Dean Co-operative Bank was chartered as a Massachusetts cooperative bank on June 15, 1889 by a group of 51 local citizens who saw a need for a new bank in Franklin. Ten of these citizens were elected as directors of the new mutual bank and, because there were no investors or stockholders, they were charged with making business decisions based solely on the needs of their constituents – the depositors.
The new Bank was located on the second floor of the “Farber Building” at the corner of Main Street and Dean Avenue, the site of the Bank’s main office today. The entrance was actually located on Dean Avenue, the origin of the name of the Bank.
After 61 years the Bank reached its first million dollars in assets. The strains of its growth led to the need for new quarters. In 1949 the Bank moved across Main Street to the building where Vallee Jewelers is currently located. The move from the second floor location to a free standing downtown building resulted in greater visibility and substantial growth.
By the mid 1970’s the Bank’s directors had to make important strategic decisions for the future in order to stay competitive in an industry that was beginning to modernize, automate, and develop more diverse products and services. The board concluded there were only two reasonable alternatives available: (1) merge into a larger, more modern institution, or (2) remain independent and modernize and see what impact it would have on the marketplace. The board chose to remain independent and in January 1976, the board hired a new 29 year old President and CEO, Wayne A. Cottle, to lead the $6.9 million Bank and its five employees. The Bank was in very sound financial condition but in need of computerization and automation.
By the end of 1976, under Wayne Cottle’s leadership, all major services were on-line and programs were implemented to expand and modernize products and services. At this time there were 135 state chartered cooperative banks in Massachusetts, 121 of which were larger than Dean Cooperative Bank.
In 1977, the Bank purchased the property across Main Street to construct a new main office. In December 1980, with assets totaling more than $10 million, the Bank moved into the new facility complete with a package of modern products and services. Increased visibility again resulted in significant growth. Within four years, assets doubled to $20 million and in 1984 the Bank opened its first innovative branch at Franklin’s Tri-County High School. Within three years assets doubled again and a third branch in Bellingham was opened. The Blackstone branch opened in 1997 and a full-service Mendon branch opened in the spring of 2006. The Bank’s assets now exceed $200 million.