Crocker National Bank

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Logo of the Crocker Bank prior to its merger with Wells Fargo Bank.

Crocker National Bank was a United States bank headquartered in San Francisco, California. It was acquired by and merged into Wells Fargo Bank in 1986.


The bank traces its history to the Woolworth National Bank in San Francisco. Charles Crocker, who was one of The Big Four of the Central Pacific Railroad and who constructed America's First Transcontinental Railroad, acquired a controlling interest in Woolworth for his son William Henry Crocker. The bank was renamed Crocker Woolworth National Bank, later Crocker-Anglo Bank, Crocker-Citizens National Bank, then Crocker First National Bank and finally Crocker National Bank. It had many branches, mostly in the northern half of California. In 1963, Crocker-Anglo Bank later merged with Los Angeles' Citizens National Bank, to become Crocker-Citizens Bank. and later, Crocker Bank.

Crocker Bank building, Los Angeles

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Crocker cultivated a reputation for customer service and convenience, including expanded hours. It was also one of the first California banks to offer automated teller machine service; one early television commercial showed a young businessman confidently using the machine, while speaking to it as if it were a person; he was then followed by an elderly woman approaching it for the first time, and greeting it with a very uncertain "Hello."

Crocker National Bank was purchased by the British financial institution Midland Bank in 1981, but after a series of financial losses it was sold on to Wells Fargo Bank in 1986. Crocker's president and over eighty vice presidents left the bank after the merger.[citation needed]

In the early 1970s Crocker ran a series of television commercials produced by Hal Riney, featuring a commissioned song "We've Only Just Begun," written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. This was later re-recorded by The Carpenters and sold as a single: it became the duo's signature song. The ads showed three pivotal moments in a young couple's life: their wedding, a husband's first day at a new job, and the first home move for a family with a small boy. The commercials ended with the tag line "You've got a long way to go. We'd like to help you get there. The Crocker Bank."

Scott Adams worked at Crocker during his first years in the business world. It is said to have inspired the evil Bank of Ethel in Adams' Dilbert comic strip.

As of January 2012 Wells maintains the Crocker name as a current federally registered trademark at its "Crocker Office Branch" at 1 Montgomery St. San Francisco, California in a wall display of the Crocker Bank history.


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