Freedmen’s Bank Chartered Timelines: The Catto Years

The Freedmen’s Bank is chartered by the federal government as a private corporation. By 1866, the bank had established 19 branches in 12 states. The Philadelphia office, operated by William Whipper, became one of the most successful operations. It attracted a large number of societies, churches, charities, other private organizations and individuals, who opened accounts and established trusts with the company. O.V. Catto is listed as the 6th person to open an account at the Philadelphia office. The bank served as both an important symbol of black self-determination and a means for the black community to build economic wealth through savings, particularly in the South following the economic devastation of the Civil War and the poor economic condition of the formerly enslaved.