The NORTH AMERICAN BANK was incorporated in 1920 as the North American Banking & Savings Co. with $100,000 and 200 stockholders. The company, founded by ANTON GRDINA, was located at 6131 St. Clair to serve the needs of the Slovene neighborhood throughout the 1920s. As SLOVENIANS moved into other areas, it opened branches at 15619 Waterloo Rd. and 3496 E. 93rd St. The bank was renamed the North American Trust Co. in 1929. When North American failed to obtain a license to reopen after the March 1933 Bank Holiday, James M. Sellskar, its former president, was appointed conservator. With the help of a $200,000 Reconstruction Finance Corp. loan, the company was reorganized as the North American Bank in Sept. 1934. Ten years later, North American was the depository for money donated by neighborhood merchants to rebuild the E. 61 St.-St. Clair area as a result of the destruction caused by the EAST OHIO GAS CO. EXPLOSION. In 1959, the bank, with $21 million in assets, was acquired by the Central Natl. Bank. North American stockholders approved the merger in order to increase local access to Central Natl.'s capital funds.

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