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Bank of Stockton: Withstanding the Test of Time for 150 Years

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This past August marked the 150th anniversary for the Bank of Stockton, established in 1867, and this monumental occasion is truly history in the making. Serving the Central Valley region for 150 years, the Bank of Stockton is honored to blend their unique historical past with the present. The bank’s vice president of marketing, Angela Brusa, shares her excitement, stating, “The Bank of Stockton’s milestone of 150 years of doing business is incredible. It’s an honor to be the marketing director who gets to share this accomplishment with our customers and friends in the communities that we serve.”

History Prevails Since 1867
The Bank of Stockton, formerly called Stockton Savings & Loan Society, originated during the expansive California Gold Rush. In 1867, 29 prominent local businessmen and farmers pledged $100,000 in gold to open the Stockton Savings & Loan Society. Enduring through some of the hardest financial times in history, the bank prevailed through its strong leadership, values and dedication to its customers. As one of the oldest banks in California, the Bank of Stockton operates under its original charter with generations of families who can attest to the beauty and historical significance it holds throughout the region.

Past Meets Present
Nestled in the present, the Bank of Stockton now offers over 19 locations, proudly serving nine counties. With nearly 400 employees, the Bank of Stockton offers convenient locations in Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Ripon, Angels Camp, Modesto, Sonora, Brentwood, Napa, Elk Grove, Oakdale,

Turlock, Fairfield, Pine Grove and Rio Vista. Each location embodies the same traditions as its forefathers: a steadfast emphasis on exceptional customer service combined with innovative banking technology. “So much has changed over the years in how banking is done, but our commitment to helping people personally has not changed, and it is one of our greatest strengths. We are still that bank that you can come to and find someone you know, that is going to do their best to help you,” Angela affirmed. “The Bank of Stockton is proud to continue its tradition of providing customers with the same strong values and strength it did at its inception in 1867. Fast forward to 2017, and customers can enjoy all the benefits of modern banking technologies including a mobile app and remote deposit.”

Historical Archives
The Bank of Stockton continues their commitment to the communities they serve by preserving the unique history of the Central Valley region in the form of photographs and artifacts. “The archives and the bank are a beautiful fit, since the Bank of Stockton has been an integral part of history in the making over the past century and a half. Preserving history is very important to us. It’s been a large investment to house an archive, but it’s just another way that Bank of Stockton gives back to our communities,” Angela added. Along with the banking ledgers stretching back to 1867, the bank maintains a collection of various bank and community-related artifacts.

Central to this archive is the collection of over 20,000 historic photographs acquired when then-bank president Bob Eberhardt purchased photographer Leonard Covello’s collection in 1990. Covello, a famous local photographer, spent his life’s work capturing moments in time in the heart of Central Valley. An Italian immigrant, Covello once served as an evidence photographer for various San Joaquin law enforcement agencies. He went on to become the official photographer for the San Joaquin County Fair for 34 years.

Since purchasing Covello’s collection in 1990, the bank has procured an additional 12,000 historical photographs and continues to expand the collection. Eberhardt commissioned the process of restoring the historic photos, many of which were developed using old darkroom technology, by having each photograph digitally scanned and catalogued. Customers and the public alike can enjoy revisiting history and reveling in nostalgia by viewing images from the early days, when horses were the only mode of transportation. In 2003, to maintain the unique collection, the bank hired archivist Bill Maxwell. “It is honor to serve the people within the community by providing a resource for researchers and the public. Researchers have access to 32,000 historical images that have been digitally restored and catalogued on a computer database,” Bill noted.

The Bank of Stockton continues its reign as the region’s premier banking institution. They continue to cherish the great history of our area while providing customers with the luxury of modern amenities combined with loyalty, exceptional customer service and steadfast values. ■

Written by: Nicole Stracek