|City/Town: • Birmingham|
|Location Class: • Commercial|
|Built: • 1922 | Abandoned: • 2004|
|Status: • Restored|
|Photojournalist: • David Bulit|
Birmingham Trust National Bank was a large bank that operated in Birmingham from 1887 to 1982 when it was rebranded as SouthTrust Bank under a regional holding company. The bank was chartered on December 1887, the sixth bank in the city, as the Birmingham Trust and Savings Company with $500,000 in capital. The bank offices were located in the Elyton Land Company building on 20th Street North and Morris Avenue on June 20, 1888. The first board of directors consisted of Henry Caldwell, founder of the Elyton Land Company as president, Samuel Murphy as vice-president, and M. G. Hudson as a cashier.
Between 1891 and 1901, it leased offices in the Morris Block located on the corner of 19th Street and 1st Avenue North. A banking office was constructed at 112 20th Street North in 1902 and it was rebuilt as a monumental Neoclassical structure in 1922. A 7-story office building was erected behind it in 1964.
The company name was changed to Birmingham Trust National Bank (BTNB) when it secured a national charter in 1946. It opened its first “neighborhood branches” in East Lake, Mountain Brook, and Five Points West in the late 1940s and early 1950s. BTNB was the first financial institution in the nation to introduce what was termed at the time an “automated central information system” in 1971. In 1972, BTNB combined with three other Alabama banks to become the Alabama Financial Group, Inc. which was a holding company for the four banks. In 1974, the holding company changed its name to Southern Bancorporation of Alabama. Through the rest of the 1970s, Southern Bank continued buying other community banks located throughout Alabama. By this time Southern Bank held assets of over $1 billion.
The holding company changed its name once again, this time to SouthTrust Corporation in 1981, and all bank branches were rebranded as SouthTrust Bank in 1982. SouthTrust later merged with Wachovia in 2004. As most of the SouthTrust branches began carrying the Wachovia name, the neoclassical bank building was instead closed down. The bank sat vacant until 2017 when Oak City Church moved into the building.