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United National Bank, Providence

The United National Bank was granted federal charter #5925 on July 30, 1901. It was formed by the merger of four local institutions: The Rhode Island National Bank (formerly the Arcade Bank), the Second National Bank of Providence, the Fifth National Bank of Providence (formerly the Mechanics & Manufacturers Bank) and the National Eagle Bank. Frank W. Gale was hired as the bank’s cashier but was quickly promoted to president. (He had previously served as cashier of both the Marine Bank and the Third National Bank. He had also been the secretary of the Industrial Trust Company.) Walter C. Nye was appointed cashier. Both banknotes below are signed by these men.

The bank occupied the ground floor of the Industrial Trust building on Exchange Place and was allied with that institution (the trust controlled a large block of the national bank’s stock).

On July 17, 1907, United absorbed the Fourth National Bank of Providence, charter #772. (It had formerly been the Continental Bank.)

In 1915, it was reported that:

“The United National Bank of Providence, R.I., has been taken over by the Industrial Trust Company, which offered $210 a share for the stock and such further payments as may be yielded through the liquidation of the bank. Colonel Samuel P. Colt, head of the trust company, stated that the principal reason for the merger was the necessity of complying with the law which forbids interlocking directorates, but he added that the transaction was made desirable, because the growth of the Industrial Trust Company had made necessary the additional quarters in its own building which the United National Bank had been occupying. A majority of the stock of the bank has been owned for some time by the Industrial Trust Company. Although the president and cashier of the bank were offered positions with the trust company [Gale and Nye], they elected to go to the National Bank of Commerce, and, pending liquidation of the bank, J.W. Crocker, its former vice-president, and H.C. Owens, teller, were elected president and cashier, respectively.” – United States Investor, January 15, 1916.

(After the National Bank of Commerce, Walter C. Nye would go on to serve as president of the Citizens Saving Bank for many years.)

According to the National Bank Note Census, United National issued $2,219,950 in banknotes in denominations of $5, $10 and $20. In 1916, $119,230 of this was reported outstanding. 24 of these notes are known in collectors’ hands today.

For more information on the Industrial Trust Company, click here.


United National Bank


United National Bank



United National Bank's offices on Exchange Place (now Kennedy Plaza).

United National Bank’s offices on Exchange Place (now Kennedy Plaza). The other half of this office was occupied by the Industrial Trust Company. Today, the former Hospital Trust Tower (Now the Sovereign Bank Tower) stands in this location. Here and at top: Courtesy of the City Archives, City of Providence. Reprinted with permission.

The Industrial Trust Company constructed this building for its quarters in 1893. It was located at the corner of Exchange and Westminster.

This postcard shows Industrial Trust’s offices, on the opposite side of United National’s banking rooms in the same building as seen above.

Bryant & Stratton building on Exchange Place. The Industrial Trust Tower replaced this structure in 1928. Today, Exchange Place is known as Kennedy Plaza.

United National’s location from a broader perspective. Exchange Place, circa 1920s (after the neoclassical Hospital Trust Building was built, but before the Industrial Trust’s art deco skyscraper). The bank was located in the ground floor of the building at the far left.

A blank United National Bank check from the 1910s.

A blank United National Bank check from the 1910s.

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