Looking Black On Today In 1890, Alabama Penny Savings Bank Opened Its Doors With William Pettiford As Its President

1 Posted by - October 15, 2015 - BLACK BUSINESS, BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today

This date in 1890 celebrates the founding of Alabama . It was Alabama’s first bank for Blacks one of the first three for Blacks in America.

Founded by , in 1902, the deposits were $78,124.21; by 1911, they had reached $421,596.51. Much of the bank’s success resulted from his and the directors’ emphasis on homeownership. Records show that the Penny Bank was the leading mortgager to persons buying homes in Smithfield, the most prominent community in Birmingham. In addition, during the bank’s first decade, Pettiford and other officials engineered many real estate transactions that proved highly lucrative for the bank.

In 1913 the Penny Bank constructed its own building on Eighteenth Street in Birmingham’s thriving business district. The five-story building housed other black businesses on its upper floors. Of its 64 rooms, businesses occupied all of them except one, paying a total of $8,000 in rent to the Penny Savings Bank. The building represented a tangible demonstration of the director’s philosophy of self-help and economic solidarity: African Americans cooperating to assist other African Americans.

In 1915 the bank closed and the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias, a Black fraternal organization, bought the building; it is has been known as the Pythian Building since then; on the National Register of Historic Places; 310 18th Street North, Birmingham.

Read more of the original story at http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1828 and http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/alabama-penny-savings-bank-opens

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