On Thursday, August 16, 2018, the Directors of Carver State Bank hosted a luncheon for Joe Brannen, President of the Georgia Bankers Association and David Oliver, GBA Senior Vice President, Member Solutions. The event was held at the bank’s Skidaway Road Branch. The Carver Directors were joined by several officers of the bank and a few community supporters, most of whom had participated in Carver’s comprehensive strategic planning process during September 2015.
The Georgia banking leaders provided an outstanding update on the status of banking in Georgia and the many resources available through GBA for its member banks. Carver is a long-time member of the Association and frequently utilizes its services. According to Carver’s President, Robert E. James, the visit gave the bank’s Directors an opportunity to showcase the outstanding Skidaway Road Branch that they consider one of the more functional and attractive branch facilities owned by a small bank in Georgia.
“We were also able to highlight Carver’s uniqueness and our success,” James continued. There are 227 commercial banks in Georgia and only 2 of these banks are owned by African Americans. Of the approximately 6,000 banks in the United States, only 19 are owned by African Americans.
Carver is one of the older African-American owned institutions. It is by far the oldest bank headquartered in Savannah. Established in 1927, Carver is celebrating its 91st anniversary. The fact that Carver has not only survived, but thrived, during the past 91 years is certainly a remarkable accomplishment. On June 7, 2018, partially as confirmation of the institution’s significance to the progress of the Savannah community, Carver and the Georgia Historical Society unveiled a historical marker in Chatham Square honoring the bank’s founder and first President, Louis B. Toomer. This is the first GHS historical marker honoring an African American in the Historic District of Savannah.
Carver is the only bank headquartered in the Savannah area that has an “Outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act Rating. It is also the only bank in Chatham County that is headquartered in one of the low- income census tracts in our area.
Carver is also one of only two banks in Georgia that are certified by the United States Treasury Department as Community Development Financial Institutions. In 2010, Carver became the only community bank in Georgia to participate in a New Markets Tax Credit transaction, and this year, Carver was awarded a $30 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits that it will use, in conjunction with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs to facilitate economic development in Georgia.
Since 1892, the Georgia Bankers Association has provided Georgia’s banks with top-quality government relations, public advocacy, professional development and revenue-enhancing products and services. As a result of the visit by the GBA leaders, James said that Carver officials will participate in even more programs and activities sponsored by the Association.