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The Banking Industry in South Carolina


Welcome to the South Carolina Political Collections' Subject Guide: The Banking Industry in South Carolina. Please use the tabs above and boxes below to find useful resources. If you have any questions or comments about this guide please let us know.

"The economic development and wellbeing of South Carolina depends on our commercial banks to provide needed capital to both individuals and business so they can grow and be successful." – Lloyd Hendricks, 2017

Banks facilitate the lending and borrowing of money, allowing the state, businesses, and individuals to pursue innovative projects, achieve goals, and provide general necessities. South Carolina's banking industry has a rich history which touches every sector and citizen in the Palmetto State.

A Brief History of Banking in South Carolina

  • Pre-1776: Banking operated on a simple system with local merchants extending credit to customers. 
  • 1800-1865: The first formal banks moved into South Carolina. Both banks and private companies issued their own paper currency. If they failed, the worthless money became “broken bank notes." 
  • 1812:  The Bank of the State of South Carolina was chartered and opened branches across the state—a new model. 
  • 1900: Congress passed the Currency Act to lower the minimum capital needed to establish a national bank. South Carolina, eager to expand its banking industry, opened 66 new national banks between 1909 and 1920.
  • 1901: The South Carolina Bankers Association (SCBA) was chartered "to promote the general welfare and usefulness of banks and banking institutions, and to secure uniformity of action, together with the practical benefits to be derived from personal acquaintance and from the discussion of subjects important to the banking and commercial interests of the State.”
  • 1910: SCBA was recognized as having the highest percentage of membership for a state bankers association in the nation.
  • 1906: Lee G. Holleman was sworn in as South Carolina’s first state bank examiner.
  • 1907: The Panic of 1907 ensued after a fall in value of the New York Stock Exchange. People panicked and tried to withdraw funds causing many state banks across the country to close. South Carolina's new SCBA met to discuss the panic’s causes and remedies, and the state remained relatively immune from the worst effects.
  • 1910-1920: Boll Weevil infestations destroyed 70% of South Carolina's cotton crops. Some local banks offered loans to allow farmers to quickly buy poison to try to save their produce and income.
  • 1914-1918: During World War I, South Carolinians subscribed to more than $120,000,000 in Liberty and Victory bonds dispensed through the banks.
  • 1921: Modjeska Monteith Simkins helped found the Victory Savings Bank (VSB), the first African American owned bank in South Carolina. Now the SC Community Bank, it remains one of the oldest African American owned banks in the country.
  • 1930-1933: The Great Depression devastated South Carolina’s agrarian economy. As crop prices fell, unemployment increased and many people moved away from rural areas in search of work. Loans that had originated in the booming 1920s, and were backed by anticipated cotton and tobacco profits, fell through.
  • 1933: The Banking Act and creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) helped restore people's trust in the banking industry on a national level. All South Carolina banks that applied for FDIC admission were admitted. 
  • 1955: In the 1950s, South Carolina continued to struggle with race relations. Following an appeal in Jet magazine, Modjeska Simkins used charitable contributions deposited with the Victory Savings Bank to relieve victims of economic discrimination.
  • 1977: South Carolina's first ATM was opened by Citizens & Southern National Bank at Columbia's Richland Mall.
  • 1977-1987: Lloyd Hendricks served in the South Carolina House of Representatives. His relationships with the South Carolina delegation made him an attractive candidate for leadership of the SCBA.
  • 1986-2012: Hendricks served as the Executive Vice President and President & CEO of the SCBA.
  • ‚Äč1984: The Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida passed legislation to allow interstate banking. South Carolina’s successful banking industry made it an attractive location for expansion. Though interstate banks could offer expanded services, the banking industry was moving away from the intimate, local, and familiar dealings of its past.
  • 1997: Hendricks was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Governor David Beasley for his "dedication and years of service to the State of South Carolina, his community, and the banking industry."

Getting Started

If you're looking for an easy place begin your research, these collections have the most information about South Carolina's banking industry.

Contains material relating to Hendricks' role as President of the South Carolina Bankers Association (SCBA).

Check out the historical marker.

The exhibit

Banking on South Carolina: Cash, Credit, and Community was on exhibit in the Hollings Library, November-December 2018.