BBVA USA’s Racist and Intolerant Beginnings
BBVA USA, then known as Central State Bank, was founded on March 2, 1964 by Schuyler A. Baker, Sr., a staunch segregationist and member of the inner-circle of Alabama Governor George Wallace, a racist and segregationist who declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
Wallace and Baker were so close, that on his very first day as governor in 1963, Wallace borrowed a necktie from Baker after the Governor failed to pack any ties in his move to the Governor’s mansion.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Wallace “the most dangerous racist in America.”
According to a news report from 1991, Harry Brock, the long-time CEO and Chairman of Central Bank, stated, “There wouldn’t have been a Central Bank without Schuyler Baker. He was a lawyer with good connections with Gov. (George) Wallace, and he had a promise for a bank charter…”
A promise from one segregationist to another: a bank charter.
As an attorney, BBVA’s founding father also fought racial integration on behalf of Wallace. Baker challenged the Kennedy Administration in court in an attempt to block African-Americans from attending the University of Alabama.
Wallace and BBVA’s founder lost, but Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door on June 11, 1963 in a symbolic demonstration against African-Americans and the Civil Rights Movement.