Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Museum

Looking Back: Rochester National Bank

Rochester Post | Published February 6, 2019


ROCHESTER — Constructed in 1924 at the southwest corner of Fourth and Main streets, the locally owned Rochester National Bank was the only Rochester bank to survive one of the worst banking crises of the Great Depression. 

In an effort to stabilize a deteriorating banking system, Gov. William A. Comstock declared a banking holiday on Feb. 14, 1933, ordering Michigan banks to suspend all transactions for eight days and  leaving Michigan residents unable to withdraw, transfer or make deposits to their accounts. 

When Rochester National Bank reopened after the holiday, “it paid every depositor in installments over the next few years,” according to “A Lively Town: 152 Years in Rochester.”

Not even a month later, in March 1933, the crisis reached a national level and the Emergency Banking Act was passed, with Congress declaring a similar weeklong bank holiday across the country, leaving all Americans without access to their bank accounts.