The first banking house in Saint Paul was established by Dr. Charles W. Borup and Charles H. Oakes in the summer of 1852.” An account in the Pioneer Press from December 25, 1887 said the partnership was formed June 26, 1852, and that an office in the old Minnesota Outfit building, corner of Third and Jackson Streets, was opened immediately thereafter. In the summer of 1853, their banking business was on the south side of Lower Third Street, between Sibley and Jackson, opposite the old Merchant’s Hotel. The business included loans, discounts, money changing, and the purchase and sale of real estate and other investments.
Dr. Borup was from Copenhagen, Denmark. He came to America at an early age and for many years was engaged in the fur trade on Lake Superior. For a time, he was an agent for American Fur Company. He came to Saint Paul in 1849. He was educated, was a musician and socially very popular. He died in Saint Paul June 6, 1859.
Mr. Oakes was a native of Vermont and a brother-in-law of Dr. Borup. Oakes was also a fur trader on Lake Superior, with the Chippewa Indians. After Borup died, Oakes continued the banking business by himself for about a year before retiring. Oakes died in Saint Paul in 1879.
In January 1854, Borup & Oakes issued certificates payable in like funds or in coin, or exchange on the east at current rates. On March 4, 1854, the legislature made these notes illegal, but that did not stop their circulation or the issuance of more.
In 1855, Borup & Oakes issued another version of their notes “REDEEMABLE IN GOLD” at a 1% discount. While this issue increased the high standing of Borup & Oakes, other bankers refused to accept these notes and the legislature, in 1856, passed further laws against them. Borup & Oakes was forced to stop issuing them and to redeem the ones then in circulation.
Borup & Oakes closed in October 1857, along with several other bankers, resulting from the financial panic of that year.