Tower Loan History
Tower Loan opens and experiences prosperity and growth. The consumer finance industry was in its infancy.
After World War II, Tower sold its offices to various employees within the company. The Jackson, Mississippi, South State Street Office of the original Tower group was purchased by Ed and Kate Clark. Under the ownership of the Clarks, Tower Loan brokers grew from a single office to 16 offices throughout Mississippi.
Following the death of Kate Clark, Jack Lee purchased 12 of Ed Clark’s offices. The 4 offices not purchased were sold to managers within Clark’s company and are still in operation today. The offices purchased by Jack Lee were located in North Jackson, Clinton, East Jackson, Yazoo City, Canton, Kosciusko, Pascagoula, Louisville, Eupora, Carthage, Moss Point, and Philadelphia. In later years, the Moss Point office was merged into Pascagoula, Clinton was moved to Southwest Jackson; and East Jackson was moved to Pearl. Some of these offices operated as Tower Loan and some operated as Russell Baker Finance.
Tower formed two insurance companies in order to provide credit-related insurance. American Federated Life Insurance Company was formed as a credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance company. American Federated Insurance Company was formed as a credit property insurance company. These insurance companies are now owned by Tower’s parent corporation. After various openings and purchases, Tower grew to have 29 offices in the state of Mississippi, making Tower the largest consumer finance company based in the state of Mississippi.
Tower Loan made its largest acquisition at the time, Louisiana-based Reliable Finance Company. This acquisition spread Tower’s lending philosophy into 13 offices in the state of Louisiana. At the time of this acquisition, the only office still operating as Russell Baker Finance was Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vicksburg’s name was changed to Reliable Finance and the Russell Baker name was lost before the purchase of Reliable Finance, First Tower Corp., a holding company, was established to form an umbrella for Tower Loan of Mississippi, Inc.; American Federated Life Insurance Company; and American Federated Insurance Company. Reliable Finance Company was eventually renamed First Tower Loan, Inc. and was added to the umbrella of First Tower Corp.
Following various acquisitions and office openings, Tower stood at 51 offices. On December 1,
Tower Loan acquired the nine consumer loan offices of Eagle Federal Savings Bank. This brought Tower to 60 offices.
Tower purchased the four offices of Walthall Finance and later purchased the eight offices of Money Mart, Inc.
Tower Loan acquired the receivables of Gulfco Finance Company, based on Marksville, Louisiana, increasing the company’s size by nearly 50%. Tower netted 21 new offices after acquiring certain assets in certain Gulfco Finance offices from MFN Financial Corporation, marking the company’s single largest acquisition to date.
Tower acquired all of the remaining Mississippi receivables of Tico Finance Company and Personal Finance Company.
Tower expands operations into the state of Missouri by opening 8 offices. As of 2013, Tower has 38 offices in Missouri.
Tower expands operations into the state of Illinois and Alabama opening 4 offices in Alabama and 8 offices in Illinois.
Tower made its largest acquisition in company history, Harrison Finance Company.
Tower expands into Texas with 3 new offices.
Tower has weathered the storm of high interest rates, recessions, government regulations and difficult litigation environments. In spite of these obstacles, Tower Loan has continued to prosper, advance and become one of the nation’s leaders among independent finance companies.