President Benjamin Harrison was at the midpoint of his term, receiving reports from a place called Wounded Knee in the new state of South Dakota, where Federal troops were engaged in a fierce battle with Plains Indians.
The year was 1890. And in the county seat of Johnson County, on a chilly February morning, a dozen local businessmen opened the doors of the Mutual Building & Loan Association of Franklin, Indiana. Like the fictional Bailey Brothers Building & Loan in the popular holiday movie "It's A Wonderful Life," the new business existed to help ordinary people save for the future and buy homes of their own. In those days, banks generally catered only to wealthy families and business owners.
Located above Henderson Drugs, the association approved its first home loan in April 1890, for a home on Adams Street. As the business grew, the demand for space led to a move across the street to 40 North Water Street (now the site of the Elks Club). When that building was hit by a fire in 1936, Mutual built brand-new building that served as its home until 1969. That year, the association moved to the current location of our main office, 80 East Jefferson Street. The building previously housed the Franklin Theatre. In 1993, we opened a branch in Trafalgar.
In 1994, the association's board of directors approved a conversion to a state savings bank charter, allowing Mutual to expand its products and services. On October 1 of that year, we became known as Mutual Savings Bank. In the following year, we opened a second branch on Main Street, north of the downtown area. A branch at the Franklin Methodist Community followed in 1996.
A desire to strengthen the bank's capital position led the board to recommend conversion to stock ownership in 2004, creating a holding company called Third Century Bancorp. The name reflected the fact that Mutual has served customers during the 1800s, 1900s, and the current century.
In recent years, Mutual has continued to grow at a steady, measured pace, taking advantage of opportunities to make strategic expansions. After another bank's Nineveh branch closed in 2001, leaving that community with no local bank, we opened a branch there. In 2008, we purchased another bank's branch in Edinburgh.
Throughout our history, we have focused on the financial needs of everyday people, and have earned a reputation for responsive customer service and genuine interest in the needs of our customers. That's why we're known as a friendly place to bank!