Dollar Bank

Dollar Bank
Dollar Bank
Type Mutual Society
Industry Financial Services
Founded 1855
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Key people Robert Oeler, President and CEO
Revenue increase$5.7 billion (2009)
Employees 1,300
Dollar Savings Bank
Dollar Bank headquarters
Dollar Bank is located in Pennsylvania
Location: 4th Ave. and Smithfield St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°26′19″N 80°0′1″W / 40.43861°N 80.00028°W / 40.43861; -80.00028Coordinates: 40°26′19″N 80°0′1″W / 40.43861°N 80.00028°W / 40.43861; -80.00028
Area: 0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
Architect: Isaac H. Hobbs & Sons
Architectural style: Beaux Arts
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 76001594[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: July 14, 1976
Designated PHLF: 1970[2]

Dollar Bank is a full service, regional bank serving both individuals and business customers, operating more than 50 branch offices and loan centers throughout the southwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio metropolitan areas. The bank’s Pennsylvania headquarters is located in downtown Pittsburgh and Ohio headquarters is located in downtown Cleveland. Dollar Bank was the largest independent mutual bank in the nation as at March 2009.[3][4],




Beginning July 19, 1855, Charles A. Colton opened the "Pittsburgh Dollar Savings Institution"[5]. The first day's deposits totaled $53[5]. On September 4, 1858, Pittsburgh Dollar Savings Institution was renamed "The Dollar Savings Bank."[5]

First Office

The Dollar Savings Bank’s Fourth Avenue Building was opened in March 1871[5] and is still in operation today. The architect was Isaac H. Hobbs & Sons of Philadelphia. The building was constructed using 1,400 tons of brownstone, quarried in Connecticut, pink Quincy Granite and significant amounts of Marble and Brass.

In 1871, two stone lions were placed at the front door of the Fourth Avenue Building, as symbols of guardianship of the people’s money[5]. The stately lions guarding the entrance were sculpted by Max Kohler[5], each from a single block of quarry-bedded brownstone. A project to restore the lions began in September 2009[6][7].

The Board Room was added to The Dollar Savings Bank’s Fourth Avenue Building in 1896 at a cost of $37,981[5].

In 1906, the East and West wings were added to The Dollar Savings Bank’s Fourth Avenue Building[5].

The Great Depression

During the 1930s, the main lobby was redecorated[5]. Lighting fixtures were replaced, the teller counter altered and the interior repainted.

In 1931, $1 million in cash was brought to the bank office floor to prove the availability of customers' funds during the depression[5]. During this difficult economic time, The Dollar Savings Bank never closed[5]. On November 1, 1949, The Dollar Savings Bank had assets at book value of over $100 million[5]. In 1938, the original vault in The Dollar Savings Bank’s Fourth Avenue Building was relocated to the basement of the building to make room for the Trustee Boards Anteroom[5].

The vault was installed after the St. Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936, which devastated downtown Pittsburgh. The Dollar Savings Bank wanted a new vault that was not only fireproof but also flood-proof.


Current Dollar Bank branch footprint in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

The Dollar Savings Bank bought the Boyd Building in February 1950[5]. The bank used the first two floors of the space and the rest of the building was leased[5].

In 1956, The Dollar Savings Bank purchased the DeRoy Building and converted the first floor for bank use, expanding the Fourth Avenue Building footprint[5]. This building was demolished in 1970 and the space became a pedestrian plaza.

In the 1960s, Fourth Avenue Building’s cupola skylights were filled in, the interior was repainted and the teller counter was altered to make it one level surface[5].

Early Technology

The Dollar Savings Bank opened its first branch office on June 29, 1961 in the Oliver Building and entered the computer age with its first online electronic bank accounting system in Pennsylvania and one of the first ten in the United States on November 30, 1964[5].

In 1976, The Dollar Savings Bank introduced pay-by-phone as the first bill payment system of its kind in Pennsylvania and second in the United States[5]. The Dollar Savings Bank reached $1 billion in assets and on July 14 of that year The Dollar Savings Bank's Fourth Avenue Office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places[5].

The Dollar Savings Bank installed its first Automated teller machine (ATM) in 1977[5] and in 1978 free retail checking accounts, called "NOW accounts", were offered for the first time[5]. In July 1981, The Dollar Savings Bank began to offer accounts and services tailored to the needs of businesses[5].

Market Expansion

On September 20, 1984, The Dollar Savings Bank acquired Continental Federal Savings and Loan Bank and offered banking services to the Cleveland, Ohio area[5]. In a deal brokered by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, The Dollar Savings Bank acquired the troubled Cleveland-based thrift and within two years, a combination of government guarantees against losses and new investment returned Continental to profitability. That same year, Continental's name was changed to Dollar Bank and The Dollar Savings Bank was renamed to "Dollar Bank"[5]. Dollar Bank began offering term loans, lines of credit and Credit cards in 1986[5].

The first Dollar Bank Loan Center was opened in Murrysville, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1994[5]. Dollar Bank's "Win-Win Home Equity Adjustable Rate Loan" was launched as the first loan of its kind in March 1994[5]. Dollar Bank became the 16th bank in the country to offer online banking via the Internet in March 1997[5]. Dollar Bank initiates the "Freedom ATM Alliance" surcharge free network, a group of 29 banks that joined together on January 4, 1999[5]. The goal of the Alliance is to provide surcharge-free ATM alternatives to customers. Banks entering the Alliance agree not to surcharge the customers of any other Alliance member at their ATMs.

National Recognition

On April 6, 1998, the Dollar Bank online banking service was inducted into the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Innovation Collection[5].

Community Initiatives

Dollar Bank Jamboree at Point State Park.jpg
Dollar Bank Jamboree at Voinovich Park.jpg

In July 1994, Dollar Bank introduced the Dollar Bank Jamboree. The free Dollar Bank Jamboree, benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and City of Cleveland Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties brought national country talent to city venues until its final year in 2008.

There has also been consistent participation in the United Way of America and significant local efforts surrounding the branch network in the Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Butler counties in Pennsylvania, and Lake, Lorain, Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio.

In 2000, Mortgages For Mothers seminars for low to moderate-income individuals were introduced[5]. Attendees learn about the various mortgage loan programs available to them and understand the importance and power of credit[8]. They also discuss their individual Credit reports with a credit professional[8]. Workshop attendees are encouraged to continue working with Dollar Bank home ownership counselors[8]. Assistance includes educational classes, private credit restoration counseling sessions, special savings programs and other informational and motivational group sessions[8].

On May 8, 2003, Dollar Bank introduced Pittsburgh’s Regional Showcase with a high definition, Multi-media format to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center[5]. The Showcase presents the region's history and culture, as well as its people, natural resources and amenities[5].

  • Region In Motion: Visitors entering the Convention Center from either of the two river entrances will see the Region In Motion[9]. Three high-resolution rear projectors in each entrance present images on both sides of 17-foot-wide (5.2 m) by 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) glass screens[9]. This film blends images of the economic vitality of the region with images that illustrate the region's quality of life[9]. The Panoramic images are updated four times a year, marking the turn of the seasons[9].
  • Regional Showcase: Located outside "The Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom" on the third floor of the Convention Center, the Regional Showcase uses still images and high definition digital and standard video to fill a 40-foot-wide (12 m) by 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) glass wall[10]. With eight high-resolution rear projectors, this display shows the region's accomplishments in technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, higher education and the arts[9]. A state-of-the-art sound system was added in early 2005[10].
  • Regional Gallery: On the third floor, south of the skywalk projected onto two parallel walls in the Regional Gallery[11]. Productions shown here include a study of particular organizations, the arts, natural surroundings, and other specific themes. Previous shows include: "Through Fresh Eyes", a collection of regional images from 40 Pittsburgh filmmakers photographers, "An Overture to the Arts", a celebration of over 60 regional arts organizations using both motion and still images, and "Feathered Jewels" a special event show for the National Aviary[11].

Dollar Bank reached $5 billion in assets in 2003[5]. In June of the same year, Dollar Bank started using imaging technology to present checks and statements[5].

Product Development

In January 2005, the Dollar Bank Certificate of Deposit (CD) Ladder was launched as the first CD of its kind[5]. Laddering is based upon the premise of not putting all money in a single CD. By dividing money between CD terms ranging from short to long, CDs with a range of yields that reflect market expectations for the future direction of interest rates are purchased.

Dollar Bank was the first to offer Text messaging on June 19, 2007[5] and mobile online banking was introduced on June 5, 2008[5].

On March 11, 2009, Dollar Bank introduced Reverse mortgages to provide financial help to seniors[5].

Recent Developments

Dollar Bank Ohio HQ.jpg
Dollar Bank Ohio HQ (interior).jpg

On July 19, 2005, Dollar Bank celebrated 150 years as a financial institution[5].

On June 5, 2007, Dollar Bank elected new Chief Executive Officer, Robert Oeler[5][12]. A 34-year employee of the bank[12], Mr. Oeler became President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2007[12]. Prior to that, he held the title of Executive Vice President since 1992[12].

Dollar Bank opened a new Ohio headquarters at The Galleria at Erieview in Cleveland, Ohio on July 28, 2008[4][5]. The new two-story, glass-enclosed structure at East Ninth and St. Clair measures 21,000 sq ft (2,000 m2).[4][5]. The new space houses a branch office, a Private Banking Center and a training facility on the first floor, with retail operational support on the second[4][5]. Opened in early August, the new facility anchors the Galleria and revitalized one of Cleveland's most prominent urban centers[4][5].


As of May 31, 2009, Dollar Bank's liquid assets, consisting of $86 million in cash and cash equivalents and $949 million in market value of securities available for sale, and $22 million in trading securities, stood at $1.1 billion or 24% of deposits.[13]

All financial institutions must meet certain minimum net worth requirements. Dollar Bank is considered “well capitalized,” the highest category of capitalization under the regulatory framework of the Office of Thrift Supervision. Dollar Bank’s core capital amounted to $559.8 million, an increase of $21.8 million over the previous year.[13]. It should be noted that both major market areas (Pittsburgh and Cleveland) have lost over 50% of their populations since 1950.

Retail banking

Dollar Bank’s retail products and services include:[14]

  • Checking Accounts
  • Savings Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Telephone Banking
  • Online Banking
  • Mobile Banking
  • Refinancing
  • Mortgages
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Home Equity Loans
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit
  • Home Improvement Loans
  • Personal Loans
  • Personal Line of Credit
  • Auto/Boat/RV Loans
  • Student Loans
  • Government Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Allpoint ATM Network
  • Private Banking Services
  • Group Banking Services

Business banking

Dollar Bank’s corporate and small business products and services include checking and savings accounts and financing, cash management, leasing, private banking, real estate lending and business credit cards. Dollar Bank business services include the CashAnalyzer Management System to access accounts through the Internet or direct dial via modem.


Dollar Bank has several subsidiary businesses including:

  • Dollar Bank Servicing Center services loans and mortgages
  • Dollar Bank Insurance Agency, Inc provides Term life insurance products
  • Flenniken Settlement Service, Inc provides title related services to Dollar Bank's customers for real estate transactions, both commercial and residential


Dollar Bank Rock and Roar Guitar.jpg
Dollar Bank Regional Showcase at the Galleria 2.jpg

Dollar Bank has been active in the northeastern Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania communities. Ohio initiatives have included Harvest for Hunger - helping feed the hungry at more than 540 neighborhood hunger centers, Light the Night - benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s fight against blood cancers, Noon Year’s Eve - celebrating a family- friendly, daytime New Year’s Eve, the Annual Cleveland International Film Festival - presenting the best from around the world, introduced by the Cleveland Film Society, Women in Business Conference - providing improvement objectives for women in business.

In June 2007, Dollar Bank participated in GuitarMania[5], a greater Cleveland community public art project that raised more than $1.6 million[5] for its two benefiting charities – United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s education programs[5]. The project consisted of large, oversize Fender Stratocaster guitars that were creatively transformed into works of art by local artists and national celebrities and displayed on the city streets of Cleveland. The “Rock & Roar” Dollar Bank guitar is displayed in the Galleria Office at Dollar Bank’s Cleveland headquarters located in the Erieview Tower.

Dollar Bank introduced Cleveland’s Regional Showcase on August 1, 2008[5]. The glass-walled structure features an outdoor Light Emitting Diode (LED) screen displayed on the exterior wall at the southwest corner of the Galleria. Called the "Dollar Bank Regional Showcase at the Galleria", the LED screen highlights Cleveland’s assets, people, history and events. The content being displayed constantly changes to reflect current activities of northeastern Ohio’s cultural, educational, healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofit and other sectors.


Dollar Bank Great Junior Race 1.jpg
Dollar Bank Bill Dinosaurus.jpg

Events in Pennsylvania have included the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race - encouraging fun and fitness, Dollar Bank Junior Great Race - sponsoring a day of fitness for children of all ages, Three Rivers Arts Festival - displaying a variety of visual, musical and performing art from local and national artists; First Night - celebrating New Year’s Eve with music, theater and art in downtown Pittsburgh; Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference - participating in business development initiatives; Three Rivers Film Festival - showcasing independent American cinema, new documentaries, several critically acclaimed international films and work by regional filmmakers.

In the summer of 2003 as part of DinoMite Days, a citywide art event put together by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the city of Pittsburgh, Dollar Bank sponsored two dinosaurs, which were painted bright pink to replicate the classic ceramic pink piggy bank[5]. Complete with a money slot, these dinosaurs even had a dollar bill sticking out of the top[15]. They were located in the plaza area near 3 Gateway Center and on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Smithfield Street[15]. A total of one hundred dinosaurs appeared on street corners, green spaces, community centers and downtown plazas, everywhere across Pittsburgh. This public art event celebrated Pittsburgh’s international reputation for scientific excellence while showcasing emerging and established artists.

In 2007, the August Wilson Center received construction financing from a local bank consortium led by Dollar Bank[5][16].

In 2009, Dollar Bank sponsored the Main Music Stage at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, a division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, during the 50th anniversary of the festival[5].

Notable buildings

Fourth Avenue, Pittsburgh

Dollar Bank's official headquarters is currently at 3 Gateway Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.[17][18] Its old headquarters building at 340 Fourth Avenue in Pittsburgh is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  3. ^ mutual institutions. Retrieved on 2009-03-31.
  4. ^ a b c d e Reuters: Dollar Bank Opens Ohio Headquarters in the Galleria 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba About / Timeline
  6. ^ Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Downtown Dollar Bank's lions leave 138-year perch 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  7. ^ Pittsburgh Arts Council: Pittsburgh Art in Public Places (PDF), Downtown Walking Tour. Page 13. Retrieved 2009-20-21.
  8. ^ a b c d Reuters: Dollar Bank Announces its Tenth Annual 'Mortgages for Mothers' Workshop 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  9. ^ a b c d e Region in Motion. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  10. ^ a b Regional Showcase. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  11. ^ a b c d Dollar Bank: Dollar Bank Elects New CEO 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  12. ^ a b Dollar Bank 2009 Semi-Annual Statement of Condition. Dated: May 31, 2009.
  13. ^ website (general)
  14. ^ a b Carnegie Museum of Natural History "Bill Dollarsaurus" auction results. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  15. ^ August Wilson Center Gets Construction Financing From Local Bank Consortium 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  16. ^ LinkedIn. Found: 2010-01-04.
  17. ^ Hoovers, a D&B company. Found: 2010-01-04.

External links

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