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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George A. LeMaistre, April 29, 1985. Interview A-0358. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Losing savings following the stock market crash of 1929

LeMaistre remembers losing nine months of savings following the stock market crash of 1929.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George A. LeMaistre, April 29, 1985. Interview A-0358. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ALLEN J. GOING:
One of the peculiar twists of fate—but you did, when you decided to study law, you thought you would be practicing in Alabama.
GEORGE A. LeMAISTRE:
Oh yes. So we came to Tuscaloosa to live.
ALLEN J. GOING:
And it was the only law school in the state. That was 1930, as you say, with the depression just around the corner.
GEORGE A. LeMAISTRE:
Well, it had just begun, actually. The crash of '29 had come in the fall just before that. We moved up here in the summer of '30 so it was about six or seven months after the stock market crash when we came to Tuscaloosa. And banks were failing right and left. We went through three bank failures in one year, in each of which we had accounts and we got no payments, no deposit insurance from any of them.
ALLEN J. GOING:
Did that have some effect you think on your later banking experience?
GEORGE A. LeMAISTRE:
Well, actually, I'd say it made me appreciate deposit insurance when I read about them adopting it in the banking act of 1933. It became effective January 1, 1934.
ALLEN J. GOING:
It was one of the early New Deal measures.
GEORGE A. LeMAISTRE:
But in 1929 I had worked—my father had got sick in January, so I came home from school and worked in a bank in Florala from January first to September first, and each month I'd let them deposit my salary in my savings account. I was living at home. I didn't need any money. So they put it in this savings account so it would bear interest at the great rate of 3 ½ percent and when I went back to Ann Arbor in September, I went to see about my money that I had in my savings account which was about $900. And they said, "We pay interest again on December first. Why don't you just leave it and get your interest?" So I did, and when I came home from Ann Arbor for Christmas holiday, I got ready to go back around the second of January, and I went to the bank and drew a cashier's check for the balance of my savings account to take it back and deposit it in Ann Arbor. And I rode the train up there and I guess about the fourth or fifth of January I deposited it in the bank. The bank in Alabama closed before my check cleared, so I worked the whole nine months for nothing.
ALLEN J. GOING:
Never got any of it?
GEORGE A. LeMAISTRE:
Never got any of it. So I was pretty much sold on deposit insurance. It wasn't hard to get me to believe that that was a good thing.