By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
The District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) named Industrial Bank its December 2018 Location of the Month.
“We’re very excited,” said Melanee Woodard, Assistant Vice President of Industrial Bank. “We just finished our first major renovation on the building. That’s our flagship bank.”
In 2016 the bank went through its first major renovation at the U Street branch. Adding to the aesthetics of the building was a cafe style look, with a seating area for customers.
“Now you can come in, sit down, have a complimentary coffee, talk with our team and experience all that comes with our service.”
The historic look and feel of the U Street location with a 1930s era vault and bank clock made the building an idealistic choice for filming, according the OCTFME’s press release.
Industrial Bank opened in 1934 by Jesse H. Mitchell, a Howard University Law School graduate. The bank was started to provide a need for people in the community.
“Our bank was started in the Great Depression,” Woodard said. “At that time they would take our deposits but they wouldn’t provide loans so you didn’t have access to the American Dream of home ownership so they started the bank for that reason.”
Since that time Industrial Bank has been a beacon of light for communities seeking financial literacy and information. Some of the recent services include a financial training with the D.C. Department of Corrections, and many new homeownership seminars.
Giving back to the community has alway been important to Industrial Bank.
“We are CDFI certified and with that certification we invest 60% of our assets back into the community,” Woodard said.
Community Development Financial Institution Certification (CDFI) is a designation for institutions that service vulnerable communities and people who don’t have access to financing, according to the CDFI Fund.
Next year Industrial Bank will be celebrating 85 years, according to Woodard, but the mission of service stays the same.
“We are down to like 19 Black banks in the country,” Woodard said, adding that along with the customer service Industrial Bank still offers the same products and services that all banks provide. “Through it all we’ve been here. Through the depression, through the riots, the building of the subway system. A lot of businesses had to close down during those periods.
“So here we are 85 years later still servicing that mission.”
The “Location of The Month” Initiative is part of OCTFME’s mission to promote D.C. locales as media production location and bring wider attention to the potential cinematic location for film and television productions.