German Savings Bank

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The German Savings Bank was founded by members of the German-American community in New York. William Steinway reported participating in meetings and decision-making at the bank throughout the diary. His last reported activity at the bank occurred shortly before his death. William served as a trustee, as a member of management committees, and as a bank officer at different times in his life.

The German Savings Bank was established as a result of the efforts of Jacob Windmüller and his associates at the German Society of the City of New York. A proposed charter was introduced in the state legislature in early 1858 but failed to pass. The institution was incorporated by the legislature on April 9, 1859, and opened for business on July 1, 1859, at No. 14 Cooper Institute, with initial deposits reported to be nearly $100,000. (7) (8) During William's lifetime, the presidents of the bank were William Jellinghaus, 1859-1864, R.A. Witthaus, 1864-1864, and Philip Bissinger, 1864-1900. (7) By December 1861, the number of depositors at the bank had risen to 7,742, and total bank assets were $909,098.(3)

From early in the diary, William mentioned attending meetings at the bank. (Diary, 1862-04-18 and 1866-09-03) In 1864, the bank moved to a new location at the southeastern corner of Fourth Avenue and Fourteenth Street. Additional adjoining land was acquired over time. William was very much involved in the Building Committee, and in 1872 the bank was doing business on the enlarged site in a building whose size and design were suitable. (7) (Diary, 1870-06-20 and 1872-05-06) At the start of 1872, the bank reported that it had 17,355 depositors who held $6,845,980 in deposits with the bank. (9) In January 1878, The New York Times reported that the bank suffered from false rumors about a run by its depositors, a situation that William notes in the diary. (4) (Diary, 1878-01-12) In April 1878, a run on the German Savings Bank did develop, also reported in the press and noted by William in the diary, which the bank was able to manage from its resources on hand. (5) (Diary, 1878-04-01 and 1878-04-27) On balance, the bank enjoyed substantial success in increasing its size, with total deposits reaching $18,805,034 in 1885, $21,210,341 in 1886, and $35,347,347 in 1895. (7) (10) The total number of accounts rose from 1,873 in 1859 to 87,769 in 1895. (7)

In 1918, the name of the bank was changed to Central Savings Bank in the City of New York. (2) In 1975, this name was shortened to Central Savings Bank. (6) In 1981, Central Savings Bank was acquired by the Harlem Savings Bank. In 1983, the name was again changed to Apple Bank for Savings, and it continues to operate under that name at this time. (6) (1)

William served as a trustee of the bank and frequently attended monthly meetings throughout the period covered by the diary. Although the diary often merely states that in the evening he was at the German Savings Bank, some entries state explicitly that it was a meeting of the Board of Trustees, and others give details on what was decided, such as the rate of interest to be paid on deposits. (Diary, 1875-12-29) The diary reports that William participated on the Building Committee in the early years of the bank and became Second Vice-President in 1891. (Diary, 1891-06-19) During 1891, William also participated in the Finance Committee. (Diary, 1891-06-29) The diary reports that William last attended an evening meeting at the German Savings Bank very shortly before his death in 1896. (Diary, 1896-11-02).



  1. "Apple Bank History," available from the web site:
  2. "German Savings Bank Changes Name," The New York Times, June 4, 1918, p. 14.
  3. "The German Savings Bank. Highly Favorable Report," The New York Times, January 10, 1862, p. 8.
  4. "The German Savings Bank. The Reports of a Run Not True—The Bank Shown To Be In A Sound Condition," The New York Times, January 24, 1878, p. 8.
  5. "The German Savings Bank. Three Hundred Depositors Paid Yesterday—the Sixty-Day Rule Not Enforced," The New York Times, April 27, 1878, p. 8.
  6. "The History of Banking in New York State," available from the State of New York Banking Department web site:
  7. Manning, James Hilton. Century of American Savings Banks. New York: B.F. Buck & Company, 1917, pp. 200 – 204.
  8. "New York Legislature," The New York Times, January 15, 1859, p. 1.
  9. "Our Savings Banks. Financial Condition of the Savings Institutions Continued," The New York Times, January 29, 1872, p. 2.
  10. State of New York. Report of the Superintendent of the Banking Department relative to Savings Banks and Trust Companies for the Year 1886. Albany: The Argus Company, Printers, 1887, pp. 187 – 188.