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Minority Banking Timeline

1903

St. Luke Penny Savings Bank


St Luke

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank was founded in 1903 by Maggie Lena Walker. Walker holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman to establish and serve as president of a bank in the U.S.

With money gathered from the members of the Independent Order of St. Luke, an African-American benevolent society, Walker opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. She found that white-owned banks did not readily accept deposits from black organizations such as the benevolent society. This reluctance on the part of white-owned banks gave her the idea to start her own bank. While many of the largest black-owned banks closed during the Great Depression, Walker's bank survived in part because it merged with two smaller black-owned banks in 1930. After the mergers, the bank was renamed Consolidated Bank & Trust, and Walker became chairman of the board. The bank continues today and is the oldest continuously operated African-American-owned bank in the United States.

Walker stated: "Let us put our money together; let us use our money; let us put our money out at usury among ourselves, and reap the benefit ourselves."

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