The Weave

Stories and insights from the people at Investors Bank

Our First Employee

Today, Investors Bank employs nearly 2,000 people in two states.  We are a diverse mix of service specialists, technicians, managers, finance professionals, product experts, and more.  When you also think about all the people who formerly worked at Investors Bank throughout our more than 90 years of history, that’s virtually an entire town’s population that has served our customers at one time or another.

But, we had to start somewhere.  Our first full-time employee was named Roland L. Lewan.  Prior to Mr. Lewan’s tenure, the bank (which was then known as “Investors Savings and Loan Association”), was run by volunteers and officers who were paid nominal amounts for their part-time efforts.  It wasn’t until 1942, 16 years after our founding, that Mr. Lewan became our first full-time employee.  That initial hiring was necessitated by the growth caused by a purchase of the nearby Millburn Building and Loan Association.  With that acquisition came a dedicated office that customers could visit, and it was deemed time that employees be brought on.

Roland Lewan with vase
Mr. Lewan inspects the dining set on display at the Grand Opening of our Union branch in 1945.

Mr. Lewan had formerly served as Investors’ Secretary since 1935 and as a Director since 1940.  Upon his full-time hiring in August of 1942, he was given the title of Executive Manager, which included not only the duties of an organization's most senior executive, but also those of a branch manager.  Prior to working exclusively at Investors Savings and Loan Association, Mr. Lewan was employed by Guaranty Trust Company in New York City and Fidelity Union Trust Company in Newark.  As Mr. Lewan explained in 1961, “While with Fidelity Trust from 1923 to 1942, I became an official for many of the state’s old, part-time building and loans.  I remember when I was an auditor, treasurer, or secretary for six part-time associations at one time, and one of them was what is now Investors Savings.” 

Mr. Lewan’s title and duties changed throughout the years as Investors grew under his leadership, and he eventually was named its President, though he had been acting in that capacity since his hiring.  He remained in that position until his untimely death at the age of 63 in 1964.  A tireless leader and advocate for his industry, Mr. Lewan was attending a New Jersey Savings and Loan Institution conference in Cherry Hill, NJ when he was struck by a car as he attempted cross a busy road.     

Fifteen years after Mr. Lewan's death, Fred Herrigel, Jr, the driving force behind the founding of Investors in 1926, said Roland Lewan “knew the value of communicating to local residents that Investors Savings genuinely cared about their needs.  He opened the doors of his office to community group meetings, and his enthusiasm for people resulted in rapid growth and success for the Association. Lewan was a man of vision.”

With Mr. Lewan at the helm, Investors’ assets grew an astonishing 12,600%.  He orchestrated six purchases or mergers, oversaw five office openings (including the first branch belonging to a New Jersey savings and loan), initiated deposit insurance, and molded Investors into a brand that was known as a “sound, conservative savings institution.”

Mr. Lewan lived in New Jersey his entire life, spending his adult portions in Millburn and Chatham.  He still holds the record as Investors’ longest-serving chief executive, with nearly 22 of employment, which does not include his seven years of previous part-time work.  One of his sons, Roland Lewan, Jr, would later serve as Investors’ President for nearly 18 years, until his own death in 1990.     

 

Are you interested in joining the Investors Bank team, too? Maybe you will become part of our history, as well! We have a wide range of available positions. Learn what it is like to work here.

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