A Seattle man who worked as a bank manager at Capitol Hill and Magnolia before launching a career in real estate highlights the side of banking few people ever see in his entertaining memoir called The Other Side of Banking.
Most people imagine the life of a banker as rather stolid, but in this book, Arvon Agren, a former bank manager, shares stories of the lighter side of banking, such as walking down a city street alone carrying more than $200,000 when he was a 17-year-old teller. He watched buildings crumble around him during the 1949 earthquake.
Agren, the youngest of three sons who grew up in Chehalis, Washington, recounts delivering newspapers, picking hops and berries, and doing what he could to help the family survive during the trying times of the Great Depression and the home front during World War II.
While attending the University of Washington on the GI bill, he worked at the University branch of the National Bank of Commerce and later as manager at the Capitol Hill branch, where he faced a Monday morning with all of the bank’s money locked in a safe until Wednesday. Another time, an employee found a glass eye rolling around the bottom of what should have been an empty safe deposit box.
Prepare to abandon any preconceptions about the sober life of a banker as you turn the pages of this memoir by the man who managed the Magnolia branch of the National Bank of Commerce in Seattle. He moved to Magnolia in 1966 and participated in the Chamber of Commerce and Magnolia Community Club.
Agren, 84, who lives in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, began working in the banking industry at the age of seventeen and retired after more than a quarter of a century. He also devoted much of his spare time to buying and selling property, making a career of real estate after leaving banking.
He worked with writer Julie McDonald Zander of Toledo in creating his memoir, which features colorful photos and costs $16.95. It is available at Magnolia’s Bookstore, 3206 W. McGraw St., Seattle; in Chehalis at Book ‘N’ Brush, 518 N Market Blvd, and the Lewis County Historical Museum, 599 NW Front St, or at amazon.com.