Citizen Trust Bank History – Your LEGACY, STRENGTH, FUTURE – Celebrating 90 Years of Success


Heman E. Perry

IIn 1919, five men envisioned a bank which would primarily serve African American citizens of Atlanta. Lead by businessman Heman E. Perry, James A. Robinson, Thomas J. Ferguson, W. H. King and H. C. Dugas pooled their talent and resources to develop African American owned and operated Bank. They would later be called, “the fervent five.” On August 16, 1921, the doors of Citizens Trust Company were opened on Sweet Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, with $500,000 in capital stock.

Heman Perry was no stranger to business. He founded Standard Life Insurance Company in 1909 which became the largest African American Insurance in America by 1921. He later organized a Holding Company called the Service Company and several subsidiaries – Service Pharmacies, Service Laundry, Service Printing, and Service Realty and Development Company.



1921 - Citizens Trust Company building

1968 Community Leaders embrace the plan to expand


The goals of the new bank were three fold: to promote financial stability and business development; to stress the principles of thrift; and to make home ownership possible to a larger number of people. While many banks closed during The Great Depression of the 20s and 30s, Citizens Trust Company survived and continued its mission and partnership with the communities it serves. The bank financed the Morris Brown subdivision and homes in Mozley Park, Bankhead and Hightower Road communities. In 1969 under the leadership of its president, L. D. Milton, Citizens Trust Bank built its new 12 story Atlanta headquarters at 75 Piedmont Avenue.

As the bank continued to prosper it earned a solid reputation in the community. The historic merger with First Southern Bank, another strong African American-owned bank, in the late 1990s became the catalyst which ignited Citizens Trust Bank’s recognition both locally and in national banking circuits. The merger itself marked a first of its time. In 1998 Citizens Trust Bank became one of the nation’s largest predominately African American-owned commercial banks.


Moving into the new millennium Citizens Trust Bank and Citizens Federal Savings Bank of Birmingham, Alabama approached another historical union. Citizens Federal as a savings and loan financial institution was founded by the legendary black Alabama businessman A.G. Gaston in 1957. For years the savings and loan bank endured many challenges trying to compete successfully with the growing competition from other institutions. Through careful negotiation and solid wisdom of its leaders, a change in ownership was forecasted. The final agreement allowed Citizen Trust Bank to acquire Citizens Federal’s holding company, CFS Bancshares, Inc. This union represented another first, the acquisition by Citizens Trust Bank of a bank in another state.  On February 28, 2003 Citizens Federal Savings Bank of Birmingham Alabama, became Citizens Trust Bank.



Cynthia N. Day,
President, CEO

Today, under the leadership of its current president, Cynthia N. Day, Citizens Trust Bank is a leader in the financial services industry and one of the largest minority-owned financial institutions in the nation, offering a full range of quality business and consumer products and services including Small Business Association (SBA) financed loans, residential mortgage lending, and consumer and business online banking products with eleven financial centers in Metro Atlanta, Columbus, Georgia and in Birmingham and Eutaw, Alabama.

Celebrating over 90 years of success - Citizens Trust Bank continues to champion our commitment to offer our customers viable banking solutions with first-class customer service to meet their growing business needs. Commitment transcends to the new generation of banking. Delivering on that promise, we continue to build on the legacy that has been established and position Citizens Trust Bank to become a household brand for an entire community.