Calvin B. Taylor, a renowned Worcester County citizen, teacher, lawyer and businessman, opened his new bank in 1890 and called it Calvin B. Taylor, Banker. Edward Martin, an associate in a law practice with Taylor, became his banking partner for a short time. After Martin withdrew from the business, Mr. Taylor continued alone.
It is believed that during the 1890s, approximately $100 to $1,000 was required to enter the banking business. It is also believed that Mr. Taylor's wife, Mattie, wealthy to a degree, was his first financial backer. The original bank was located on South Main Street to the south of Odd Fellows Hall. No records of that business survived; they were apparently destroyed in a devastating fire in 1901.
Early records do show, however, that the first four mortgages held by the bank were those of David M. Prettyman, Andrew J. Powell and his wife, Albert J. Brittingham and wife, and Samuel J. Hasting and wife. All were recorded in the Land Records of Worcester County in 1890.
Banks were in stark contrast to today. Most clerks and tellers were men who wore formal attire, including long-tailed coats and starched shirts. Women's hemlines reached the ground. Employees arrived at work by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. Ceiling fans helped dissipate the smoke from cigars and cooled the summer heat. Hours were 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On Dec. 18, 1907, Mr. Taylor incorporated the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company as a state chartered bank. The corporation was founded with $50,000 in capital, as 500 shares of stock each valued at $100 par. Calvin B. Taylor owned 51 percent of the stock and the new corporation paid $3,000 for the land and bank building.
Upon incorporation, the first officers and board of directors were elected. They were:
- President -- Calvin B. Taylor
- Vice-President -- William L. Holloway (Cashier)
- Asst. Cashier -- John E. Smith
- Directors -- Calvin B. Taylor, John W. Pitts, Jehu D. Quillin, William R. Purnell, Ernest E. Burbage Sr., William E. Thomas, David J. Adkins, Reese C. Peters, Harry R. Ayres, William N. Burbage, Christopher Ludlam, William E. Boston
As of December 1925, Taylor Bank's total assets stood at $628,546.13. That increased to $1.068 million by December 1930.
Enduring The Great Depression
In 1929, Mr. Holloway suddenly died. He had been the bank's cashier for 22 years. John E. Smith, by seniority, would have succeeded Mr. Holloway but declined consideration in an eloquent letter to Mr. Taylor.
In 1932, Mr. Taylor, the bank's founder and president, died. He was succeeded as president by Ernest E. Burbage Sr., who had been a director since 1907.
Taylor Bank has had only four chief executive officers since its founding. Calvin B. Taylor, its founder, Reese F. Cropper Sr., Reese F. Cropper Jr. and current CEO Ray Thompson. After Mr. Taylor's death in 1932, Reese F. Cropper Sr. became chief executive officer and was responsible for the bank's day-to-day operations under three presidents.
After enactment of the Banking Act of 1933, which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to give confidence in banks to the general public, Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company recapitalized with 5,000 shares of stock with a $10 par value. That created a capital of $50,000 and a $12,500 surplus.
Post-World War II
After World War II, Taylor Bank, rather than jump head-long into consumer loans, continued its policy of small loans on open notes. The bank wouldn't establish a consumer loan department for 15 more years, in 1965.
In 1960, Taylor Bank officials decided to build the company's first branch office at 20th Street in Ocean City. James R. Bergey was appointed the branch manager.
In 1966, Taylor Bank decided to expand its main offices again. The bank purchased the deteriorating Worcester County Health Department building behind the bank at public sale for demolition and the William N. Burbage property across Williams Street from the Burbage Funeral Home at public auction.
Growth in the 1970s
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.
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.
Prosperity in the 1980s
Yet another building boom commenced in northern Worcester County in the 1980s. Although tourism remained the primary industry in the Ocean City area, many families moved to the northern part of the county to take advantage of the service jobs being created there.
On Sept. 20, 1982, Calvin B. Taylor Bank opened its branch office in Ocean Pines and appointed Mike Parks manager. In December 1985, the bank began advertising itself as Taylor Bank. Its assets were $103,582,465.
Taylor Bank purchased the long-vacant Burbage and Powell clothing store in 1983. The bank, with the approval of the Berlin Historical Commission, successfully renovated the building, which was occupied by executive offices and the computer department in 1985. Today the building houses loan offices.
Expansion and Changes Through the 2000s
To allow our entry into Delaware, Calvin B. Taylor Bankshares, Inc. chartered a new bank, Calvin B. Taylor Bank of Delaware, which opened on May 22, 1998 in Ocean View, Delaware.This separate bank charter was converted to a branch of the Maryland bank in 2002.
A new branch office was built in Pocomoke, in 1998, to replace the aging downtown branch office building. This historic building was donated to the Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce for their use. The South Pocomoke office was, then, consolidated into the new branch location in early 2000.
In 2002 Raymond M. Thompson became the bank’s seventh president. Reese Cropper, Jr. continued as Chairman and C.E.O. In January 2006, Mr. Thompson was elected President and CEO, while Mr. Cropper retained the position of Chairman of the Board.
And the story continues...
Taylor Bank, founded in 1890, is a full-service community bank with 12 branches located throughout the eastern coastal area of the Delmarva Peninsula, including Worcester County, Maryland, Sussex County, Delaware and Accomack County, Virginia.