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Minority Banking Timeline


Romana Acosta BaƱuelos

Romana Banuelos

In 1963, Romana Acosta Bañuelos and her partners established the Pan American National Bank in East Los Angeles, California. She believed that if Hispanics could increase their financial base, they would have more political influence and be able to improve their standard of living. In 1969, Bañuelos was appointed chairperson of the bank's board of directors and received the city's Outstanding Business Woman of the Year Award.

With the bank's assets already in the millions and deposits climbing rapidly, its success caught the attention of the Nixon administration. In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Bañuelos Treasurer of the United States, the first Latino to serve in that post.

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