Berney National Bank

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Berney National Bank in 1887

The Berney National Bank of Birmingham was founded as the Central Bank of Birmingham on March 26, 1885 by William Berney, the second president of the National Bank of Birmingham and a protege of Charles Linn. Other initial investors included Robert Jemison Sr, L. D. Aylett, Joseph McLester, and Truman H. Aldrich. The initial capital was $50,000.

An ornate building was constructed for the bank on half of a lot owned by Berney at 1923 1st Avenue North. It was the first building erected on the block. The other half-lot was sold, and with its appreciation in value, more than paid for Berney's original property investment.

Central Bank was reorganized nine months after its founding as the Berney National Bank of Birmingham with $800,000 in capital stock. A separate Berney Bank of Bessemer was opened by William and his brother Chollet in 1887. In 1901, the Berney National Bank was absorbed by the with First National Bank of Birmingham.

The bank's vice president was Henry Badham Sr. W. P. G. Harding served as assistant cashier from 1886 to 1894, when he was promoted to cashier.

The former Central Bank building housed the American Trust & Savings Bank in 1903.

A check drawn on the Berney National Bank in 1888 and signed by William Berney


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  • Kilpatrick, Andrew (1996) A Legacy of Leadership: A History of AmSouth Bank. Birmingham. AmSouth Bank.
  • Blake, Thomas Harry (1972) Birmingham Since 1885. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society.
  • Satterfield, Carolyn Green (1976) "Historic Sites of Jefferson County, Alabama" Jefferson County Historical Commission