A Banking House for Fredericksburg
Since 1820, this building has housed the most trusted banks in the city: the Farmers' Bank and The National Bank of Fredericksburg. Both banks attracted the investments and patronage of the city's leaders and earned the confidence of the population as a whole. Yet, each bank conducted its business within distinctive economic settings that, in turn, affected its fortunes.
Founded as a branch of the state bank in 1812, the Farmers' Bank prospered at a time when there was no central currency. In addition to performing bank functions such as taking deposits and promoting commerce through its investments, the Farmers' Bank needed to distinguish between sound and unsound bank notes and succeeded in doing so until the Civil War. By the end of that conflict, however, its assets consisted largely of worthless Confederate notes, and the bank failed.
By October 1865, six months after the end of the war, leading citizens of Fredericksburg secured a new charter to form The National Bank of Fredericksburg. During the war, the United States government established national banks to stabilize the currency. By joining this system, The National Bank agreed to meet its standards and circulate a new medium of exchange, national notes.
In 1994, Mercantile Bankshares Corporation acquired The National Bank of Fredericksburg. As one of its affiliates, The National Bank retained its name until PNC Financial Services purchased Mercantile Bankshares in 2007.