AT FARMERS & MERCHANTS BANK, WHAT WAS TRUE OVER 100 YEARS AGO
IS STILL TRUE TODAY.
On the morning of October 12th, 1907, Farmers & Merchants Bank founder, Charles J. Walker, stood at the Southern Pacific train depot
with the local police chief waiting to load $500,000 in gold bullion and coins into the bed of a horse drawn wagon. Earlier that month,
the New York stock market had grown unstable creating unease in bank depositors. A crowd of anxious clients awaited the opening of
First National Bank where C.J. Walker was a Director at the time.
Once C.J. returned to the bank with the wagon of gold bullion, he asked bank personnel to stack the gold bars in the windows.
Soon after, he opened the doors to allow the crowd inside. Standing atop the teller line, C.J. waited for the lobby to be filled before
introducing himself as the bank’s new president. He assured the clients that not only was their money safe but, if they chose, the bank
would fully refund their deposits in gold, and would stay open until every depositor was satisfied.
An elderly woman in the crowd listened to C.J.’s words and waited. Finally, her turn came, and she stepped
to the window where C.J. himself offered to serve her. Frightened and nervous, she asked to withdraw her entire
savings and, with trembling hands, began to write a check for that purpose. Noting her difficulty, C.J. offered to
write the check for her and, stepping to a nearby desk, asked how much he should write it for. “Eight hundred
dollars,” she answered. “It’s all the money I had in the world.” Walker looked at the woman and smiled. “No,” he
quietly corrected, “it’s all the money you have, for your money is still here.” This is the day that defined how F&M
Bank would forevermore treat clients differently - with professional courage and human kindness.
On November 23, 1907 C.J. Walker founded Farmers & Merchants Bank in Downtown Long Beach on the values
of Honesty, Integrity, Faith, the Family and Service Above Self. What was true 111 years ago is still true today.