A man credited with many of the firsts in Birmingham, was also the founder of the first bank in Birmingham. Almeron Whitehead co-founded the Exchange Bank of Whitehead and Mitchell as a result of owning the first safe in town. Originally located in a corner of their general store, a building was erected right next door to serve as the bank.
In 1910, a new banking law required private banks to have either a State or National Charter. The private Exchange Bank of Whitehead and Mitchell selected the National route and became The First National Bank of Birmingham organized on September 7, 1910 under the National Currency Act of 1863.
The First National Bank of Birmingham erected a new building in the early 1920's where the National Hotel once stood at 176 North Woodward. The Bank met its demise as a result of the Great Depression. As a protective measure on February 14, 1933, Michigan’s Governor William A. Comstock ordered all Michigan banks to close in an attempt to thwart a run on the banks. This order was followed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National “Bank Holiday” on March 5, 1933. The Bank was not to recover and went into receivership. Depositors lost most of their money.
On June 15, 1933, The Birmingham National Bank was chartered and it prospered over the next 23 years as the Detroit suburbs grew in population. It was located in the exact same building as its predecessor with a new sign placed over the etched facade of The First National Bank of Birmingham. On June 11, 1956, the Birmingham National Bank was approved for consolidation into the newly formed Detroit Bank & Trust. This newly formed bank had over a billion dollars in deposits and made Detroit the third city in the Nation (along with New York and Chicago) to have two or more billion dollar banks. The four banks that comprised the merger were; the Detroit Bank, Detroit Wabeek Bank and Trust Company, Ferndale National Bank, and the Birmingham National Bank.
Detroit Bank & Trust has become known as Comerica and has merged with Manufacturers National Bank. The bank in Birmingham resides in the exact location as it has since the early 1920's. Gone is the triumphant architecture of yesteryear, but the Birmingham Bank’s legacy still continues.
1886 - Founded, Exchange Bank of Whitehead and Mitchell and survived until 1910.
September 7, 1910 - Organized from the Exchange Bank, The First National Bank of Birmingham was born.
December 28, 1931 - The First National Bank of Birmingham assumed the Birmingham Savings Bank.
June 15, 1933 - Chartered, The Birmingham National Bank.
October 14, 1933 - Receivership, The First National Bank of Birmingham (the doors were closed several months earlier).
June 11, 1956 - Merged, The Birmingham National Bank was approved for consolidation into Detroit Bank & Trust.
Proprietors, Exchange Bank
1886-1910 - Almeron Whitehead
1886-1910 - George H. Mitchell
President, FNB of Birmingham
1910-1926 - Almeron Whitehead
1926-1930 - T.R. Donovan
1930-1933 - Elmer C. Huston
President, Birmingham NB
1933-1935 - Fred Johnson
1935-19?? - Charles E. James
19??-1956 - Herbert Gardner