The Exchange National Bank of Denton, Texas
by Frank Clark
This article appeared in the Fall 1990 edition of the Denton Review
From the Daugherty banking business grew The Exchange National Bank. It was organized by Judge J.A. Carroll in 1881. The bank received its national charter on May 7, 1883 and was organized with a capital of $50,000. The bank's building was built on the southeast corner of the town square and it replaced the law office of Carroll and J.M. Daugherty.
Carroll was president of the bank until his death in 1891. Other early officers were S.F. Reynolds, vice-president; W.A. Ponder, cashier and J.C. Coit, assistant cashier.
In 1913 the bank built a new building at the corner of Hickory and Locust. The Denton County National Bank was directly across Hickory from The Exchange National Bank. DCNB also began work on their new building in 1913.
On December 26, 1928 The Exchange National failed to open its doors. This was on a Wednesday. The following unsigned statement was posted on the bank's door - "The bank is closed by order of its directors. The affairs of the bank are in the hands of the national bank examiner."
In an interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle, the president of the bank, J.C. Coit expressed his disappointment on the turn of events. He also announced that all depositors would get every penny back.
The failing of the bank goes back to a run on the bank that occurred on the proceeding Monday, December 24. This was caused by a number of rumors. The reason for the rumors was occasioned by the wife of one of the officers of the bank at a women's tea. She said that her husband had mentioned that there had been many problems at the bank and that the bank was having difficulty with the national bank examiner. Actually, this was a very sound financial institution. President J.C. Coit would be proven correct and every depositor was eventually paid back every cent due to him or her. This seldom happened when a bank failed during this time.
Denton was a little jittery at this time when it came to bank rumors because The First National Bank of Denton had failed earlier in August, 1928 when the president and the cashier were charged with embezzlement of bank funds. On December 27 the Denton Record-Chronicle published an editorial saying that rumors should not be spread and that the banking industry is built on confidence and no bank can stand a steady withdrawal of deposits unless it is prepared for it.
An interesting sidelight to the failure of The Exchange National was the actions of The First State Bank. President W.C. Orr sent his son, W.C. Orr, Jr., to Fort Worth on the day when there was a run at The Exchange National. Mr. Raymond Gee, vice-president of The Fort Worth National Bank, gave the younger Orr a package. The younger Orr delivered the package to his father. The package was opened and the younger Orr was astonished to see a substantial stack of $1 notes! These notes were stacked in the tellers' windows to indicate that The First State Bank had plenty of cash to pay its depositors in case they wanted to withdraw their money. This also brought many depositors into The First State Bank who had just withdrawn their money from The Exchange National Bank.
The receiver appointed for The Exchange National was F.W. Lensing. He was already in Denton as receiver for the The First National Bank.
Officers for The Exchange National tried to reorganize the bank. Mr. Lensing declared that the bank was in a condition to be reorganized. However, the bank never reopened its doors again.
The First State Bank bought The Exchange National's building from the liquidated bank's receiver and moved into that location in 1932. The First State Bank is still there today. However, the bank has built a modern eight story building to replace the old building.
The Exchange National was chartered with number 2949. The bank issued $5. $50 and $100 Second Charter Brown Backs, $50 and $100 Third Charter Red Seals and $5, $50 and $100 Third Charter Date Back Blue Seals. The total amount of circulation issued was $431,900. The amount outstanding at the close of the bank was $24,097.
Denton, Texas Record-Chronicle Various Editions)
History of Denton, Texas by C.A. Bridges
North Texas State University Business Oral History
Collection - Interviewer: Dr. David R. Fitch
Interviewee: W.C. Orr, Jr.
Standard Catalog of National Bank Notes by John Hickman and
SlOO Third Charter Date Back Blue Seal Large Size National
Bank Note on The Exchange National Bank of Denton, Texas,
signed by J.C. Coit, Cashier and J.R. Christal, President
Back of the above note.