This collection includes ledgers and other financial records of the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas at each of its locations. Four items from the State Bank of Arkansas are included, as well.
The Real Estate Bank of Arkansas was created during the first session of the Arkansas General Assembly in 1836 for the purpose of aiding farmers in obtaining cash. Money for the operation of the bank was to come from the sale of state bonds; mortgages on the real estate of the stockholders and creditors would protect the state from loss. Arkansas's state government had virtually no control over operation of the bank, even though the credit of the state served as security for the bonds. A principal bank opened in Little Rock in December of 1838 with branches at Columbia, Washington, and Helena. Another branch at Van Buren was added, with all of the branches open by the spring of 1839. The principal bank and each branch had its own local board of directors, and each operated separately and independently of the rest. A central board had overall control and was made up of the president and two directors from each of the five local boards. At the time of its origin, the bank was hailed as a valuable institution for the people of the state, but was surrounded by controversy soon after it began operations. Problems of mismanagement and economic depression added to the bank's troubles. The bank failed, in effect, within four years of active operation. Finally, in 1855, the bank's trustees were divested of their assets. Then, the assets were transferred to a state-appointed receiver. Legal actions continued for several decades. The State Bank of Arkansas was also created during Arkansas's first legislative session. It was truly a state bank, since the state had absolute control of the management. The principal bank was at Little Rock with branches in Fayetteville and Batesville. It, too, met with difficulty and failed.
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Real Estate Bank of Arkansas and State Bank of Arkansas records, MS.000477
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Real Estate Bank of Arkansas and State Bank of Arkansas records, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History