Guide to the Exchange National Bank of Spokane Records 1880-1930
Cage 20

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Exchange National Bank of Spokane
Exchange National Bank of Spokane Records
Cage 20
Date [inclusive]
7500.0 items.
General Physical Description note
12 linear feet of shelf space.
Correspondence, minutes, charters, reports, printed material and other papers of the bank and its subsidiaries; papers of businesses in which the bank had a financial interest; papers of the bank president, E.T. Coman, and his assistant, E.E. Flood. Correspondents include Idaho lumberman Fred Herrick, whose business failures caused the collapse of the bank.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 20, Guide to the Exchange National Bank of Spokane Records. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

The Exchange National Bank of Spokane was organized in 1889 and operated until early 1929. During its existence it was one of the major financial institutions of the Inland Empire and was generally regarded as the second largest bank in Spokane. The importance of the institution transcended its business activities as many of the people connected to ownership or management of the bank were active in governmental, educational, philanthropic, trade association, Federal Reserve and clearing house activities.

The bank itself was involved in many facets of financial and business operations beyond commercial lending. It was, in fact, a pioneer "full-service" bank, offering a savings department, home loans, escrow, trusts, and investment subsidiary - the Cariboo Company, and such other services at a fairly early date. It was, ironically, these special activities which eventually spelled the doom of the bank. More and more special loans, most of a capital investment nature, were made in the 1920s and the bank began to become involved in the operation and overseeing of other businesses. On occasion some of these concerns failed and the bank found itself directly operating non-financial business such as a stock yard and a lumber mill. Not only were such operations of doubtful legality, but additionally they proved to be business mistakes. The most costly mistake was a long protracted affair called "the Herrick loans." These loans grew from the vigorous lending activities of E. E. Flood, the moving spirit of the bank in the 1920s, who seems to have imagined himself as the "Washington Giannini." Flood, early in the 1920s, committed the bank to refinancing a series of commercial loans secured by personal notes which had been made by Fred Herrick, a logging and sawmill operator of St. Maries, Idaho. A crusty and colorful character of the "robber baron" stripe, Herrick was totally unscrupulous and seems to have consistently deceived Flood.

Through the mid-twenties, Flood continue to pick up Herrick's notes from banks all over east Washington and north Idaho. Eventually he realized Herrick was on the verge of insolvency. Flood then backed Herrick's proposal to contract cutting a vast stand of National Forest Land timber in central Oregon. When that arrangement failed to materialize, due to Herrick's difficult relations with governmental agencies, the whole Herrick operation began to collapse. Flood, in a last desperate effort to stave off bankruptcy, consolidated all the debts of Herrick, now totaling over four million dollars. He then attempted to refinance Herrick with gold bonds sold on the Chicago market. But before the bond sale was successfully completed, depositors who realized the bank was holding vast amount of illiquid assets began a "run," forcing its closure.

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Scope and Contents note

The papers of the Exchange National Bank of Spokane, Washington consist of a significant portion of the original records of the bank, being especially complete for the period after 1910, at which time the bank passed into the control of a new group of stockholders. Because of this, there may be some reason to regard this collection as papers emanating from the Coman-Huntley group of investors, rather than from the Exchange National Bank as a corporate entity. Supporting this is the inclusion in the collection of personal and political papers of Edwin Coman, president of the bank from 1910 to 1922, and of his assistant Everett Edmund Flood, who was the dominant figure in the bank after Coman.

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Arrangement note

The present arrangement of the collection is an attempt to restore the relationships between the several parts of the collection. It was a process of addition and subtraction, as well as arrangement, as many items were weeded and several estrays were returned to the collection.

There are five main categories into which the thirty-four series are arranged. These are 1) Records and papers of the bank as a whole (A-N); 2) Internal operations and records of the bank (O-S); 3) Papers of subsidiaries or other businesses of which the bank assumed management (T-CC); 4) Papers of E.T. Coman and E. E. Flood, (DD-EE); and 5) Miscellaneous (FF-II).

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1972
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Exchange National Bank --Archives

Personal Name(s)

  • Coman, Edwin Truman, b. 1869
  • Flood, Everett Edmund, b. 1881
  • Herrick, Fred, b. 1853


  • Banks and banking--Washington (State)--Spokane--Records and correspondence
  • Business, Industry, and Labor
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Records and papers of the bank as a whole 

container file

Charter, Articles of Association, company history (1915) 1889-1921   15.0 items.

1 A

Minutes of Board of Directors and annual meetings 1910-1923   50.0 items.

1 B

Licenses, wartime registrations, government bond agency certification, etc. 1910-1920   10.0 items.

2 C

Minutes of Finance Committee meetings 1890-1900   1.0 volume.

2 D

Auditor's reports, statements of condition, and statements of Caribou Company, the real estate holding affiliate of the bank 1915-1928   50.0 items.

2 E

Examiners Reports (Comptrollers' calls), United States Treasury Department examinations, correspondence, and inspections on behalf of the Department of Interior, required of the bank as a recipient of Indian Agency money 1889-1923   500.0 items.

3-6 F

Tax receipts on property in Spokane, Whitman County, Idaho, and British Columbia 1890-1925   100.0 items.

7 G

Surety bonds posted by directors, officers, employees and some customers of the bank 1905-1928   150.0 items.

7 H

Insurance policies and utility contracts 1895-1920   150.0 items.

7 I

General correspondence, arranged chronologically 1889-1930   3000.0 items.

8-12 J

Depository bonds, posted to secure deposits of governmental units, such as city and county of Spokane, Washington State Treasurer 1912-1920   25.0 items.

13 K

Colville Indian Agency Account. Depository bonds and correspondence with Department of Interior and the local agent 1900-1920   200.0 items.

13 L

Stock, bond and debenture certificates, apparently part of escrow and assignment, many from Walter J. Nicholls and Company, stock-brokers 1880-1925   300.0 items.

14 M

Deeds, mortgages, assignments, wills, trusts, contracts, mineral and water claims, satisfactions, garnishments, and other legal papers concerning real estate in Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Idaho and Washington, many from Newton, Guernsey and Company, a mortgage placement firm closely allied to the bank 1880- 1928   300.0 items.

15-16 N

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Series 2: Internal operations and records of the bank 

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Escrow agreements on property in the Spokane area and in North Idaho 1895-1928   200.0 items.

17-19 O

Telegraphic code books apparently used in the foreign exchange department, whose record will be found in General Correspondence 1910-1925   15.0 items.

19 P

Depositors records: passbooks record forms 1900-1905   200.0 items.

20 Q

Credit examinations: research reports done preparatory to the making of loans, annual statements and audits of several Spokane area businesses and the credit rating files of individual borrowers 1915-1925   100.0 items.

21 R

Estates: powers-of-attorney and proxies to be exercised by the bank as executor. Includes naturalization papers and funeral bills 1880-1917   20.0 items.

21 S

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Series 3: Papers of subsidiaries or other businesses of which the bank assumed management 

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Walter J. Nicholls and Company, stock-brokers of Spokane and a close affiliate of the bank. When his business came to trouble in the early 1920's, and assignment arrangement was worked out with the bank and eventually the bank acquired these papers. Documents and correspondence 1907-1926   300.0 items.

22 T

Spokane Union Stockyards Company. Control of this firm passed to the bank in the early 1920's via a trustee arrangement 1920-1925   50.0 items.

22 U

Stack-Gibbs Lumber Company, Gibbs, Idaho. Documents and correspondence relative to the bankruptcy of this company whose solvency the bank had tried to preserve 1916   30.0 items.

23 V

Caribou Company. Grants, deeds, descriptions, contracts relative to certain tracts of land in British Columbia. These lands were held in assignment, owned by the bank, or owned by the Caribou Company 1907-1920   30.0 items.

23 W

Mechanics Loan and Trust Company, Spokane, This company was owned by certain of the bank's officers and was used for making certain special loans 1920   10.0 items.

23 X

Little Falls water power site, Spokane River, claim of David Wilson. Title abstracts, deeds, correspondence with Interior Department and Indian Service relative to claim 1900-1905   40.0 items.

23 Y

Wick Estate: correspondence regarding sale of mining investments 1921   10.0 items.

23 Z

Fred Herrick Correspondence and a variety of legal documents relating to the "Herrick loans" which were the biggest operations ever attempted by the bank and apparently the cause of its demise. Involved was the effort to consolidate several millions of dollars of loans to a number of corporations through which Herrick (b. 1853, resident of St. Maries, Idaho) carried out a variety of timber operations in Idaho and Oregon 1920-1929   700.0 items.

24-25 AA

Pi Kappa Phi account, record of donations to a fraternal organization in which certain of the bank's officers were active 1914-1919   30.0 items.

26 BB

Spokane Clearing House Association, re: assessments for charities, lobbying, clearing house operations and other activities of the association 1909-1919   130.0 items.

26 CC

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Series 4: Papers of E.T. Coman and E. E. Flood 

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Papers of Edwin Truman Coman (b. 1869). Personal and political correspondence of Coman, President of bank from 1910-1921; Washington State Senator (1918-1920); candidate for gubernatorial nomination; member of Board of Regents of the State College of Washington; and Director of the Spokane Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Correspondents include Ernest Lister, E.A. Bryan, E.O. Holland, Miles Poindexter, C.C. Dill, Wesley Jones, John Skelton Williams, William Gibbs MacAdoo. 1906-1922   400.0 items.

27 DD

Papers of Everett Edmund Flood (b. 1881). Personal and political correspondence of Flood, assistant to the President and later Vice President. Correspondents include Roland Hartley, Olaf Olson and J. Stanley Webster. 1918-1927   250.0 items.

27 EE

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Series 5: Miscellaneous 

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Specimen contract for a vast wheat pool or cartel 1920   1.0 item.

27 FF

Photographs; many of properties in which Exchange National Bank loans were involved, such as the Herrick mill and railroad in Oregon, various Spokane scenes, including the American Legion, GAR and active military. Some with captions cited to "Kameragraphic News Service, Spokane." (contact print from nitrates #s 12-80) 1900-1930   100.0 items.

28 GG

Deposit record: ledger books 1900   2.0 volumes.

29-30 HH

Advertising Material. 1927   50.0 items.

28 II

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