Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

When William Jennings Bryan Was a Customer

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

When William Jennings Bryan Was a Customer

Article excerpt

Coconut Grove Bank opened its doors for business on July 12, 1926. The bank's hometown of Miami, Fla., was just 30 years old, and, Angus D. Harrison, the third employee hired by the bank, was even younger--just 20 years old.

Flash forward seven decades and all three-- Coconut Grove Bank, Miami, and Harrison--have weathered the years together, soaked up some history, and, at least in the case of 90-year-old Harrison, are more than willing to talk about old times.

When he started, Harrison was responsible for the bank's bookkeeping, tellering, and "anything else that needed to be done." This broad job description was made more challenging by a series of events that occurred soon after the bank's opening: A huge hurricane swept through the city the year the bank began business. Then the land boom that hit Florida became just a faint rumble. The stock market crashed in 1929, signalling the beginning of the Great Depression, and in 1933, President Roosevelt declared the bank holiday, closing all banks in the nation.

"It was tough in those early years--very, very tough," Harrison recalls. Fortunately, Coconut Grove Bank was one of five Dade County banks to survive and open following the banking holiday. …

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