After several meetings in 1923 to discuss the possibility of forming a new local bank in the Riverdale area of rural Prince George's County, seven area businessmen agreed to establish Citizens Bank.
But it took more than five years before the Maryland banking commissioner approved the new institution -- owners of which ultimately bought out the unexercised authority of another group to set up a bank.
Shortly thereafter, on Nov. 20, 1928, Citizens Bank of Riverdale opened. During its first month, a safe deposit box was rented from First National Bank of Hyattsville for the safekeeping of bonds, the executive committee authorized loans secured by a building association's certificates, and the first entry to undivided profits was made on Dec. 31, as commissions and discounts of $17.25. Total resources that day were $94,122.
Today, known as Citizens Bank & Trust Co. of Maryland, the Riverdale Bank is celebrating 50 years in business with an annual earnings statement that shows profits were up 17 percent to a record level last year, while total resources now exceed $540 million.
CB&T, with 54 offices, has expanded along with the Maryland county in which it is based to become the sixth largest bank in the state and one of the 250 largest in the country. Although most of its business is concentrated in Prince George's, the bank in recent years has expanded and now has offices despersed widely in Montgomery County as well as Charles, Anne Arundel, St. Mary's and Baltimore counties and Baltimore city.
A 55th office will open in a few weeks at the Village Mart in Olney.
In 1978, the bank reported profits increased to a record $8.13 million $6.35 a share) compared with $6.59 million ($5.71) the previous year, not counting securities transactions.
Loan volume for the year increased 14 percent to $317 million and deposits were up $9.7 million to $469 million.
For more than half of the bank's existence, it has been headed by the current president, Alfred H. Smith. He became the third president in 1945 when the bank's resources were not much bigger than when Citizens was founded. By 1960, resources had topped $50 million and a period of sharp and steady growth had begun.
Smith, 72, recently was honored at a bank reception, during which he was surprised by the unveiling of a portrait of him that was commissioned by the bank. Described by associates as an "intense, hard-working individual," Smith heads a sand and gravel firm that bears his name and that was started while he was a youth.
Before that, Smith had delivered milk and newspapers -- first with a goat and wagon and later by horse-back. He was educated in local schools and has no plans for retirement.