Carver Bank has served its Harlem community for close to 70 years, and is now the last representative of its era of African-American-founded financial institutions remaining in the city. Over the past three decades, in fact, about 75 percent of all black-owned banks in the country have disappeared, amid calls from prominent individuals and institutions to preserve those that remain for the good of the community.
Carver Bank, hard-hit by the global recession almost a decade ago, has recently begun to regain its traction in the financial world.
The bank got its start in 1948, in an era when few white-run banks would work with African-American customers. Ever since then, its largely Harlem-based branches have strived to offer a full range of banking services to low- and middle-income consumers.
The United States Treasury has named the bank to its list of Community Development Financial Institutions, based on its track record of reaching out to assist economically vulnerable customers and helping to grow the economy in poorly resourced neighborhoods.