The CENTRAN CORP. was one of the state's leading bank holding companies, with Central Natl. Bank as its principal affiliate. Central Natl., organized by JEREMIAH J. SULLIVAN and 10 prominent Clevelanders, opened 26 May 1890 with capital of $800,000 and 6 employees. Located in the PERRY-PAYNE BLDG. on Superior Ave., the bank was an immediate success. At the end of its first year, its resources had more than doubled, to $1.9 million; 10 years later, they had reached $4.5 million. By 1905 Central had moved to larger quarters in the Rockefeller Bldg. at Superior and W. 6th St. Although a successful commercial bank, Central Natl. was prohibited from offering savings accounts and trust services. In order to enter this field, President Jeremiah Sullivan founded the Superior Savings & Trust Co. in 1905. When restrictions were lifted in 1921, the 2 banks merged as the Central Natl. Bank, Savings & Trust Co. In 1927 Central established its headquarters at 308 Euclid Ave., and seeking to increase the bank's assets in the late 1920s, it merged with United Banking & Trust--formerly the West Side Banking Co. As the renamed Central United Natl. Bank, it was Ohio's largest national bank, with over $114 million in assets.
Guided by Jeremiah Sullivan's son, Corliss, Central grew steadily during the Depression, and by the late 1930s had 12 suburban branches, 600 employees, and had shortened its name to Central Natl. Bank of Cleveland. In the post-World War II period, it moved its headquarters to the Midland Bldg., pioneered in international banking services, and expanded operations by acquiring the Brecksville Bank in 1957 and the NORTH AMERICAN BANKin 1959. Central reaffirmed its commitment to Cleveland in 1969 by building a 23-story headquarters at 800 Superior at E. 9th St. It organized the Centran Corp. as a regional multi-bank holding company in the early 1970s. Centran sustained a major securities loss and problems with its international loans in the early 1980s, which led to its merger with SOCIETY CORP., announced in Sept. 1984. At that time it had assets of $2.9 billion and 82 offices in northern and central Ohio. The merger was completed in Feb. 1986, creating Ohio's third-largest holding company. In 1994, Society Corp. merged with Albany-based KeyCorp. The new entity, known as KeyCorp, would be based in Cleveland and had $58 billion in assets and operated 1,400 branches in 18 states at the time of the merger.