50 years ago today The People’s State Bank of American Fork became Bank of American Fork Aug 22, 2013, 10:04 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

In 1963 the name The People’s State Bank of American Fork was shortened to Bank of American Fork. Orville Gunther, the then-president of The People’s State Bank of American Fork, felt the bank’s name was too long, and with new technology, it was an appropriate time for change and modernization.

This photo shows an original copy of The American Fork Citizen with an article detailing the name change. The paper was published August 22, 1963—50 years ago today.

In the same decade, the bank was remodeled for a more modern feel to match changes in technology. When the bank purchased its first computer, they held an open house to show customers the new machines and how they worked. New electronic calculators at 3-feet long and 2-feet wide, weighing 15 pounds, and a Ditto machine were rented to other local businesses after hours to offset the high costs of the new technology.

You might be wondering about artifacts you’ve seen from before 1963 with the name “Bank of American Fork,” or you may have heard of family members banking with “Bank of American Fork” before 1963. Before The People’s State Bank of American Fork was incorporated, there was another Bank of American Fork.

When the Great Depression hit Utah, there were two banks in American Fork. The original Bank of American Fork, or “Chipman’s Bank,” was established in 1891. The People’s State Bank of American Fork—now Bank of American Fork—was established in 1913. On Sunday, January 15, 1932, the original Bank of American Fork president James Chipman visited his neighbor of 20 years, Clifford Young, the manager and vice president of People’s State Bank of American Fork. Chipman told Young that his bank did not have enough liquidity for one of its most prominent accounts to withdraw its Monday payroll. In order to avoid a run on the bank, Chipman would not be opening it the following day and advised Young to do the same. Young complied and both banks remained closed on Monday, January 16, 1932. The closure of both of American Fork’s banks prompted the state government to send bank examiners to audit the banks and determine what the shareholders needed to do in order to reopen.

The People’s State Bank of American Fork, by tireless efforts of Clifford Young, raised $200,000 in capital. He was also able to secure signatures from depositors pledging to defer withdrawing funds for five years after reopening and successfully persuade investors to repurchase their stock for twice its value. The People’s State Bank reopened in October 1932, nine months after closing. The original Bank of American Fork never reopened. Thirty-one years later, The People’s State Bank of American Fork changed its name to Bank of American Fork.

In the same edition of the American Fork Citizen it was reported that Edith T. Chistensen, vice president and director at People’s State Bank of American Fork was elected chairman of the Utah Group, National Association of Bank Women.

To learn more about the bank’s history, visit us here or stop by our American Fork branch to see a permanent history display, including original artifacts from the last 100 years.

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2 Responses to 50 years ago today The People’s State Bank of American Fork became Bank of American Fork

  1. Joann Nell says:

    I remember Edith Christensen. I had an account with The Peoples State Bank of American Fork in those days. I also remember Glen Anderson. Glen gave me back a one dollar bill in case he had made a mistake. Later I gave back that dollar. That does date me!!

    • Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth says:

      Joann, that is so cool! Have you come by the American Fork branch to see the history displays? We have images of Edith and artifacts from the last 100 years. It’s pretty cool, and I’m sure you’d enjoy seeing it.

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