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FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE

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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE. Opened for business on June 20, 1864, First National Bank was the first nationally chartered bank in Dubuque under the Banking Act of 1864. The deposits the first day totaled $2,261. Located at 121 Main, First National saw its business expand quickly and by 1866 the capital of the bank stood at $150,000. (1)

On August 16, 1893, the First National Bank closed its doors. This was caused by its inability to realize as promptly as expected on collateral and by the enormous amounts recently paid out — over $543,000 in about three months. Examiner McHugh said the bank could and would open in a few days. The depositors signed an agreement to accept for their balances certificates of deposit bearing 4 per cent interest and payable in four equal installments three months apart, beginning January 1, 1894. This gave the bank time to realize on its assets. The bank resumed business on August 30. (2)

Of the six banks in operation in Dubuque in 1929, only First National Bank and AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK survived.

The first site of First National Bank
The bank's first location in Dubuque was on the northwest corner of Main and Sixth STREETS in what was known as the Jones Block. This proved a temporary location.
Child's bank circa 1930. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.
First National Bank's location for 95 years.

The bank soon took possession of a building on the northwest corner of Main and Fifth streets once occupied by Dubuque's branch of the State Bank of Iowa. First National remained in this location for ninety-five years with expansions and modernizations occurring twice.

The GREAT DEPRESSION led to the failure of many banks across the United States including those in Dubuque. Concerned about additional failures and the health of banks in operation, state and the federal government instituted a BANK HOLIDAY. On March 7, 1933 First National remained the only bank in Iowa in operation. Its officers stated that being a national bank, it would remain in operation until specifically ordered to close by Secretary of the Treasury Woodin. (3)

First National Bank's location after 1962.

By 1962 continued growth left the bank in need of additional space. First National then constructed a modern banking facility on land between Sixth and Seventh Streets on Locust.

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Junior Banker

During its years of service to the community, First National boasted many "firsts." The bank offered the first Christmas Club Accounts (January 1,1921), the first drive-up teller window and walkup banking (July 6, 1954), the first junior savers' program (June 7, 1962), and the first bank in Dubuque to offer agri-business banking (1964). The merger of Dubuque Thrift Plan, Inc. with First National Bank on January 1, 1955, led to the city's first installment loan department in a bank. In more recent years, First National was first to offer West Dubuque banking (October 28, 1968), North Dubuque banking (July 13, 1971), Asbury area banking (May 24, 1976) and was the first to offer combined banking services with its New Outlooks Club (April 4, 1974). First National initiated computer display terminals that provided customers with instantaneous response to their balance questions (January 1976) and was the first to offer their Automated Central Information File for customer accounts (November 1979). In February 1990, First National became the first area bank to resume limited Saturday service using their Kennedy Road facility.

In 1987 DUBUQUE MAIN STREET, LTD., through the support of First National and four other local banks, was able to offer a $200,000 loan pool program, the first in the nation, to enable it to 5% on loans for the purchase and rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings in the Main Street District. The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave Main Street Ltd. a matching amount with First National administrating the National Trust's share. (4) In 1989 First National was one of five initial investors in the Iowa Business Development Finance Corporation, a venture fund established to assist new or established businesses in need of capital. (5)

On March 1, 1991 First National Bank was awarded all Statesman Federal Savings Bank deposits by the Resolution Trust Corporation. (6)

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
In 1973 the acquisition of First National by Northwest Bancorporation of Minneapolis was rejected by the Federal Reserve Board. (7) In 1993 First Dubuque Corp., the holding company of First National, announced a merger under which First National and its subsidiaries would become part of Hawkeye Bancorporation. (8) A few years later, the bank merged into the Mercantile Bank corporation. In 1999, Mercantile Bank was acquired by Firstar Bank. After Firstar merged with U.S. Bancorp, the combined banks became known as U.S. BANK, the name carried in 2008.

The 1985 through 1989 Dubuque City Directory listed 7th at Town Clock Plaza, Kennedy and Wacker, Jackson and White at 22nd and Asbury at Hales Mill Road.

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Source:

1. Statement of Condition." Dubuque Herald, July 8, 1866, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=eBBBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=LKgMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5258,5824151&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

2. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-22-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml

3. "Kraschel Says All Iowa Banks Are Now Closed," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, March 7, 1933, p. 11. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6f1QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Or4MAAAAIBAJ&pg=4045,3791016&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

4. Blocker, Sue. "Dubuque Main Street to Offer Loan Program," Telegraph Herald, September 23, 1987, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lQJlAAAAIBAJ&sjid=d3YNAAAAIBAJ&pg=2144,4732687&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

5. Mischka, Joe. "Banks Raise $2.5 Million For Venture Fund," Telegraph Herald, February 11, 1989, p. 11. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kgteAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6F8NAAAAIBAJ&pg=6322,2278993&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

6. "First National Bank Welcomes Statesman Bank to Our Family of Financial Friends," Telegraph Herald, March 3, 1991, p. 6. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=IWpFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UbwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5818,428968&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

7. "Northwest Bancorp Bid for Bank in Dubuque Rejected by Fed." Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1973. Online: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/djreprints/doc/133820889.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Sep%2020,%201973&author=&pub=Wall%20Street%20Journal&edition=&startpage=&desc=Northwest%20Bancorp%20Bid%20For%20Bank%20in%20Dubuque%20Is%20Rejected%20by%20the%20Fed

8. "Dubuque Bank, Hawkeye Merge," The Daily Reporter, March 26, 1993, p. 78. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=HVkrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0tkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5137,3147646&dq=first+national+bank+dubuque&hl=en

Firnatbag.jpg
Bank postcard