Hampton National Bank / Bank Meridian

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Information on the Hampton National Bank, later named Bank Meridian, First NH Bank, and Citizens Bank

Hampton National Bank


From Peter Randall's Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888-1988:

"Another banking group had more success in May 1957, when the incorporators of the proposed Hampton National Bank received preliminary approval for a charter from the United States Treasury Department. This group was headed by William W. Treat, John P. Dunfey, George Downer, all of Hampton; Carroll Blackden of North Hampton; and Karl J. E. Gove of Seabrook. By the end of October, the incorporators had sold 1,500 of the proposed 2,000 shares, valued at $65 each. Buyers were limited to 50 shares, Treat explained, so that all residents of the area would have an opportunity to become stockholders.

At a unique special town meeting in January 1958, voters approved the sale of a portion of the municipal parking lot for $750 to abutters George and Lea Downer as the site for the new bank building. The Downers later sold the property to Alex Finan, who actually built the bank addition. At the first meeting of bank stock-holders, held in May 1958, Treat was elected bank president and Charles K. Nutter became the first manager. On June 28, following a small parade, Governor Lane Dwinell cut the ribbon opening the first national bank to be chartered in New Hampshire in 30 years. The bank, which had been only a tenant in the bank building, bought the structure from Finan in 1963. The bank moved to its present location on Winnacunnet Road in 1971. Since that time, the bank has opened branch offices in Seabrook, North Hampton, Portsmouth, and Exeter. In 1983, the name was changed to Bank Meridian; it was purchased by Amoskeag Bank Shares, Inc., a bank holding company, for $8.5 million in 1984."

Hampton National Bank under construction in 1971.Hampton National Bank under construction in 1971. [Hampton Union, February 19, 1971]

In October of 1991 the FDIC closed Bank Meridian and six other New Hampshire banks owned by five different banking companies. These banks had failed and were closed and sold as a group rather than individually in order to limit economic disruption in the local economies. Bank Meridian later reopened as a branch of the First NH Banks Inc. of Manchester, a subsidiary of the Bank of Ireland. Amoskeag Bank Shares, which had owned Bank Meridian since 1984, was once the largest banking company in the state.

The Bank Meridian building on Winnacunnet Road was now home to a branch of First NH Banks. In 1996 First NH Banks was acquired by Citizens Financial Group and this location changed its name to Citizens Bank. In 1997 Citizens decided to move to a new location so offered the building for sale to the Town. At the 1998 Town Meeting the Town purchased the building as a new location for its Town Offices, and in April the Recreation Department was the first to move there from the old Town Office building. On May 8, 1999 Citizens Bank moved into its new quarters in a newly constructed building at 35 Winnacunnet Rd., opening on May 10th. In the summer of 1999 construction of an elevator and renovation of the interior of the old bank building was ongoing. The town offices were completely moved to their new location in November 1999.

Hampton Town Office 1999
Hampton Town Office in its new quarters, from the cover of the 1999 Town Report


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