NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The oldest Black-owned bank in our country can be found in Nashville, Tennessee.
Citizens Savings Bank and Trust was founded in 1904, known as Once Cent Savings Bank.
Three African American men dreamed of helping others build wealth and economic security. That dream lead R.H. Boyd, Preston Taylor, and J.C. Napier to opening the bank on January 16, 1904.
That was a time after the Civil War Reconstruction, when racial relations were still divided.
“They were the only ones they took that first step we were the only options,” said Corey Hammonds, Chief Operating Credit Officer for the bank.
He gave News 2’s Kenley Hargett some insight about the founders.
“The mission in what these principal founders started, we are still doing the same thing,” he said. “It has to be because of us, it has to be by us, it has be for us, what we are doing today is we’re just trying to take that to the next step.”
Creating financial legacies for African Americans through their bank is still happening today.
Hammonds said many Black churches and families have relied on them for banking, since they’re not allowed to use other commercial banks.
Among the legacies helped are Reverend Tonia Keys, her family and church — Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist.
“It was very important. I remember my parents, my uncles, aunts that was the bank they used. As a matter of fact, several of my family members still bank there today because like you said it was the only bank we could put our money,” Keys said.
Keys said the bank helped other reverends of the church make strides for African Americans throughout Nashville.
“It has been a very good working relationship, as I said, they have been our bank we have known many of the persons who worked there we had personal relationships with them to where we can call them if we need them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Hammonds believes there is a lot more work to be done to improve financial literacy and bring a more diverse workforce to the banking industry.
He said that is achievable as long as the same view of progression the founders had more than a hundred years ago continues.
“The educational component it’s the stigmatism from it, what people have to understand is, where you put your money that is what you support, so when you put your money in an African-American owned bank, you’re supporting the African-American community,” said Hammonds.
Citizens Savings Bank and Trust has a historical marker right outside their main branch location on Jefferson Street. It stands as a reminder of the strides the bank has made in their industry.