© Jerry F. Couch
SOUTHWEST BANK OF VIRGINIA’S grand opening in November of 1971 was a red letter day in St. Paul. Here’s why:
Previously, there had only been one bank in town. That particular bank had its genesis in the early 1900’s when the Carolina Clinchfield & Ohio Railway breathed new life into St. Paul. It was the Bank of St. Paul, Inc. and its letterhead is shown below.
Later, the Bank of St. Paul reorganized. After a stock swap it became the St. Paul National Bank – with a brand new building in which to conduct business. Here’s an example of its letterhead.
The St. Paul National Bank operated under that name until it merged with the larger First National Exchange Bank, headquartered in Roanoke, VA. The merger took place in 1965.
And that’s how things stood until St. Paul began to reap its share of the coal boom’s economic benefits. More and more, people were making credit purchases – buying homes, cars, being part of the American Dream. They were putting aside some of the earnings, too. There was room in town for another bank.
So…a group of local merchants and business people formed a corporation and began selling stock. The Southwest Bank of Virginia was launched and a new building was constructed on the corner of Fourth Ave. and Broad Street.
In 2019, Carter Bank & Trust occupies what was formerly the Southwest Bank of Virginia building. We’re glad they’re here.
The photos below were taken during the Southwest Bank of Virginia’s grand opening. Almost everyone in town was there and I’m sure you’ll want to study them closely to see all the familiar faces. However, there’s ONE face missing from that crowd. Can you guess who it is?