Clio Logo

The American Mutual Savings Bank was an African American owned bank that was open from February 18, 1922 until May 1931. During its success years, the American Mutual Savings Bank obtained over 5,000 accounts, had over $300,000 in assets, assisted businesses in accounting services, gave loans to African American churches in the area, and allowed for hundreds of families to become homeowners through their services.


  • Shown is 608 W Walnut St (now Muhammad Ali Blvd), Louisville, Kentucky. The building in the center is the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company (also owned by William H. Wright) with the American Mutual Savings Bank to the right.

The American Mutual Savings Bank, located on 608 W Walnut St. (now known as W Muhammad Ali Blvd.) in Louisville, KY was opened on February 18, 1922. The American Mutual Savings Bank stood out among other early twentieth century banks for its founder, William H. Wright, an African American business man who also owned Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, providing financial services for the African American community in Louisville. The American Mutual Savings Bank, in addition to savings accounts, provided accounting services to small businesses and home loans to clients, encouraging those in the community to build their own homes with the help of Samuel Plato, the man who designed and built the American Mutual Savings Bank building. The bank also opened up more than 5,000 accounts during its short tenure, many of whom were African American and had never used a bank before, giving financial advice, banking experience, and the possibility to create a savings account.

Unfortunately, once the Great Depression hit in 1929, the American Mutual Savings Bank struggled to stay open after seven years of business. To stay afloat, William Wright joined with the First Standard Bank, also owned by an African American man, closing both banks in November 1930 to consolidate the two into the Mutual Standard Bank, which reopened in the spring of 1931. However, the lack of confidence in banks and the hurt from the Great Depression ruined the reputation and business of banking, and the Mutual Standard Bank was forced to close in May 1931.

Though the bank lasted for less than a decade, the American Mutual Savings Bank was an inspiration for many in the African American community in Louisville, Kentucky. With the motto, “The bank of personal service,” the American Mutual Savings Bank aimed at helping African Americans in the area to gain banking experience, build homes, and have assistance to create and manage their own businesses. Furthermore, the great success the American Mutual Savings Bank had before the Great Depression made many in the community proud as it served many customers, had over $300,000 in assets, allowed hundreds of families to become homeowners, and provided loans for the building or remodeling of African American churches in Louisville during the years the American Mutual Savings Bank was open.

For further reading on the American Mutual Savings Bank, please see the following articles and books.

Articles from the Louisville Leader newspaper: “American Mutual Savings Bank Open to the Public,” February 25, 1922. “The American Mutual Savings Bank in Thrift Campaign,” May 13, 1922. “Negro Bank Receives Excellent Rating,” September 22, 1922. “American Mutual Savings Bank a $300,000 Mark,” March 24, 1923. “Mutual Bank on Top,” May 3, 1923. “Mutual Savings Bank Announces Program; National President Writes,” February 28, 1931. “Officers and Directors Close the Mutual Savings Bank,” May 9, 1931.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia edited by Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin, pg. 19.

Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville Kentucky, 1865-1930 by George C. Wright, pg. 226.


Various articles from the Louisville Leader have primary information of the American Mutual Savings Bank, listed above. 

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia edited by Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin, pg. 19.