St. Luke Penny Savings Bank
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."