Researching mid-century financial institutions is a little like tracking families on Ancestry.com.
The accompanying 1964 archive photo of the Chattanooga Federal Savings & Loan on Broad Street recalls an S&L that went through several incarnations during the following half-century.
Deep breath, now: Chattanooga Federal Savings & Loan (shown here) changed its name to Inter Federal Savings & Loan, which was later bought by First Federal Savings & Loan, which was subsequently purchased by AmSouth Bank, which later merged with Regions Bank.
The occasion of this 1964 photo from the archives of the Chattanooga News-Free Press was an inside/outside renovation of the Broad Street property (note the Read House Hotel in the background). Located at 817 Broad St., the building served as Chattanooga Federal's main office starting in January 1939, 25 years earlier. In the 1960s, the building was wedged between the Chattanooga Gas Co. building and the Chamber of Commerce. By the time the S&L had reached 50 years old in 1989, it had changed its name to Inter Federal Savings & Loan to broaden its reach.
In September 1964, the bank was celebrating improvements to the building with an open house that included door prizes comprised of 100 silver dollars. An article in the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Sept. 18, 1964, said the exterior renovations were done to "raise the standard of architecture in the neighborhood," according to Chattanooga Federal officials.
Part of the exterior redo included a modern (for the day) flourish of transparent aluminum screens attached to the facade which gave the exterior more dimension and texture. The interior redo included repositioning the lobby in the center of the ground floor and redecorating public areas, according to the newspaper report.
In 1964, Chattanooga Federal had assets of $34 million. Also that year, it announced the opening of a new suburban branch near the Highland Plaza Shopping Center at Hixson Pike and Ashland Terrace.
The first loan ever issued by Chattanooga Federal was $1,100 issued to a woman in 1939. The interest rate was 6%, according to bank records. In 1964, Chattanooga Federal newspaper ads touted 4% interest paid on savings accounts.
Today this stretch of Broad Street is occupied by Pinnacle Financial Partners.
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To read other articles in this series, see ChattanoogaHistory.com or visit the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" public group page on Facebook.