Financial Institutions

Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the United States by 1920 and a global industrial powerhouse due to the expanding auto industry and immigration. Until the middle of the 20th century, it retained such status. Then, after the Great Depression started, the city was in a financial crisis. Mayor Frank Couzens, who was elected in 1933 and served until 1938, developed a program to bring the city out of the crisis. By reducing the debt and balancing the budget, Couzens helped the city regain its financial reputation. Thus began the financial boom, marked by the emergence of new financial institutions.

Now you can easily find a variety of financial institutions over the Downriver that offer multiple products, from mortgages and auto financing to guaranteed approval loans and personal cash advances. However, not so long ago, people did not have such a variety of choices. Here are the lenders that preceded the financial institutions we see today.

The Security Bank Building (1973) Fort Street, Pennsylvania and Trenton Roads

Now known as a Southgate Tower that has been completely vacated since 2016, this building changed names several times as it was a branch for multiple banks, such as Security Bank, First of America Bank, National City Bank, and PNC Bank. The building sits on what was once the grounds of the old Wonderland Amusement Park.

This was the tallest building between Detroit and Toledo which was also known for its annual Christmas tree. The tree was formed by gold and green lights in the building windows and has given people a festive atmosphere for many years.

Downriver Community Federal Credit Union (1942) Union Local

A select group of workers from the Great Lakes Steel Corporation formed the Downriver Community Federal Credit Union on January 29, 1942. Almost 78 years ago, Downriver CU was founded with the core goal of giving people a really secure place to save their money. However, members could only save small amounts at a time back then, and other financial institutions did not promote saving. In 1943, the credit union’s charter was amended to encompass all Great Lakes Steel Corp. employees and their dependents. Up until 1960, their “office” was housed in the Union Local. After that, they erected their own building at 4320 West Jefferson in Ecorse. Downriver Community FCU is now committed to serving its members and providing them with competitive financial services.

PNC Bank (1951) Fort Street

Most of the Downriver branches of PNC Bank were originally either Security Bank & Trust or Trenton Bank & Trust branches, ultimately ending up under the PNC name after a series of mergers and acquisitions. Now the Bank is known for offering fair financial products and services to its customers across the United States. For more than 170 years, it has been committed to providing its clients with great service and powerful financial expertise to help them meet their financial goals. The Bank is proud of its longstanding history of supporting not only its customers but also our communities, employees and shareholders.

National Bank of Detroit (1933) 

In the wake of the Great Depression’s frequent bank failures, NBD was established in Detroit in 1933. NBD’s shares were initially owned equally by General Motors and the United States government under the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in order to aid in stabilizing the country’s banking sector. The Bank began conducting transactions on March 24, 1933. Charles T. Fisher Jr., a member of the family that manufactured car bodies, rose to the positions of director and president in 1938. He held these positions until his death in 1958, and Walter F. Truettner served as his vice president.