Farmers and Merchants bank celebrates 100 years in Long Beach

Farmers and Merchants East Long Beach bank has been around since 1921, surviving the stock market crash and 1933 earthquake.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The East Long Beach Farmers & Merchants bank branch opened up 100 years ago to accommodate the oil boom in Signal Hill.

"This particular area of Long Beach, often called the 'Zaferia area', which in Spanish means the little town, was created in the 1910s, 1911s. We opened up the office here in 1921, September 15," said Daniel Walker, CEO of Farmers and Merchants Bank.

Daniel Walker is fourth generation in leading this bank.

The East Anaheim street location is the bank's second branch in Long Beach.

Customers say they've been with the bank for quite some time.

"I actually had an account since the '60s," said customer Marty Leavelle.

The East Long Beach branch has witnessed a great deal of history.

After the stock market crash in the 1920s, a devastating earthquake happened in 1933 which caused damage to the bank's building.

Gus Walker, who was second generation, took matters into his own hands to serve the community.

"Entered the building, verified that the vault could be opened, and from that point started to pull out the desk from the office into the parking lot, and from there started to pull the cash out of the vault," Daniel Walker said.

The building was eventually rebuilt and reopened, but was torn down in the 1960s and replaced with the current building.

For many customers they've been with the bank for years and generations.

"Farmers and Merchants is like the family bank for Long Beach," said Leavelle.

"I really like the fact that the staff knows their customers. I'm greeted by name. They know where I'm from. It's just like hanging out with family," said customer Elizabeth Rebufat.

"It seems like a more family friendly bank. You know smaller, not big corporate," added customer Larry Borges

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