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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 incorporators 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, 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 the cashier and the principal employee until he died in 1918. In 1921, Mechanics and Farmers Bank and the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company, a bank 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 has traditionally been a dominant force in stimulating Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina. In 1987, Black Enterprise Magazine chose M&FB as “Bank of the Year.” Mechanics and Farmers Bank now have approximately 75 employees in its eight offices. In 1999 the bank's shareholders agreed to incorporate M&F Bancorp, Inc. as a holding company. Mechanics and Farmers Bank subsequently became its subsidiary. The company suffered its first annual net financial loss in 2016.