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November 23, 2004 > Centerville Banks

Centerville Banks

Centerville has had a series of successful banks through the years. It's all a matter of money and management.

The Centerville Branch of the Pacific Coast Savings Society in San Francisco was advertised in the Washington Press in 1894. The office was located in Centerville and all the officers were from Washington Township. C.H. Allen, M.D., the president, W.H. Yates, the secretary, and Mathew Lasida, appraiser were from Centerville; Howard Jarvis, the vice president, L.F. Jarvis, the treasurer, and C.S. Haley, appraiser, were from Newark; J.C. Shinn and Thomas Bedard were appraisers from Niles.

The office in Centerville, apparently run by treasurer Jarvis, was open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Loans were made on real estate securities and five percent was paid on ordinary deposits from $1.00 up. Information about this bank is limited and mysterious.

John G. Mattos, Jr. and Frank T. Dusterberry founded the Bank of Centerville in 1905 with capital stock of 35,000. Mattos served as president and Dusterberry vice president. The bank operated in a small wood-frame building that had formerly been a furniture store. The new brick building was nearing completion when the earthquake hit in April 1906. The walls were badly damaged, and the front had to be reconstructed.

A report in November 1909 showed the bank had loans of almost $147,000 and $13,208 cash on hand. The bank was reported "well located in a comfortable brick building on the main street of town" in 1910. Mattos was still president. Joseph Dias was vice president and F.T. Dusterberry, cashier. Total resources increased to $600,000 by 1912. The bank declared a dividend of $3.00 per share at the annual stockholders 1913 meeting. Assets were now over $700,000. The Bank of Centerville was converted to the First National Bank of Centerville in 1920 and was acquired by the San Francisco based Bank of Italy in 1921.

John G. Mattos was a Portuguese immigrant who became a lawyer and judge. He helped many new families establish their American citizenship, get jobs, and obtain loans to purchase small farms. Judge Mattos served as president of the bank until it became one of the early branch banks of the Bank of Italy in 1921.

The Bank of Italy soon outgrew the small brick building and purchased property on the corner occupied by the Alameda County Library in 1921 and erected a large new $40,000 bank building designed by Henry Minton. This building still stands at the corner of Fremont and Peralta Boulevards.. They claimed to be "The Bank that Removed Ice from Service." F.T. Dusterberry was manager of the Centerville Branch in 1928. M.P. Mathiesen was the assistant cashier and John G. Mattos Jr. the vice president. A 1924 ad referred to the radio and noted the remarkable "strides of present day progress" suggesting that signing a check was of more practical use to the average person than using wireless. A 1926 ad called the Bank of Italy the largest in California. The Bank of Italy was renamed the Bank of America in 1930.

This bank was a branch of the Bank of America in 1931 with F.T Dusterberry as manager. He retired in 1938 but remained as chairman of the advisory board. His testimonial retirement dinner was attended by 305 persons. Bank of America erected new branches in Centerville in the 1950's and 1960's.

Loren Marriott served as manager after Dusterberry retired in 1938. He announced expansion plans for the bank in December 1953. A large lot was purchased from Mary Rodriguez. A new $195,000 building opened at 165 North Main Street across from Cloverdale Creamery in 1955. The old bank building became the office of Judge Allen G. Norris and Leroy Broun.

The Bank of San Leandro opened a branch in Centerville called the State Bank in 1920. Their slogan was "Where service means cooperation". A 1927 ad was captioned "Teach your children the habit of thrift." This bank was absorbed by the Bank of America later in August 1927.

The Berkeley Savings and Loan Association opened a temporary bank in a two-story home at 168 South Main. A 1956 ad offered a 3% rate on savings accounts and encouraged patrons to "Wake Up Your Lazy Dollars the Berkeley Savings Way".

The Crocker-Anglo Bank advertised in the 1950's and 60's with slogans such as "most helpful bank of all" and "People like you like to save at Crocker-Anglo." It eventually merged with Wells Fargo in 1986.

Wells Fargo Bank of San Francisco was authorized to open a branch office on Eggers Drive in Glenmoor Gardens in 1960. One ad invited customers to "Enjoy our convenient new office."

The idea for a new independent bank in Fremont was developed by Morris Hyman and Ralph Carmichael in 1963. They filed an application to the Superintendent of Banks and selected George Silliman, Judge E. A. Quaresma, Mervyn Morris, Frank Howe, and Ralph Alperin to join them as directors. Articles of Incorporation for the Bank of Fremont were filed April 24, 1964. Morris and Alvirda Hyman picked up the charter in San Francisco on September 3, 1964 and the bank opened in a former post office building in Centerville on Post Street. In 1969 they pioneered Saturday banking to serve their customers, many of whom commuted to work outside of Fremont. The bank opened its new main office in the Central Business District in 1968 and grew to include 22 branches in 12 communities by 2003.

Morris Hyman, founder of Fremont Bank, was honored by the Fremont Education Foundation in 2004 for "his tireless support of Fremont schools." He was the first president of the Foundation and gave the area "a bank that serves our communities."

The Bank of Centerville constructed 1906 and located at 37251 Fremont Boulevard is eligible for the National and California Registers of Historic Places under three criteria; including its significance as an early classical building in the Centerville commercial district.

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