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Marshall & Iisley Bank

Funded much of Harley-Davidson's early growth via loans. notably a major factory expansion (to 80,000sq ft/7200sq m) in 1911 and again in 1918, when the four Founders reputedly borrowed $3 million from the bank to pay for a huge factory expansion, this time to nearly 600,000sq ft (55,000sq m). Building started in late 1918 and was completed by April 1920. Harley-Davidson had probably the largest motorcycle factory in the world, though to build it the Founders had to overcome their natural distrust of bank loans and the associated interest rates. However, the Marshall & Ilsley Bank was impressed: at the new factory's dedication ceremony, the bank's president declared that Walter Davidson's credit rating was such that he could obtain a million-dollar loan at any time, just by signing his name.