Built in 1889, this was the first building in Perry County to be devoted exclusively to banking. The Duncannon National Bank was the first National Bank established in the county and started operations January 1, 1890. Its president was John Wister and the cashier was P. F. Duncan.
National Banks were chartered under the oversight of the Treasury Department and were authorized to issue its own currency. Two such bills are shown in the bottom right corner. Note that the currency was signed by local bank officials.
National Banks were created to standardize capital and lending requirements that varied under each state’s regulations. It was an attempt to protect investors and depositors from fraud and bank insolvency.
Prior to the formation of the Duncannon National Bank, the safe at the Duncannon Iron Works was used to protect large sums of money. Currency was dispatched from banks in Harrisburg and Carlisle as needed. It was common for merchants and businesses to act as banks and lenders before banks became more common in the 20th century.