Carver State Bank is a unique financial institution for our community, state and nation. Carver is by far the oldest FDIC-insured commercial bank in Savannah. The bank is the only Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution headquartered in Savannah, and last week was notified that it has again been certified as a participant in the federal Minority Bank Deposit Program (MBDP) for the year 2011.
Carver State Bank was established under the laws of the State of Georgia on February 23, 1927, and was then known as the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation. The original corporation served as a real estate investment and management company, as well as a private bank for its founder, Louis B. Toomer, his friends and many of Toomer’s contemporaries in Savannah. During 2011, the bank will celebrate it 84th anniversary.
Louis B. Toomer remained President of the bank until his death in May 1961. As anticipated, Lawrence D. Perry was named President following Toomer’s death.
On December 1, 1971, Perry retired from active management, and the Board of Directors selected Robert E. James to succeed Perry as President and Chief Executive Officer. James holds the distinction of being the African- American with the longest tenure of service as President of a commercial bank in America. Since he assumed the Presidency, the Bank’s assets have increased from $4.6 million to approximately $45 million and total capital has increased from $290,000 to about $3.2 million.
Carver State Bank completed a new, ultra modern main office building at 701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard during February 1975. After almost 35 years of providing banking services from this beautiful, 7,500 square feet main office building, the Director agreed to sell the facility so that the site could be cleared to make way for an exciting new development. Because of the participation of the adjoining property owner, St. Philip A.M.E. Church, a new office for the bank and a full service Food Lion grocery store will soon become part of the area’s landscape. During the construction process, Carver is operating it main office at a temporary banking facility next door to the construction site and at the rear of St. Philip A.M. E. Church. This temporary facility is only a few yards from the site of the old building. The bank’s mailing address and telephone numbers have not changed.
The new development could have a major impact on the uplift and long-term viability of the surrounding neighborhoods by stimulating additional commercial development. By taking the lead on bringing this new project to the community, Carver has again reinforced it position as the premier community-oriented financial institution in South Georgia. The bank has enjoyed a tremendous heritage as an innovative financial service leader. Carver has maintained an “Outstanding” Community Reinvestment rating for many years. On December 11, 2007, Carver opened a 4,000 square feet branch bank at the corner of Eisenhower Drive and Skidaway Road.
Carver has progressed due to the commitment, participation and cooperation of an astute blend of influential businesspersons, professionals and community leaders who have served as members of the Bank’s Board of Directors. Over the years, the Carver Directors have been able to successfully respond to numerous challenges, including many changes in its competitive environment.
Carver has had tremendous success attracting dedicated and talented staff members. During James’ tenure as President, two of Carver’s former officers have been named presidents of other banks. This is a remarkable accomplishment for the Carver family, since there are only about 34 banks headed by African- Americans in the country. Carver’s current staff members are highly skilled, experienced and versatile. They have attended many of the better banking schools in the nation.
Carver has been an accessible source of credit for many for the past 84 years. The bank provides a broad selection of high quality, extremely competitive financial products to all individuals, businesses and institutions in the Savannah area. Additionally, the bank’s Directors and officers provide leadership and support for many deserving community organizations.