Maggie Lena Walker: The Making Of A Black Bank

America's first woman president of a financial institution founded one of the nation's oldest surviving black-owned banks

it grew rapidly and at the end of 1921 reported resources of $132,212. In April 1920, a second new African American bank, Second Street Savings Bank, opened. There were four African American banks in Richmond: St. Luke and Mechanics, associated with fraternal organizations, and the two new ones associated with long-established, local, commercial insurance companies. At the end of the year, Walker called a conference with all four presidents…to explore ways they could cooperate. At the time, St. Luke Penny Savings Bank announced it had passed the half-million mark in resources. By fall of 1930, she had initiated merger negotiations with Commercial Bank and Trust (and Second Street Savings Bank). Economic conditions were very threatening, and only if all the resources of the city’s African American community were combined would survival be possible. Intensive negotiations over the next months culminated in the final merger. The new Consolidated Bank and Trust opened on Jan. 2, 1931, with resources of $864,000. Consolidated Bank and Trust survived the Depression by pursuing conservative policies, and it … remains in business today. This year, Consolidated Bank and Trust ranked No. 20 on the BE BANKS list with $87.28 million in assets.

From A Right Worthy Grand Mission by Gertrude Woodruff Marlowe. Copyright © 2003 by Howard University. Published by arrangement with Howard University Press.

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