Hagerstown Trust marks 75th anniversary

November 13, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN -- When Stephen L. Hummel started working at Hagerstown Trust 34 years ago, the bank had three competitors, and they all were local, Hummel said.

Now, Hummel can look out from the bank's offices on West Washington Street and see several national chain banks.

"It's all happened in the last five or 10 years. We have a good thing," said Hummel, the bank's senior vice president. "Everybody wants to come here."

Hummel and other bank officials talked about changes at Hagerstown Trust and in the banking industry Wednesday during an open house to celebrate the bank's 75th anniversary at the bank's main office on West Washington Street.

Since the bank opened in 1933 with $525,270 in assets, it has grown to 11 branches and 13 ATMs with assets of more than $500 million.


Although the bank was acquired in 1994 by Lancaster, Pa.-based Fulton Financial Corp., Hagerstown Trust officials said they still consider it a community bank.

"If you apply for a loan, me and Lou make the decision," said Hummel, referring to Hagerstown Trust President Louis J. Giustini.

Giustini acknowledged that the current financial crisis has reduced the number of loans, and said the bank has seen more missed payments.

Hummel and Giustini noted, however, that every bank has suffered in the current financial crisis, which Hummel called the worst he has seen since the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Giustini, who went to work at Hagerstown Trust in April 2007 after more than 18 years at another Fulton Financial bank, said the bank is better positioned than larger banks to weather the current financial storm.

"We know our customers, and we didn't get involved with risky lending," Giustini said.

During Wednesday's open house, a 1933 Ford Roadster belonging to local developer Don Bowman sat outside the bank's office to commemorate the bank's first year.

About 6 p.m., bank officials were scheduled to announce the winners of a sweepstakes hosted this year by Hagerstown Trust branches to celebrate the bank's anniversary.

The winners received cash prizes ranging from $100 to $4,075.

"Tonight is basically about thanking the community," Giustini said. "We would not be successful without it."

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