Thursday, August 26, 2010

Farewell Chevy Chase Bank

I have had an account at Chevy Chase Bank since my wife and I moved to downtown Silver Spring in 1992.  Chevy Chase is only the third bank that I have had since moving to the area in 1978.

My first bank as a sophomore at American University was Madison National Bank.  I opened an account with them because they had a branch bank within walking distance in Spring Valley.  During my senior year in 1980, Madison opened its first  automatic teller machine on campus called "Dolley."  I covered the dedication ceremony for the school's Eagle newspaper. 

This ATM (which wasn't even known then by that moniker) was conveniently located in Clark Hall a few steps from my dorm, Letts Hall.  With 24-hour access, I thought "Dolley" was amazing as I would be able to withdraw what little money I had. 

This was the first ATM I had ever seen. My hometown bank in Lorain, Ohio...Lorain National Bank...where I had had a savings account since I was a kid, only had human beings that sat behind an open counter.

(Does anyone know what was the first bank in metropolitan Washington, DC that offered ATMs?)

I stayed with Madison until around 1984 when I got married and moved to Adams-Morgan.  Madison had been experiencing irregularities in its operations and I didn't feel confident in them so I switched to Riggs National Bank, who had a branch at 1779 Columbia Road, NW that was within walking distance of our apartment.  Good thing.  Two years later Madison was shuttered after being in operation for only 23 years.

I really liked Riggs.  This was a bank that had history and even looked like a bank!  Established in 1896 Riggs'a Admas-Morgan branch was designed by George N. Day and constructed in 1928.  With its two-story limestone facade designed in restrained Neoclassical style, this structure certainly symbolized what I had always thought a bank should look like.  That and the fact that 22 U.S. Presidents had banked at Riggs gave me confidence that it would outlive me.

When my wife and I bought our bungalow in pre "revitalized" downtown Silver Spring in 1992, Riggs was unfortunately not located anywhere in the Central Business District.  If they had been present I would still be a customer today...well, with its successor, PNC Financial Services, who took over in 2005.  So instead, we opened accounts at Chevy Chase Bank, then located where Bombay Gaylord is at 8401 Georgia Avenue.

I never liked their name due to the obvious connection with the Saturday Night Live comedian.  But it certainly was convenient to home, especially since they also had ATMs located in Safeway, a mere one block from our house.

I knew that change was coming to Chevy Chase be re-named Capital One Bank...but I was still caught off guard when I came across this scene at the corner of  Georgia Avenue and Bonifant Street yesterday on my way home from work.  A worker was getting ready to install new signage over the corner entrance.

I just hope they ditch the "What's in your wallet?" Vikings commercial, but something tells me they will not.  If so, the image of Chevy Chase the comedian wasn't all that bad.


What's in your wallet?

Uh, stolen money.

Little did I know when I took these photos of the bank that it had been robbed earlier that day!






Media Services Division, 240-773-5030

Bank Robber Arrested

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division - Robbery Section announce the arrest of a man who robbed a Chevy Chase Bank in Silver Spring this afternoon.

Today at approximately 2:15 p.m., 3rd District officers responded to the Chevy Chase Bank located at 8315 Georgia Avenue for the report of a bank robbery that had just occurred.

The male suspect entered the bank and presented a note to the teller demanding cash and implying that he had a weapon. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash. A weapon was not seen and no one was injured. A look-out description of the suspect: black male, 5’10” tall, heavyset, hair in dredlocks, and wearing a red and blue plaid shirt was broadcast.

Responding patrol units located a suspect matching that description walking casually southbound on Georgia Avenue toward East West Highway. He was taken into custody without incident. The cash stolen from the bank was recovered.

Carl Coleman Purvis, Jr., age 42, of the 500 block of Peabody Street, NW Washington D.C., was charged with armed robbery and theft. He is currently being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center. Bond information is not yet available.

To see a photo of the bank robber, go to


Anonymous said...

"I never liked their name due to the obvious connection with the Saturday Night Live comedian."

??? Or the town of Chevy Chase, MD would be a more reasonable conclusion to draw. I always just felt bad for Chevy Chase the actor that his parents named him after a town.

Anonymous said...

I like Chevy Chase the actor.

Long time ago I had a Chevy Chase savings account when I was a student at University of MD. One day I received a small check saying they have closed my account because I have gone below the minimum requirement to maintain the account. I was so shattered - how can they do that to me.

I said Ok and I am going somewhere else when I have more money. So I never went back to them and I am glad they are being kicked out.

Anonymous said...

I too am unhappy that Capital One has taken over Chevy Chase and am considering moving my accounts after 30+ years at Chevy Chase

Anonymous said...

The re-branding of Chevy Chase starts on 9/10-5PM and evolves to Capital Uno on 9/13. Hopefully all our accunts will remain intact. Another local institution bites the dust.

Anonymous said...

After having my accounts at banks that kept getting bought up I ended up at Chevy Chase about ten years ago. I was proud that they had withstood the whole bank buying frenzy and remained independent...Until the economy tanked.
Then the purveyor of tons of junk mail made them an offer they couldn't refuse. I knew this sad day was soon to come.

Doug said...

The 1st "Money Mover" I used (name should give it away) was just 1/2 block north of the Sil Spr Metro station. It even gave out 5 dollar bills. One bill would usually do it. Now a fist full of 20's don't last long, $50 bills soon? Can't remember, it was after Silver Spring Bank; Nations Bank/Suburban/Trust/Suburban/Soveran/(dreaded BOA).
BTW, Chevy Chase Savings and Loan was one of the few survivors of the Maryland savings and loan horrow stories! Conservative yet reliable Chevy Chase.
And B. F. Saul still was the one going out into the far surburbs to a corn field, buy a small plot in the middle of nowhere and when the "people" came, he'd open up a look a like Chevy Chase building. A tried and true operation. Thank you Mr. Saul!!

Anonymous said...

Back in the mid 80's, a friend of mine who was a young, local bank executive, predicted that in 15-20 years there would be only 5 banks in the country.

My now deceased banker friend's prediction, apparently seems to be coming true! Since his death, four years ago, I've wondered if he knew something more than the rest of us.

BTW, Chevy Chase is not his real name!

Moving company in silver spring MD said...

thanks for your writting here,

Best wishes from Maryland!