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Our Turning Back Time series takes a look back at numerous turning points, milestones, and important moments in Millbury Savings Bank’s 160-year history. Sure, we may be waxing nostalgic, but we also think it’s important to acknowledge the role the bank has played in our community all the way back to the mid-19th century.
Act to Incorporate Millbury Savings Bank – 1854
As the town of Millbury continued to flourish, in part due to the economic expansion along the Blackstone River, Millbury Savings Bank was established. That was a period of U.S. history known as the “Free Banking” era, when a multitude of banks entered the economy. According to historic documents, the bank was incorporated on April 10, 1854. The act passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court Assembly, and approved by the governor, paved the way for Millbury Savings Bank to establish itself as a state-chartered, mutual savings bank — separate and distinct from The Millbury Bank (now Millbury National Bank) established in 1825.
Though lines have blurred significantly over the years, savings banks were generally established to focus on real estate lending and savings accounts — unlike national banks that once focused primarily on commercial credit and accounts. Millbury Savings Bank’s first books for deposit were opened on June 17 of that year. According to Millbury's centennial history book, at the bank’s first meeting in late May, its original board of corporators — comprising 15 men including Asa H. Waters — selected Jonathan A. Pope as president and chairman and David Atwood as secretary. Other officers elected included Simon Farnsworth, C.R. Miles, J.A. Hovey, and E.W. Goffe as vice presidents, with 16 members chosen as trustees, including Mr. Waters.