Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware

Active 1797
Active 1946

History notes:

The Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware was incorporated on February 4, 1807. After the liquidation of the Bank of Delaware in 1930, it was the oldest surviving bank in the state. The State of Delaware held the majority of the stock, but the bank was privately managed. The Farmers Bank encountered financial difficulties in the mid-1970s and was sold to the Girard Bank of Philadelphia.

The chartering of the bank was designed to provide banking and credit facilities to the state's farmers, particularly those in Kent and Sussex Counties. As established in 1807 there were three semi-autonomous banks: the main office in Dover, and branches in New Castle and Georgetown, i.e., one in each county. The bank was to have 27 directors, equally divided among the three offices, with 9 to be elected by the General Assembly. The bank was established as the custodian of certain state and county government funds, and the income from the state's stock holding was applied to the state school fund.

In 1810 the bank was authorized to issue insurance on lives and property, although life insurance was never actually issued. A fourth branch was established in 1813 in Wilmington, the commercial and manufacturing center of the state. Each of the branches assumed the character of its surrounding territory. The Georgetown branch served a primarily agricultural district as a small country bank. The Dover branch served the state government. The Wilmington branch became a typical city bank catering to business and industry. The New Castle branch shared the decline of the bypassed colonial port and was closed in 1899. The operations were coordinated by a de facto executive committee of the branch presidents and a general board. In the early years there was considerable friction between the two northern and two southern branches regarding their dependent relationship to the large Philadelphia banks.

The Farmers Bank was selected as a local depository for federal revenues by the Second Bank of the United States in 1816 and as a depository for the distribution of the federal surplus in 1837. Disagreement between the northern and southern branches prevented the Farmers Bank from incorporating under the National Banking Act in the late 1860s. It was eventually reincorporated under the new Delaware State Corporation Law in 1913.

From the description of Records, 1785-1900 (bulk 1807-1900) [microform]. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122396859


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  • Banks and banking
  • Banks and banking--Government ownership
  • Banks and banking--Insurance business
  • Insurance
  • Banks of issue


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  • Delaware (as recorded)
  • New Castle (Del.) (as recorded)
  • New Castle County (Del.) (as recorded)
  • Wilmington (Del.) (as recorded)