As part of its 125th Anniversary celebration, WBA is digging deep into its archives to share a variety of historic gems. In this particular case, we’ve created a timeline of significant events related to Wisconsin’s banking industry that occurred between 1912 and 1920.

1912:

WBA urges the establishment of the Office of Commissioner of Banking. Country bankers begin promoting agricultural improvement. Bankers take steps to stop proliferation of swindlers using stolen, fraudulent or forged checks. Association membership tops 700 institutions.

1913:

Government’s proposed mandatory deposit guarantees spark opposition from bankers. Bank charters are granted in droves, and WBA membership nears 800. A WBA investigator puts burglar “Toronto Jimmy” behind bars in Waupun.

1914:

WBA begins issuing weekly alerts about swindlers and bank scams.

1915:

WBA forms its own company, the Bankers’ Mutual Casualty Company, to provide robbery insurance to members.

1916:

The first Banker-Farmer meeting, organized by WBA, attracts 400 farmers and 50 bankers.

1917:

Bankers launch the first statewide Liberty Loan drive as the U.S. enters World War I. The issue is oversubscribed.

1918:

More than 360 bank workers volunteer for service in World War I. Two are killed. Five hundred state banks join the Federal Reserve, heeding WBA’s appeal to patriotism.

1919:

WBA membership exceeds 1,000 institutions for the first and only time. Bank deposits hit a new high of $645.1 million. National banks are allowed trust-company powers. WBA offers its first life insurance plan to members.

1920:

The first rural WBA convention is held at North Lake near Waukesha. Nine hundred bankers descend on the village, population 149. WBA launches the Banker-Farmer Exchange to foster farm trade and improve bankers’ image in rural Wisconsin. Post-war inflation dogs the national economy.

Historical events compiled from “Good as Gold – A History of Banking in Wisconsin,” Copyright © 1992 by Wisconsin Bankers Association.