On this day in Alabama history: Alabama’s first black-owned bank opened

On this day in Alabama history: Alabama’s first black-owned bank opened
The Penny Savings Bank of Birmingham, founded by William R. Pettiford, was the first black-owned banking institution in Alabama. It operated from 1890 to 1915. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)

October 15, 1900

The Rev. William Reuben Pettiford opened the Alabama Penny Savings Bank in Birmingham, the state’s first black-owned and black-operated financial institution. Designed to encourage black businesses and give black citizens a better way to save money, the bank eventually became the largest black-owned bank in the country and included branches in Selma, Anniston and Montgomery. In 1906, Pettiford helped found the National Negro Bankers’ Association and served as its first president until his death, becoming the leading figure in the nation’s African-American bank movement. Despite the institution’s success, the bank failed without Pettiford’s leadership and closed its doors in 1915, less than a year after his death.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

William Reuben Pettiford (1847-1914) was an educator, banker, and Baptist minister who founded the Alabama Penny Savings Bank in Birmingham in 1890. The bank was the first financial institution owned and operated by blacks in the state. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)

 

 

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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