El Banco Occidental de México
The concession for a bank in Sinaloa was granted to Roberto R. Symon, Celso Gaxiola and Livingston R. Gordon on 13 September 1897. The Banco Occidental de México was founded on 11 January 1898, by George R. Douglas, José Maria Zebada, Livingston R. Gordon, Roberto R. Symon, Celso Gaxiola and Federico Goodchild together with the Western Banking Company of Mexico Limited and some associates of Mazatlan, Manuel Herrerías, Pedro Echeguren, José H. Rico, Victoriano Siordia, Juan Escutia and Antonio de la PeñaASIN, Francisco C. Alcala, Mazatlán, 14 August 1889, f. 119. Details from Aguilar A., Gustavo and Ibarra Escobar, Wilfrido, "Surgimiento de la Banca Regional: El Banco Occidental de México en Sinaloa 1898-1911" in Memoria del XVII Simposio de Historia y Antropología, Hermosillo, 1994. The bank opened its doors on 29 January 1898Memoria de las Instituciones de Credito, 1897-1899. Or earlier, on 13 January (The Mexican Herald, 15 September 1900).
The bank originally met with some difficulties on account of the lack of capital, until the middle of 1899 when a strong syndicate of rich merchants of the port of Mazatlan was formed, which bought up all the stock of the bank and proceeded to reorganize it. The paid-up capital of the bank then amounted to $250,000, which was naturally considered as too small to carry on the affairs of a bank which had to do the business of the Pacific coast. The bank was founded with a nominal capital of $500,000 which had to be increased by $100,000 to manage the branch bank at Guaymas. Although the banking laws required only a paid up capital of 50 per cent, the executive decided to pay the whole amount, but even this capital was considered too small for the needs of the bank and on 9 August 1900 a special general assembly, decided to increase the amount to $1,500,000The Mexican Herald, 15 September 1900.
The bank also faced problems from the Banco Nacional de México. On 25 March 1901, Carlos Varona, director of the Banco Nacional de México, admitted to Secretario de Hacienda Limantour that he had told the Mazatlán branch not to accept Banco Occidental notes from federal offices because of the large quantities that the Customs were presenting and the fact that the latter bank had just received its $500 notesCEHM, Fondo CDLIV Colección José Y. Limantour, 2a. 1901, carpeta 6, legajo 21946 letter 25 March 1901 and CEHM, Fondo CDLIV Colección José Y. Limantour, 2a. 1901, carpeta 6, legajo 21949 letter 29 March 1901.
Its headquarters were on the corner of calle Principal and cale Constitución. On 18 December 1900 the substitute governor Juan B. Rico, by decree núm. 23, exempted the bank from property taxes on its new offices and declared that its notes were to be accepted as legal tender in all the state offices.
The bank opened an agency in Culiacán, which was managed by Ismael M. Ruiz from 4 February 1898 until 30 July 1900, and then by José H. Salazar, who held the post until 1912ASIN, Celso Gaxiola Rojo, Culiacán, 22 August 1889, f. 16. Ruiz moved in August 1900 to open the bank’s branch in ColimaEl Tiempo, 23 August 1900, where he stayed until July 1902, being replaced by Luis H. HoyosASIN, Francisco C. Alcala, Mazatlán, 31 July 1902, f. 32.
The bank set up a branch in Guaymas, Sonora in March 1900. On 7 February the bank’s manager, Alejandro Valdez Flaquer, had appointed Horacio Bonzi as its manager with an annual salary of $4,200 and a houseASIN, Francisco C. Alcala, Mazatlán, 7 February 1900, f. 79.
By November 1905 the bank had an agency in Hermosillo under the management of Cipriano AlvarezEl Centinela, 18 November 1905. In Alamos T. Robinson Bours y Hermanos were also agents for the Banco Occidental.
Under Obregón's decree of 31 January 1921 the bank was placed into Class A (for banks whose assets were greater than their liabilities) and allowed to resume all customary operations except the issue of bank notes. The bank was finally liquidated in 1930.
American Bank Note Company print runs
The American Bank Note Company produced the following notes. In January 1898 it engraved special vignettes of a Mexican lady (C 224) and of the port of Mazatlán (C 657) and in February 1900 vignettes of the Aztec calender (C 759) for the $500 note and of a statue of Cuauhtemoc (C758) for the $1000 note.
On 29 December 1915 Carranza's Comisión Reguladora e Inspectora de Instituciones de Crédito decided that the bank was within the requirements of its concession and could continue operating.