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STANDARD TRUST

STANDARD TRUST, the first labor bank in the nation, received a federal charter as the BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS' Cooperative National Bank of Cleveland on 28 June 1920. It opened at St. Clair Ave. and Ontario St. on 1 Nov. 1920 with 10 employees and $700,000 in resources. Although the bank served everyone as a commercial savings and trust company, it lent money principally to members of the brotherhood, and under Warren Stone, head of the brotherhood and president of the bank, it prospered for 5 years. The bank had 157 employees and resources of more than $28 million when the brotherhood erected a $7 million, 21-story building at the same location in 1925. In 1928 the named was shortened to the Engineers' National Bank of Cleveland.

When the bank experienced financial difficulties in the late 1920s, Engineers' merged with the Nottingham Savings & Banking Co., the Guaranty State Savings & Loan Co., and the Commonwealth Savings & Loan Co. to form the Standard Trust Co., on 11 Mar. 1930. The new bank had 7 offices with $23 million in resources, and although the brotherhood relinquished all its banking interests, its members continued to support it. With the onset of the Depression, Standard Trust was forced to liquidate, 21 Dec. 1931. A State Banking Department investigation found that large loans had been made to friends of bank president C. Sterling Smith with inadequate security. Smith was indicted for embezzlement and sentenced to prison in 1933. By 1941 the liquidators had returned 50% of the $13.2 million in deposits to 22,000 people.