Fremont Bank was built on the principle that relationships should be at the forefront of our business. We’re committed to this unique approach to banking because of our not-so-unique origin story, which left our founder, Morris Hyman, and his family without the funds they needed in a time they needed them most. This story is familiar to many families and small businesses: the story of a big, institutional bank abandoning them in a time of need. This is the story that Fremont Bank was created to change.
Morris Hyman, the founder of Fremont Bank, was a Depression-era child of humble means who grew up in the Deep South. His father had built a successful construction company, but at the height of the Great Depression, with so many people struggling, the bank shut his family’s business down. Why? Because of a single missed payment.
For Morris, this experience was a potent insight into the power local bankers have to make or break not just families but entire communities. It inspired and motivated him to become a banker himself and create a different kind of bank.
Bank of Fremont, later renamed Fremont Bank, was officially formed in 1964, with six employees and the goal of thriving as an independent bank that would truly be of service to the community. Morris’s upbringing in the South is reflected in the “Southern hospitality” that underpins our approach to service to this day.
Morris understood that in order to survive against the large national banks, he couldn’t — and shouldn’t — play by their rules. Fremont Bank needed to develop an innate sense of the needs of local communities, and to respond to those needs in personalized and innovative ways:
- To meet the needs of suburban Fremont commuters, Fremont Bank became one of the first banks to open on Saturdays, and was affectionately known as “Your Saturday Bank.” We maintain weekend hours for the convenience of our customers to this day.
- Fremont Bank was one of the first banks to offer a “second mortgage” in the state of California. This offer has grown into our innovative Home Equity Line of Credit portfolio, which allows clients to manage unplanned expenses or consolidate debt.
- We pioneered the No Closing Cost Mortgage loan, which allows customers to refinance their home loans without paying fees.
- We’ve always made the community’s needs our primary focus. Our decision-making is rooted in supporting the areas in which we do business, providing products and services that mutually benefit the bank and our clients, and serving to improve the quality of life in local Bay Area communities.
In 1964, the year Fremont Bank was founded, 48 banks were formed in the state of California. Fremont Bank is the only one that has survived with local ownership — and is still owned by the Hyman family. Where most banks have grown by acquiring other companies or purchasing client lists, we have grown one client at a time. Every single business, family, and individual member of the Fremont Bank family has chosen to work with us. We are honored to be a part of your family’s story.