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Taylor Bank History - Building Boom

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The Cropper Era

On Jan. 7, 1970, Victor R. Strickland retired as president and was succeeded by Reese F. Cropper Sr., who had assumed the position of Cashier and Chief Executive Officer at the age of 26 in 1929 and had guided the bank through the Great Depression, banking holidays, and World War II.

Mr. Cropper led the bank to invest in Ocean City, a decision resulting in tremendous profits. In his 45 years of operating the bank, its assets grew 3,000 percent, from $1.068 million in 1929 to $30,411,625.22 by the time he retired as president in 1974.

In 1975, he was elected chairman of the board, a position he held until his death in August 1976.

Branching Out Again

Under Mr. Cropper's direction, in June 1971 the bank opened another branch, this one at 142nd Street in Ocean City just south of the Maryland-Delaware state line. Samuel Baker was appointed manager.

The bank's Capital Stock had split two for one in November 1970, making Capital of $300,000. By December 1971, the bank listed assets of $23,339,772. In January 1974, the Capital Stock again split two for one, making Capital of $600,000.

In the meantime, the bank's surplus had reached $1.4 million. With all of the stock splits since the 1930s, each original share was now 12 shares.

A New Cropper Era

Upon his retirement, Reese F. Cropper Sr. was succeeded as president of the bank by his son, Reese F. Cropper Jr. The younger Cropper led the bank through phenomenal growth, building branch offices in the Ames Plaza in Berlin, at 91st Street in Ocean City, and in Ocean Pines.

In 1974, the bank installed its first computer system, leaving behind the antiquated and time-consuming method of hand-posting all records.

Condo Row

The 1970s represented an unprecedented era in construction in Ocean City. Until this time, the resort consisted mainly of hotels, motels and hundreds of pastel colored apartments and cottages regarded as second homes by many along the mid-Atlantic coastal region's metropolitan areas.

Almost overnight, the concept of multiple family dwellings of masonry construction took the city by storm as condominiums and townhouses began to dot the landscape. As the 1970s advanced, whole buildings were sold out in some cases before actual construction commenced.

The construction swelled the resort's summer population from 50,000 to 250,000 on any given weekend and the supporting business base increased dramatically, as well. Calvin B. Taylor Bank provided startup money for many of these new businesses.

The bank did, however, curtail its lending for new condo buildings in 1970. Managers and directors felt the condo market had become saturated. The largest condominium project financed by Taylor Bank was the Covington Towers Condominium.

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