Financial Institutions in 19th Century Stratford, Ontario
Early Settlers
County Seat
Royal Visit
Banks, Insurance

Amongst those financial institutions which have taken deep root in Stratford is the Perth Mutual Fire Insurance Co. This Company was organized in 1863, with Dr. John Hyde as president, and William J. Imlach as secretary. It appears to have been intended to transact business on farm property only. Progress for several years was necessarily slow. Subsequent to Mr. Packert being appointed secretary, a change of policy was effected, it entering the field as a competitor for commercial risks. This has been followed by marked success. Under its first year's operations - in 1863 - 262 policies were issued, amounting to $156,234. As security for this large sum premium notes for $2,656 were held. These were days of small things, however, previous to a period of expansion and decided success. For the year 1902 there were in force 16,840 policies, covering property valued at $18,382,724. As security for these risks were mortgages, debentures, and other assets, amounting to $241,509 over all liabilities. Mr. Imlach was succeeded as secretary by Mr. William Mowat, and he, in 1877, by Mr. Packert. Dr. Hyde, as president, was followed by Mr. James Trow, and he by Mr. William Davidson, county clerk, now president.

The British Mortgage Loan Co. is another monetary institution creditable to the city. This Company was organized in London during 1877, re-organized and removed to Stratford in 1878. This Company transacts a banking business, in so far that it receives money on deposit, lending on mortgage for a term of years. Since re-organization and removal to Stratford, under the management of Mr. William Buckingham, it has met with marked success. It is most creditable to those who guide its interests that no case of hardship has ever occurred with their patrons, as frequently happens to institutions loaning on mortgage. It must be remembered, however, that along with Mr. Buckingham has always been associated in its management one or other of Perth's great men, who, as president, has afforded valuable advice and assistance in disposing of its affairs. Mr. James Corcoran was first president, and was succeeded by Mr. Andrew Monteith, and he again by Mr. James Trow. This position is at present held by Hon. Thomas Ballantyne.

The Stratford Building and Savings Society, which commenced business in 1887, has been a source of profit to its patrons by inculcating a spirit of thrift, in order to secure homes for themselves and families. This institution loans to working men such sums as enable them to erect homes, payments being so arranged that their liabilities can be discharged by a small contribution from their monthly earnings. The business of this Society is confined to Stratford and conducted on liberal terms. This liberality has been so far appreciated by its patrons that during its existence no loss has been experienced. In the city are also branches of the Bank of Montreal, Bank of Commerce and Merchants Bank. All of which have contributed to developing trade, by supplying capital to business men, enabling them to carry on those enterprises so essential to progress.

From History of Perth County 1825-1902 by William Johnston, published in 1903