What’s Old is New Again – The Story of Provident Loan Society


One of the keys to being current is continuously changing.  Change is inevitable.  With change comes a redefining and redesigning of oneself or ones surroundings.

I was delighted to receive a call from Provident Loan Society in New York who has decided that ‘what’s old is truly new again.’  I love that expression.

How It All Got Started

The Provident Loan Society was created in the financial panic of 1893

cartoon-panic-of-1893-grangerAt that time, the country embarked on a serious economic depression.  This was the first economic depression that our country experienced, and as we know, certainly, not the last.  There were many catalysts that attributed to the financial panic; however, one can be traced back to bank investments that supported the wheat crop. Banks were heavily invested and when the crop failed and a coup arose in Buenos Aires, investors were cashing in their investments – the shock started a run on gold in the US.

This happened in the middle of the Gilded Age, when the US was actually experiencing economic growth and expansion.  

This panic eventually swept through the country affecting our railroad system which at the time were overbuilt and incurring expenses that outstripped revenues.

One of the fist clear signs of trouble came just before Grover Cleveland was inaugurated and that was when the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad went bankrupt.

As a result of these happenings, banks closed, stock prices declined and businesses and farms ceased operation. 

It was severe.  What little these people had they needed to convert to cash to survive and take care of their families.

As we know, there are opportunists at every turn and when the Panic of 1893 occurred there were those who had the wherewithal to become loan sharks and pawn brokers.  They took advantage of their neighbors and friends and sank them more into poverty.

The Heroes

PLSfoundersProvident Loan Society was formed by a group of powerful NY bankers who pooled their money together to establish a not-for-profit organization to provide short term loans at a much lower rate than those offered by loan sharks.

The business model eventually became a loan shop that allowed the average Joe to come in and exchange his precious family holdings for much needed cash.  

Provident Loan, at its peak, had 17 locations opened around New York, but as of 2009, there were 5 remaining locations.

Rebirth, Renovate, Reintroduce

Today, Provident Loan Society is rebirthing their business with a fresh new look to their environment as they pause to reintroduce themselves to the masses.  Today, more than ever, people are looking for a fresh experiences in all avenues of life including how to borrow money. 

Like their business model, Provident Loan Society, is maintaining the great bones of their building and I have the privilege of taking that great structure and creating a fresh environment through style and design to mirror this great loan society’s resurrection.