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Alden J. McDonald, Jr.

Prominent African American businessman Alden Joseph McDonald, Jr. was born on September 16, 1943, in New Orleans, Louisiana. McDonald attended Louisiana State University’s School of Banking and received his undergraduate degree. McDonald also joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and later attended Columbia University’s Commercial Banking Management Program.

McDonald began his banking career at International City Bank in New Orleans. In 1972, he became the President and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust company, a position that he still holds today. Since 1972, McDonald has been an active force in the New Orleans business community. In 1987, he played a central role in the establishment of the Black Economic Development Council helping many minority businesses to secure public and private contracts for goods and services. Furthermore, he has served on almost all well known professional and social boards in the New Orleans region. As both a business leader and a community leader, he has devoted his life to community development through promoting entrepreneurship, supporting civic organizations and empowering businesses and individuals. Moreover, under his leadership, Liberty Bank and Trust’s successes helped black professionals and others settle east New Orleans and established a large African American homeownership class for the first time in the city’s history.

In 2001, McDonald received the prestigious Loving Cup from New Orleans’ major newspaper, The Times-Picayune. This award is considered the highest honor in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area. He then became the chairman of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. McDonald became the co-chair of the Greater New Orleans Education Foundation. In 2004, he became the first chairman for Greater New Orleans, Inc., established for the economic development of the New Orleans region.

In 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, McDonald led efforts toward the economic rehabilitation of New Orleans as well as his own, Liberty Bank and Trust. Katrina devastated Liberty’s headquarters, branches and spread the bank’s customers throughout the nation. Despite these obstacles, he moved back into his community to concentrate his efforts toward the economic rehabilitation of New Orleans. McDonald enacted creative policy decisions for his bank and opened new branches that helped overturn the economic downturn of the New Orleans economy, thus cutting his bank’s estimated losses dramatically.

McDonald’s Liberty Bank and Trust is one of the five largest African American owned financial institutions in the United States. The bank serves as the fiscal agent for the City of New Orleans, substantially improving the City’s cash flow and cash management practices. Furthermore, McDonald opened the Liberty Freedom Fund, the first and only mutual fund to be owned, managed and distributed by African Americans. Since its incorporation in 1972, McDonald has grown Liberty’s assets from $2 million to over $370 million.

In 2006, McDonald was named to Fortune Magazine’s highly regarded “Portraits of Power” list for 2006, extolling him for his powerful presence in the business community and his impact on the global market. He was also named to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, concentrating on the expansion of access to banking services for underserved populations. In 2008, he became a Fleur-de-lis Ambassador for New Orleans, a group of New Orleans professionals that travel across America to seek additional Katrina recovery support from businesses and philanthropic organizations.

Accession Number

A2008.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/25/2008

Last Name

McDonald

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Schools

Martinez Kindergarten School

Epiphany Catholic School

Valena C. Jones Elementary School

Rivers Frederick Junior High School

Xavier University Preparatory School

Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

Straight Business School

Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University

Columbia University

First Name

Alden

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

MCD05

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

Got It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Bank chief executive Alden J. McDonald, Jr. (1943 - ) was president and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust, one of the five largest African American owned financial institutions in the United States. He also opened the Liberty Freedom Fund, the first and only mutual fund owned, managed and distributed by African Americans.

Employment

International City Bank and Trust Company

Liberty Bank and Trust Company

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alden J. McDonald, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his maternal family's traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes the Martinez Kindergarten School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his mother's transportation service

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his early entrepreneurism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his father's occupation, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his father's occupation, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his community in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers defending himself in school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his family's finances

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his schooling in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his educational experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his early interest in business

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers his civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers the music of New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers entering the banking industry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. recalls his work for International City Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. recalls the founding of Liberty Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. talks about black leaders in business and politics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers the opening of Liberty Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes the Liberty Bank and Trust Company, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers purchasing his first home

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes the Liberty Bank and Trust Company, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his higher education in banking

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. remembers the impact of Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes Liberty Bank and Trust Company's response to Hurricane Katrina, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes Liberty Bank and Trust Company's response to Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes Liberty Bank and Trust Company's community development efforts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his medical board service

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. talks about the Black Economic Development Council

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes the National Bankers Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. reflects upon his banking career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. talks about his relationship with his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Alden J. McDonald, Jr. recalls the founding of Liberty Bank and Trust Company
Alden J. McDonald, Jr. describes Liberty Bank and Trust Company's response to Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2
Transcript
And in 1972, [HistoryMaker] Norman Francis came and visited with me and he asked me, he said, "We're putting this bank together." He said, "And we certainly would like you to be part of it." I turned him down three times. I had only been in banking for six years and he finally convinced me. My office was in the basement of the bank, and he finally convinced me that it's something that I might want to take a look at. So at the age of twenty-nine I was a bank president, I was the youngest bank president in the State of Louisiana as well.$$Okay.$$And from that, just a whole lot of things happened in life. We became a very successful bank and, again, a lot of it is attributed to the hard work that my parents [Celestine Bevrotte McDonald and Alden J. McDonald, Sr.] had influenced myself and my siblings with, to do hard work to, you could do anything you want to do, just be the best at it, treat people the way you want people to treat you. And all of these things during my upbringing I applied in my everyday life on the job, at work and, you know, if you give to people, people will give back to you and the more you give, the more you receive--$$Okay.$$--as--$$Well can you tell us like, who besides Dr. Francis was involved in the establishment of Liberty Bank [Liberty Bank and Trust Company, New Orleans, Louisiana]?$$C.C. DeJoie [C.C. DeJoie, Jr.], who was a guy who owned the local newspaper [The Louisiana Weekly], Dutch Morial [Ernest Morial], they had couple of white guys on the board as well, couple of black physicians, a guy on the funeral home, the leadership. Matter of fact, you know, it's really interesting because no matter where you go in America, the board members of most, if not all minority banks, makes up the black leadership of those communities. And back then, the bank was started in order to give black people an equal footing, equal access to money, equal access to economics. And those founders in black banks across the country did not look at the investment to make them rich or to, for that investment to be worth a lot of money; they did it for the good of the community.$Interesting story. Lady called from Houston, Texas, and--we had only four telephone lines--and this lady wanted to open an account from Houston, Texas, and the staff told her, "I'm sorry, we don't open accounts over the phone, you have to come in." She said, "Well, I need to speak to the president because my girlfriend had an account with Liberty Bank [Liberty Bank and Trust Company, New Orleans, Louisiana] and your bank is the only bank helping people out during this time period, and I want to bank with a bank that will let me take money out when I don't have money in the bank." So I, it caught me and I just moved back and I said, what is going on here? And what had happened is that we forgot to change some specs, and when you're offline, there's a certain amount of money you could take out of the bank and you don't know it. Well, we didn't change these specs so people were able to take out a thousand dollars a day, whether they had money or not. So, people were just using their check card and their ATM [automated teller machine] card and when we found this out, we put some controls in place to limit the amount of loss that we had. We did lose some money, but we helped a lot of people survive. We helped a lot of people get some of the necessary things in life that was absolutely needed for this worst disaster in the history of the country and our bank, even today, is helping to rebuild the City of New Orleans [Louisiana]. We put a loan program together in conjunction with the City of New Orleans when the state and the federal money wasn't here yet, they're still trying to figure out how to do it. We loaned money in the meantime to people who wanted to rebuild their house, we called it the New Orleans Fast Track Road Home [One New Orleans Road Home Fast Track] program, and we loaned money to people who had bad credit scores, people who were sincere about bringing their family back, rebuilding their homes and that happened over a year ago and to date, we haven't lost one dime and these were people that perhaps couldn't get credit pre-Katrina [Hurricane Katrina] at other financial institutions. So this institution, again, pre-Katrina, was doing things to help people improve the quality of life, helping the community grow economically, helping to change policy for quality life issues, helping to change policy for education and with the worst disaster in this country, we still continue to help people rebuild today and we're doing things that other financial institutions are not doing. We're getting ready to start another new program where we're going to go door to door now and put programs together, financial programs, to help people rebuild and we're going to help create new programs, with the city, with the state and hopefully the federal government to bridge the gap for the people who need that extra help. So we're going to be very aggressive, we're change agents. We've been change agents for the thirty-five years that we've been in business, we're going to continue to be change agents, and we're going to continue to change the community in which we live in because through economic development, we could change the world.