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On this date in 1909, Mechanics and Farmers Bank in Durham, N. C., opened for business. It is an African American savings and loan institution.
As a state-chartered commercial bank, M&FB was organized in 1907 under a charter issued by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina. The original incorporaters were a group of nine businessmen: R. B. Fitzgerald, J. S. Dodson, J. R. Hawkins, John Merrick, Aaron M. Moore, W. G. Pearson, James E. Shepard, G. W. Stephens, and Stanford L. Warren.
The first building, located at 112 West Parrish Street, was rented from North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Since 1922, the main office of the bank has been located at 114-116 West Parrish Street. This space was also rented from North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company until 1965 when the Bank purchased the building.
Throughout M&FB’s existence, Dr. George Adams was cashier and the principal employee until his death in 1918. In 1921, Mechanics and Farmers Bank and the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company, a bank that was also operated by Blacks, merged and operated from downtown Durham.
Mechanics and Farmers Bank is the first lending institution in North Carolina to receive a Certificate of Authority from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1935. In recent years, M&FB has become the pioneer in stimulating and financing the construction of low-income housing in North Carolina.
The bank traditionally has been a dominant force in stimulating Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina as well. In 1987, Black Enterprise Magazine chose M&FB as “Bank of the Year.” Mechanics and Farmers Bank now has approximately 75 employees in its eight offices. In 1999 the banks shareholders agreed to incorporate M&F Bancorp, Inc. to act as a holding company. Mechanics and Farmers Bank subsequently became its subsidiary. The company suffered its first annual net financial loss in its history in 2016.