John F. Camp Sr.

Among the leaders of the community who helped build Vancouver’s financial district was John F. Camp Sr., founder of First Federal Savings and Loan Association.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1882, Camp came west to Centralia in 1902 and entered the banking business. In 1928, he was sent to Vancouver as loan correspondent for the Lewis County Savings and Loan.

In 1926, a group of Vancouver businessmen founded the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Association at 1012 Main St. Four years later, Camp became manager of Metropolitan and reorganized it as First Federal, which was to become Vancouver’s largest savings and loan.

Camp continued to head the company he founded until after World War II, when he was succeeded by a son, John F. Camp Jr. The elder Camp also formed the Camp Insurance Agency, which another son, Roger, took over after the war.

During his active business life, Camp served as president of the Southwest Washington Savings and Loan League. During the war he headed and participated in many fund-raising drives.

Camp died in 1953 at age 71.

First Federal continued to expand and grew from a company with $14 million in assets in 1960 to nearly $400 million 28 years later. By 1988, the institution was operating 18 offices in Clark County and the Portland area. In 1979, the firm completed a big banking plaza at 12th and Main and in 1982 changed its name to Community First Federal Savings.

Last December, Community First Federal was merged with American Home Savings of Salem as a subsidiary of Pacific First Federal Bank of Tacoma. It now is known as Pacific First Bank.

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