First National Bank
According to Mr. Stewart's research, Farmers & Merchants Bank (begun in November, 1903) merged into First National Bank of Forest Grove (March 4, 1907), and was the first and only national bank in the county at that time.

Here are some articles in local papers about the history of Banks in Forest Grove:
Article Title
Newspaper Title
Date
"Keep Bank Closed"
Hillsboro Independent
8/4/1893
Articles on Mr. Anton Pfanner, "Pfanner's Real Estate" and Pfanner Bank
Hatchet
1897: 7/1, 7/15, 7/22, 8/12, 10/28/1897
"To Have National Bank"
WC News Times
10/12/1905
"Professionals Rob Forest Grove Bank"
Hillsboro Argus
12/7/1905
"Bank Safe Cracked"
WC News Times
12/7/1905
"Third Bank for Forest Grove"
WC News Times
12/27/1906
"Doing Business Again"
WC News Times
11/21/07
"Bank $20,000 Short"; "E.W. Haines Makes Statement"; "F.T. Kane Makes Statement"; "Bank Affairs"
WC News Times
2/13/1908, 2/20/1908
"Ex-Cashier is Accused"
WC News Times
3/12/1908
"Settled Out of Court: The Hanes - Kane Damage...New Bank to Open"
WC News Times
4/2/1908
"To Pay Depositers 25 Per Cent Now: Committe So Declares...Haines Will Reorganize Soon."
WC News Times
7/9/1908
"People 3000 strong attend Bank Opening"
FG Express
1/8/1914
"Mystery Shrouds his Disappearance" (cashier Earle O. Buxton)
FG Express
3/8/1917
"Grove Bank Hits Million Mark to Make New Record"
WC News Times
1/5/1928




Research

By Jessie Sweeney, MLS

The banking institution for the city of Forest Grove began as Forest Grove National Bank, established in December of 1906, opening its doors on Monday, March 4th 1907. The business was started by five men, J.A. Thornburgh, W.B. Haines, J.E. Bailey, S.G. Todd, and J.W. Fuqua with an investment of $12,000. They became the first board of directors (News-Times 5/3/1989).

By 1914, when Forest Grove was still the largest town in Washington County, the bank held assets of $64,000 in capital and deposits of $379,000. The strength of the institution and it’s leadership can be shown by the ability to survive and even thrive in difficult economic times. In 1920 the United States declared the 23rd recession since 1790, yet the bank increased the monthly salaries of both its directors and employees. The bank survived the depression following the stock market crash of 1929, when the bank continued to carry loans, giving borrowers time to last through the depression. They remained open throughout 1933 when 2300 banks closed their doors. “The bank’s survival was credited to prudent loans, wise leadership, and no purchases of foreign bonds. The dairy, farm, and lumber industries supported the bank,” (News-Times, 5/3/1989).

After the war ended, the bank helped consumers purchase cars and appliances, and at one time “carried more individual loans than any other independent bank in Oregon.” (News-Times, 5/3/1989). By the 1950s, this local bank had grown so much that it was had about equal market share to that of First National Bank.

Merle Bryan, vice president and board member during the 1950s, led the bank through technology changes and the impact on customer service in the ‘60s and ‘70s. This included expanding its property in 1964 to add parking space and a drive up window. The bank opened a branch in Cornelius in 1967 with deposits of $175,000 opening day.

Forest Grove National Bank became Valley National Bank after it started expanding through Washington County. A good article on the early history of the bank can be found in Box 2,-Folder 13-Item 21.

Additional Items of Interest found in Stewart’s research:
Example of a “Counter Check” From Forest Grove National Bank, (2-13-6).
Copied pictures of the bank can be found around 2-13-11/12
Also see a full-page advertisement for the bank from the News-Times on October 5, 1972 in 2-13, item 26.