Dukes County and Cooperative Banks Will Announce Merger
By JULIA WELLS
The Dukes County Savings Bank and Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank - two respected community banks whose presence on the Vineyard reaches back for more than 50 and nearly 100 years respectively - plan to announce this week that they will merge, the Gazette has learned.
It is understood that employees and corporators at both banks were informed yesterday about the planned merger, which is still subject to approval by state and federal regulators.
News of the planned merger reached the Gazette at press time, and leaders at both banking institutions could not be reached for comment. But it is understood the banks intend to put out a press statement about the merger as early as today.
State-chartered and founded in 1955 with initial deposits of $400,000, the Dukes County Savings Bank faced early opposition from the two national banks on the Vineyard - Edgartown National and Martha's Vineyard National (today Sovereign Bank). "The trend on the Island is for increasing wealth in the form of land and new buildings," declared Henry Corey, one of the founders, during testimony at the State House in Boston in July of 1954.
Today the savings bank, with headquarters in Edgartown and branch offices in five of the six Island towns, is a well-established presence. The president and chief executive officer is Chris Wells.
Founded in 1908, the cooperative bank was first housed in the Martha's Vineyard National Bank building; its first loan was $500 to a woman to buy a home. Today the bank is still headquartered in Vineyard Haven with branches in West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs. The president is Richard Leonard.