Banking: Relating to the Community

Harlem is hardly an affluent neighborhood. Yet some 232,000 people live there, making it more than worthwhile for five of New York's biggest banks to maintain branches around 125th Street, Harlem's main stem. They are Chase Manhattan (assets, $15.3 billion), First National City ($13.9 billion), Manufacturers Hanover ($7.6 billion), Chemical ($6.9 billion) and Bankers Trust ($5.1 billion). Dwarfed by these is the Freedom National Bank, which had, as of the close of last week's banking hours, precisely $9,605,878.07 in assets. Yet for all its relative puniness, Freedom National is growing fast, and it celebrates its first birthday this week...