Materials documenting the history of the Bank of Finance in South Los Angeles, the first African American-owned, operated,
and state-chartered commercial bank, founded in 1964. The collection primarily includes photographic materials, yet contains
an ample amount of printed materials, old leases, canceled stock certificates, and ephemera.
The Bank of Finance was the first state-chartered, Black-owned and operated commercial bank in Los Angeles, California. It
opened its doors on November 16, 1964, at 2651 South Western Avenue. The bank was established by real estate broker Onie B.
Granville; former Los Angeles City Councilman and Mayor Tom Bradley; Drs. Perry Beal and Edward Ballard; real estate broker
Lorenzo Spencer; and Wilton A. Clark, owner of the Clark Furniture Company. The team, along with Granville's sister, Bernice
Malbrue, served on the first Board of Directors. The impetus behind the bank's formation was to bypass discriminatory housing
and lending practices faced by African Americans within the Los Angeles community. It also functioned as a full-service commercial
banking institution that offered business and personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and letters of credit. Following
the Watts Riots of 1965, the bank aided in the rebuilding of Los Angeles' inner city. In 1981 the bank transferred most of
its shares to outside investors, changed its name to West Olympia Bank, and cut ties with the African American community.
2 Linear Feet
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