On Saturday, February 11, 2012, Carver State Bank held a reception in the ballroom of the Savannah Civic Center to kick off its 85th anniversary celebration. Chartered February 23, 1927, Carver State Bank is the oldest bank headquartered in Savannah.
The special guest and speaker for the reception was The Honorable Michael A. Grant, President of the National Bankers Association (NBA). Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NBA is the trade organization that represents the minorityowned banks in America. Grant is also President of the National Bankers Association Foundation and board secretary for the Minbanc Scholarship Fund for minority banks.
During his dynamic address, Grant commended the Carver State Bank family on reaching this milestone. He highlighted the achievements of the bank’s president, Robert E. James, who has led the bank for the past 40 years. Attorney Robert E. James, II served as Master of Ceremony for the event. Music was provided by Spencer White, III and the invocation was offered by the Reverend Clarence “Teddy” Williams. Carver Assistant Vice President Sherrie Williams presented “the occasion.”
In addition to Grant’s address, the guests enjoyed excerpts from a video being prepared by graphic artist Bennett Wyche of XL Interactive on Carver State Bank and its unique history. Using the theme, “85 years of service, leadership and success,” the directors and staff of Carver State Bank plan to celebrate the bank’s legacy through several activities throughout 2012 aimed at helping our community understand and appreciate the challenges and accomplishments of the bank. “We also hope to use our past and our unique existence to highlight the importance of African Americanowned businesses to the past, present and the future of our city, state and nation,” according to Williams.
Carver State Bank was known as the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation. The original corporation served as a private bank as well as a real estate investment and management company for its founder, Louis B. Toomer, his friends and many of his contemporaries. On April 29, 1947, the corporate charter of Carver State Bank President Robert E. James Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation was amended and the private bank was converted to a state bank under the supervision of the Georgia Department of Banking. At that time, the name was changed to The Carver Savings Bank.
The Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation and The Carver Savings Bank resulted directly from the industrious efforts of the bank’s founder and first President, Louis Burke Toomer. Toomer remained President of the bank until his death in May 1961. After his death, Lawrence D. Perry was elected the second President. Mr. Perry had served as cashier from the date the bank began operation.
The Board of Directors selected Robert E. James to succeed Perry as President and Chief Executive Officer and James has been President of Caver State Bank for the past 40 years. He is now the longest serving African American Bank President in America. “We also believe that he is the longest serving bank President, regardless of race, in the state of Georgia, and possibly the nation,” stated Williams during her presentation. After closing remarks by President James, the closing prayer was offered by Rev. S. E. Kenty, Pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church and First Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.
Carver is currently one of only 28 African- American-owned commercial banks in the United States.