Launch Introduction Video


Free African Society Free African Society
Richard Allen and Absalom Jones formed the Free African Society in Philadelphia, a mutual aid society designed to provide socioeconomic guidance to newly freed people. Among its main objectives were teaching thrift and saving to build wealth in the community. These mutual aid societies and fraternities served as a model for banks later formed in the black community.
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First Bank of the USUnited States banking begins when the U.S. Congress passes an act that establishes the Bank of North America in Philadelphia. During the American Revolution, the Bank of North America had a monopoly on currency; before this time, private banks printed their own bank notes, backed by deposits of gold and/or silver.


Bank of North AmericaThe Bank of North America is succeeded by the First Bank of the United States, which the U.S. Congress charters under Article One, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, after the Constitution replaces the Articles of Confederation as the foundation of American government.


Second Bank of the USThe Second Bank of the United States is chartered five years after Congress failed to renew the charter for the First Bank of the United States. The First Bank's charter expired in 1811.


Congress passes the National Bank Act. This act creates the nation's dual banking system and gives banks the option of having a national charter.


Free Labor Bank Free Labor Bank
The first military bank, the Free Labor Bank, was established by General N.P. Banks in New Orleans to provide a secure repository for black Civil War soldiers and formerly enslaved persons.
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Freedman's BankFreedman's Savings and Trust Company
The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company opened in March1865 and closed in June1874 because of mismanagement, abuse, fraud, and the economic climate of the day. Thousands of African Americans were faced with financial ruin.
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Capital Savings BankCapital Savings Bank
The first bank organized and operated by African Americans was Capital Savings Bank in Washington, D.C. Just four years after it opened, its deposits had grown to over $300,000.
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Banco Popular
Banco Popular started as the bank of the poor in Puerto Rico in 1893. By the time Rafael Carrión Pacheco took control of Popular in the 1920s, the bank was promoting innovative ways for lower classes to save, such as steel coin banks given to consumers who pledged to bring them back periodically so the money collected could be deposited into savings accounts.
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St. Luke Penny Savings BankSt. 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.
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R B Fitzgerald The Mechanics and Farmers Bank opened for business in 1907 in Durham, NC. Its nine founders were active community builders and were involved in establishing numerous other institutions and organizations that formed the nucleus of a thriving business and residential district, anchored by what became known as "the Black Wall Street.
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Native American Business
The Bank of Cherokee County was founded by a group of prominent members of the Cherokee tribe in Hulbert, Oklahoma. The bank was created to serve a community that others refuse to serve.
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United Commercial Bank The Canton Bank of San Francisco was incorporated in 1907 to assist the Chinese community with financial resources to help rebuild the area following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the devastating fire that followed.
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The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 establishes the present-day Federal Reserve System and brings all banks in the U.S. under the authority of the federal government. The act creates the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, which are supervised by the Federal Reserve Board.


Women's Savings & Loan
Opened in 1922, the Women's Savings & Loan was begun by Lillian and Clara Westropp. This was the first bank, located in Cleveland, OH, founded and operated by women.
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Richard Wright
"Tell them we are rising," was a life long motto by which Richard R. Wright, Sr. lived. Born into slavery in 1855, Wright rose to lofty heights as a school founder, educator, newspaper publisher, entrepreneur, political organizer, banker, and scholar. He was a visionary with boundless aspiration for his people, and believed the acquisition of economic and political power as the bottom line.
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Congress passes the Banking Act of 1933, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


Cathay BankCathay Bank
Cathay Bank, which opened in 1962, is the oldest Chinese-American bank in southern California. It was founded by F. Chow Chan, George T.M. Ching, Gerald T. Deal, Dr. Tin Y. Kwong, John R. MacFaden, Thomas Quon, and John F. Verela.
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Romana BanuelosPan American National Bank
In 1963, the Pan American National Bank was established in East Los Angeles by Romana Acosta Bañuelos and her partners. The bank's main purpose was to provide funding for Latinos who wanted to start their own businesses. Pan-American National was credited with helping economically troubled East Los Angeles develop a sense of community and with being a vital factor in the economic improvement of its Latino population.


Betty Tom ChuBetty Tom Chu
Betty Tom Chu was one of the founders of the East West Federal Bank in 1973. The bank was the first federally chartered savings institution primarily serving the Chinese-American community in Los Angeles. The other organizers and founders of the East West Federal Bank were F. Chow Chan, Richard K. Quan, Gilbert L. Leong, Philip Chow, John A. Nuccio, Christopher L. Pocino, and John M. Lee.
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Abacus Federal Savings Bank
Founded in December 1984, the Abacus Federal Savings Bank was formed to provide banking services to Chinese immigrants and local residents of lower Manhattan in New York City. The principal organizer was Thomas Sung, an attorney active in community affairs.
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Blackfeet National BankBlackfeet National Bank
Blackfeet National Bank was the first bank established by a Native American tribe on a reservation. The bank addressed the great need of the Native American community on the reservation in Browning, Montana. Elouise Cobell spearheaded the campaign to find capital for the bank.
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FIRREA: Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act
Section 308 of FIRREA established goals that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) must work toward to preserve and promote minority financial institutions.
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Native American Bank
Established in 2001, American National Bank is the only multi-tribe bank in the United States. The founding tribes are Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Blackfeet Indian Nation, Grand Traverse Band, Eastern Shoshone, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Mashantucket Pequot, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, Navajo Indians, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Ute Mountain Ute, and Chippewa Cree. The bank is now owned by 26 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native corporations and villages.
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Partnership for Progress Logo In 2007, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve formally initiated a minority bank outreach program to gain additional insight into the challenges and needs of minority banks. After interviews and focus group meetings with minority bankers, the Fed hosted several pilot workshops to further develop the "Partnership for Progress" program for launch in 2008.


Partnership for Progress Logo In 2008, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve launched the Partnership for Progress program to help promote and preserve minority banks. Through this program, the Fed seeks to increase its direct contact with minority banks, deliver support and guidance, and provide access to electronic tools and resources. The Fed also seeks to continuously increase its understanding of minority banks, their challenges, and the role they play in their communities.