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Peter F. Hurst, Jr.

Peter Frederick Hurst, Jr., founder and chief executive officer of the Community’s Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was born on October 29, 1955, in Houston, Texas. Raised in the Third Ward of Houston by parents Peter and Ophelia Hurst, Sr., Hurst was an Eagle Scout at the Wheel Ave. Baptist Church. Attending E.L. Blackshear Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Junior High School, Hurst graduated from Mirabeau Lamar High School in 1974 as a member of the National Honor Society. Hurst earned his A.B. degree in accounting, magna cum laude, from Duke University in 1978, and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1981.

Hurst clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1981, and a year later he joined the Steptoe and Johnson Law Firm in Washington, D.C. From 1984 to 1986, Hurst served in the General Counsel’s Office of the Federal Reserve Bank. Moving to New York City, Hurst worked as an investment banker with E.F. Hutton, and in 1987, became senior vice president with Dean Witter. Going into business for himself in 1990, Hurst worked with smaller clients through Bahia Partners and Hurst Capital Partners. In 2001 Hurst created the Community’s Bank, opening branches in the Connecticut cities of Hartford, Bridgeport, and Bloomfield. As founder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president of the Urban Financial Group, the company which controls Community’s Bank, Hurst runs the only independent, minority owned bank in Connecticut.

Hurst has served on the boards of the Republic New York Corporation; the Bridgeport Area Foundation; the Community Service Society of New York; Boy Scouts of America (Bronx Council); the University of Scranton; and the United American Healthcare Corporation. Hurst was honored in 2003 by the African American Affairs Commission of Connecticut, and in 2004 became the first African American to serve as grandmaster of the Phineas T. Barnum Parade and Festival in Bridgeport.

Accession Number

A2005.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/15/2005

Last Name

Hurst

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Schools

Harvard Law School

Sidney Lanier Junior High School

Blackshear Elementary School

Lamar High School

Lanier Middle School

Duke School

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

HUR01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Often Wrong, but Never in Doubt.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/29/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hartford

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Bank executive Peter F. Hurst, Jr. (1955 - ) was the founder and chief executive officer of the Urban Financial Group, which controls the Community’s Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Employment

Steptoe & Johnson

Federal Reserve Board

E .F. Hutton

Dean Witter

Bahia Partners

Hurst Capitol Partners

Community's Bank

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peter F. Hurst, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his paternal family background and his parents meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and his resemblance to them

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about being adopted

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his formative reading experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about attending Blackshear Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Junior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about playing the trumpet in school and at church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about the band at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities at Mirabeau Lamar High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his involvement in the Boy Scouts of America

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls his high school academics and his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. explains his decision to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his activities at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. explains his initial plan to pursue an accounting career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. remembers his experience at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about overcoming a financial hurdle in order to graduate law school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects on what he learned as a law clerk for HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. tells a story of HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith in the courtroom

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. remembers attending the NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner with HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes working for Steptoe and Johnson LLP and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recounts switching from a law career to investment banking in 1986

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls the trajectory for founding Hurst Capitol Partners Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the process of starting The Community's Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects on the development of The Community's Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the diverse clientele and staff at The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about The Community's Bank involvement in community development

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his civic involvement as leader of The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about the future of The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. shares two stories of the The Community's Bank assisting its customers

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his mother witnessing his success

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

10$2

DATitle
Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about The Community's Bank involvement in community development
Peter F. Hurst, Jr. tells a story of HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith in the courtroom
Transcript
What significant projects has the bank [The Community's Bank, Bridgeport, Connecticut] supported, you know, in the community, would you--?$$Well two things. Let me describe--we're designated, when I say we both the bank and our holding company. Our holding company is called the Urban Financial Group. We're designated by the U. S. treasury department [U.S. Department of the Treasury] as a community development financial institution. Which means that both the bank and the holding company have, as our primary missions, community development. Which doesn't mean we're doing bad loans it just means the kind of you know market Bridgeport [Connecticut] is and the kind of things we're doing as a bank will by definition improve this community. Because we're focusing on you know residential real estate loans which you know enhances and supports homeownership. We're focused on doing commercial loans which enhances and supports entrepreneurship. So, you know, because we're a community development financial institution a lot of our lending activities qualify for something that the treasury department has called a bank enterprise award. Where it's, it's almost like a Discover Card you get cash back for lending that you've done in certain markets. So based on our lending activities in Bridgeport, Hartford [Connecticut] and New Haven [Connecticut] respectively, you know, we got an award earlier in our fiscal year, our fiscal year starts July first and ends June 30. So October we got a bank enterprise award of over $300,000. So, you know that's an example of, you know, something that, you know, the bank directly does in, in fulfilling its mission of lending that's had a positive impact. We also support a lot of causes and, you know, like I'm active on a lot of local boards of directors. And the bank is, you know, supported things like there's an organization in town called The Music and Arts Center for Humanities [sic. The Music and Arts Center for Humanity, Bridgeport, Connecticut] and every year they have a show put on by the Ailey II traveling production. And we support that by buying tickets for kids in Bridgeport schools to go to that performance. Because the theory is, is that, you know, a significance cultural event, the kids wouldn't have the money to go otherwise and, and you know we want to support that. I've done things like they, they have a read aloud day and I go, you know if not every month, every other month to a school here in town that's on the, you know, one of the poorer sections of town call the Newfield School [Bridgeport, Connecticut] and I read to a group of first grades. And I actually went you know last Thursday and read a Langston Hughes book, you know signif--you know in significance of, you know, Black History Month.$Can you remember the cases you all were working on when you were clerking there?$$Yep, a lot of, you know, significant cases that we worked on. But I guess one of the most significant things I saw during that year, the Sixth Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit] sits in Cincinnati, Ohio, so like every six weeks or so we would, you know, you know go down to Cincinnati, and have like three days of hearings. And I'll never forget there was a social security appeal, a lot of cases you never write opinions on, they, they just, the lower court decision gets aform- affirmed on order. But there was a, it was a social security appeal where a woman had applied for social security benefits, had been denied and, you know, she had appealed that denial. And you know so they would always send, you know, a lawyer from the social security to represent the government. And I'll never forgot this, you know, the lawyer was making his argument and [HistoryMaker] Judge [Damon J.] Keith leans over smiles and said, "Excuse me sir, but I just have one question for you, does ice water run through your veins?" And the lawyer just said, "No judge, I don't want to appeal this case I agree with the woman's position but they're their making me do this." And I just thought that was the most amazing thing. That, you know, he didn't brow beat the guy, didn't say it in a nasty way he just said it very you know succinctly, very matter of fact and the guy just cracked (laughter). So I mean we, we dealt with a lot of very important cases during my year with the judge, but that one incident, you know, stands out in my memory, as to you know what the Judge was all about you know. And, and how he did things because he essentially in open court you know with a stenographer present got a lawyer to just throw away his whole position (laughter) with a simple question, so.$$That's quite a story though--$$Yeah.$$--that's a--yeah. That's a story you'd have to hear from somebody else other than Judge Keith about his--$$Right.$$Yeah.