a new company formed. In 1885, the Cadiz Building and Loan became
the Equitable Building and Loan Company. This practice continued into
the 1890's when the present type of permanent charter was established.
On September 10,
1898, at the termination of a former charter, The Third Equitable Building
and Loan Company was issued the permanent charter that we are incorporated
under today. This charter states that "Said corporation is formed
for the purpose of encouraging and aiding its members in erecting, building
and providing houses for themselves and families, for profit and other
purposes." During our 100th Anniversary in 1998, we were presented
a signed Resolution from then Ohio Governor George V. Voinovich attesting
that "The Equitable Savings and Loan Company has fulfilled these
duties and responsibilities with due diligence and dedication, demonstrated
integrity and efficiency for over 100 years."
The Equitable Savings and Loan Company has a long history with this
community. Growth was slow during the early years when the office was
only open only on Mondays, in rented office space at a local bank. At
that time, most Savings and Loans were open for business one day per
week. In 1910, Equitable absorbed another local institution, The Independent
Building and Savings Association and in 1937, the Harrison Building
and Loan Company. In October 1931, we opened full time, six days per
week. Even though the nation was in the Great Depression and it was
a period of massive bank failures, assets continued to grow.
During World War
II, money was plentiful with deposits exceeding the demand for mortgage
loan. The building of homes was restricted at the time and lending was
primarily for small repairs and occasionally for the purchase of a home
that was constructed before the war. We met the challenges of adapting
to the war standards by the purchasing of war bonds since Pearl Harbor
and for the duration of the war.
Real growth came
after World War II with the new boom in housing and many GI loans were
granted. In 1952, the Articles of Incorporated were amended changing
our name to The Equitable Savings and Loan Company and in 1953 ground
was broken for our new building at 114 South Main Street, which was
to be constructed mostly of steel and reinforced concrete. The grand
opening was held on May 3, 1954 with around 1100 people touring the
new facilities from 8:00 AM to midnight.
The next three
decades were also times of growth for The Equitable Savings and Loan
while the coal mining industry provided ample wages and benefits to
the community. In 1973 design work was completed for the remodeling
and expansion of our building. This included the addition of two retail
buildings along the south side of our office. Construction was completed
the decline of local industries in the 1980's and the ensuing period
of high unemployment, the area was challenged to adapt and adjust. As
interest rates rose to record heights, fewer loans were made and a greater
emphasis was placed on the purchase of high quality Mortgage Backed
Securities and other short-term investments. While other savings and
loans were in a financial crisis from excessive practices, our strategy
was to operate in a safe and sound manner, while continuing our mission
to assist the people of our community in the savings of small or large
sums of money and to render the best possible financial service to those
who desire to own their homes. We shall always pursue these objectives.
During the first
ten years of our existence, there were several Executive Officers who
have managed our company, but since then there have only been five.
Alfred P Sheriff served from 1883 until his death in 1929, when his
son, Alfred P. Sheriff, Jr. assumed his role. Like his father, Alfred
Jr. ran the company until the date of his death. In 1955 Philip M. Cessna
was hired to manage the company. Phil, a graduate of Ohio State University,
came to Equitable from National City Bank where he had worked for 15
years. For the next 25 years he managed our company. When he retired
in 1980, Janet T. Adrian was promoted to Managing Officer. After a 41-year
career with Equitable, having served in many capacities from Teller
to President, she retired in 1998. Upon Janet's retirement, James E.
McMullen II was promoted to Managing Officer, a title he now holds along
with that of President and CEO. A graduate of Franciscan University
of Steubenville, James began his banking career in 1979 with Bank One
and has been with Equitable since 1983.