Elvadore R. Fancher became the first governor (president) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on November 2, 1914, and held the position until his death on January 16, 1935.
Fancher was born in Bloomer Center, Michigan, in 1864. His family moved to Lorain, Ohio, in 1879. He graduated from high school in Lorain in 1879 and married Harriet S. Schroeder in 1893.
In a career that spanned fifty-two years, Fancher started out as a bookkeeper for Union National Bank of Cleveland. Working his way up, he became a cashier and a vice president. In 1913, Congress and President Woodrow Wilson negotiated the banking reform that would lead to the Federal Reserve Act. In November 1913, in his role as vice president of Union National Bank, Fancher wrote to Senator G. M. Hitchcock in Washington, DC, to express his opinion on how regional banks might be structured. At that time, Fancher did not expect Cleveland to be selected as a Reserve Bank city. Just a month later, on December 23, President Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. The Act provided for a Reserve Bank Organization Committee that would designate no less than eight and no more than twelve Federal Reserve cities.
In April 1914, the Reserve Bank Organization Committee established twelve Reserve Bank districts, including Cleveland. In the fall of 1914, Fancher became president of the Union National Bank, but he only served in that position until November 2, 1914, when he became the first governor (president) of the Cleveland Fed. The Bank opened for business on November 16, 1914, with twenty-three employees. Fancher oversaw the design of the Reserve Bank’s permanent home on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland.
In early 1933, banks across the country faced serious problems. In March, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed a bank holiday. Later that month, the Emergency Banking Relief Act was passed to deal with the growing crisis in the banking industry. Fancher took a leading role in bringing relief to area banks. In April 1933, amidst rumors and Cleveland-area depositors’ growing concern, Fancher issued a pledge of support for area banks. His announcement became front-page news and was widely viewed as a turning point that helped avert a larger local crisis.
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. See disclaimer.