College Savings Bank

Chartered in 1916 as the College Savings Bank, ...[USBank's] university branch has survived name changes, ownership transfers and four remodelings to become the oldest continuously operated buisiness in Campustown.  The bank's founder and first president was C.J. Lynch, and it was originally incorporated for $25,000.

C.A. Knudson became part of the bank in 1926, launching that family's long history of association with the bank.  He served as president until 1960, when his son, Dean, who had been with the bank since 1939, took over as president of the board.  In 1977, a group of investors including then ISU Vice President of Information and Develpment Carl Hamilton bought out the Knudsons, ending more than 50 years of family ownership.  At that time, the bank's assets were $29 million.

...Dorothy Budolfson, whose husband Christian worked at the bank from 1938-1978 as a teller, cashier, and vice president, remembered the circumstances surrounding the buy-out.  "It was tragedy that Dean Knudson had health problems and had to sell the bank," she said.

...."When they went into the Depression, they were solvent all the way through," [Farwell] Brown said.  He said all the other banks in the area took "bank holidays," but College Savings Bank was able to avoid that fate because they kept a high percentage of their assets liquid.

They were so proud it had never closed during the Depression," Budolfson said.

Iowa State Daily, 1997

This institution has been known as:

  • College Savings Bank 1916-1964
  • University Bank and Trust 1965-1984
  • United Bank and Trust 1985-1997
  • Firstar Bank 1998-2000
  • USBank since 2001

When it was founded in 1916, College Savings Bank was organized as a suburban bank with a capital stock of $25,000.  C.J. Lynch and Charles B. Ash of Ames organized the bank and served on its first board of directors, with Lynch acting as chairman of the board and president of the bank.  Other original directors included H.J. Stiger, A.L. Brooks, Ralph Brooks, George Myers, Joseph Judge and A.L. Champlin.

Officers of the bank when it opened in 1916 besides President Lynch were a. L. Brooks, vice president and Ralph Brooks, cashier.  The late C.A. Knudson joined the bank in 1926 and became president in 1928 serving until 1960 when his son Dean became president.  Vice president and cashier, T.E. LaVelle, who joined the bank in 1919 and was retired in September of 1963, had the longest service record of any of the bank's employees.

The bank was one of the few banks in the nation permitted to operate without restriction during the bank holiday in March of 1933.

Read more articles about the 1935 bank robbery.