Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers -
Co-Operative National Bank of Cleveland





BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS. CO-OPERATIVE NATIONAL BANK OF CLEVELAND. While organized labor for some years has been engaged in cooperative buying, manufacturing and other lines of ordinary commerce, no one enterprise in America has attracted so much attention as the establishment of the first Cooperative National Bank, promoted and organized by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

Such a bank was authorized by a resolution passed in the 1915 convention of the locomotive engineers, but due to the unsettled conditions of the World war no action was taken until October, 1919, beyond gathering necessary information and laying tentative plans. A federal charter was secured, property purchased at the corner of St. Clair and Ontario streets in Cleveland, and after the building was properly equipped the bank was opened to the public November 1, 1920. Starting with resources of approximately $650,000, these resources have grown at the rate of $750,000 a month, passing the twenty three million dollar mark on June 1, 1923.

As a national bank this differs from other banks under a federal charter in the fact that it is cooperative. The engineer stockholders are limited in any year to not more than ten per cent dividend on the stock. This bank paid its stockholders six per cent in 1921 and eight per cent in 1922, establishing another record which no national bank has made. The stock is sold only to members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in good standing. It was oversubscribed some $378,000 before the bank opened, and many engineers are today on the waiting list to obtain stock when there is opportunity.

The unprecedented growth of the bank is due to the great organization behind it, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, which in sixty years has handled its financial affairs without a single failure. The growth of the bank was such as to warrant seeking a location in the central district of Cleveland. The committee in September, 1922. purchased the fourteen story office building at 308 Euclid Avenue. This has a thoroughly equipped banking room, and the first six floors are offices and workrooms for use in connection with the bank. A branch office was opened there October 2, 1922. At this writing plans are drawn for a twenty one story building to occupy the entire half block originally purchased by the Brotherhood at the corner of St. Clair and Ontario streets. The plans provide for one of the finest banking rooms to be found any where in the United States.

The Engineers also purchased controlling interest in the Nottingham State Bank at 187th and St. Clair, have a large interest in the Empire Trust Company of New York City, and contemplate opening two or three cooperative banks in New York City. They have a controlling interest in the Transportation Brotherhood's National Bank of Minneapolis, the Federated Trust Company of Birmingham, Alabama, and the Hammond Indiana State Bank.

The Brotherhood Investment Company, recently capitalized at ten million dollars, deals in all safe securities to be sold to members of the Brotherhood and to other union men. It buys issues of government, state, municipal and other bonds and resells to the public. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers as an organization holds fifty one per cent of the stock of this company, as is also true of the bank.


From:
A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
Publishers:
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924


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