[Spoilers of the film revealed in the “plot” section]
The Banker is a 2020 American drama film based on a true story. The film centers around Joe Morris and Bernard Garrett, 2 of the first African American male bankers in the United States. Dealing with a racist structure in the banking industry, Bernard finds it nearly impossible to become a banker. With the help of Joe and Matt Steiner, Bernard plays the system and manages to help black families gain upward mobility. A white man, named Matt Steiner, is used as a puppet to help them facilitate the sales in meetings.
Bernard wants to enter into real estate, but the racism he encounters averts him from being successful. He convinces Joe, a wealthy club owner, to be his co-investor. The both of them convince Matt Steiner,a white male, to pose as the head of the company in order to avoid rejections from racism.
They were extremely successful in Los Angeles real estate. They secured several properties. They used their newfound power to desegregate neighborhoods by selling and renting to Black families. After their success in Los Angeles, they took their talents to Texas. Black people had been denied loans for small businesses and home ownership at the local bank in Bernard’s Texas hometown. Having Matt pose as the head of the company, Bernard and Joe used their money to buy the bank-hoping to fix the structural inequalities.
Despite their usage of Matt’s face, people were suspicious of this decision. A bank teller tracks the records of their loans. After discovering that loans were being given to black people, the teller calls a federal investigator to check the record of Matt’s bank. The investigator concluded that Matt, Joe, and Bernard violated federal banking laws-leading to their arrest. Bernard rejected the opportunity to take a plea deal and walk free. Instead, he gave a passionate testimony about the racist system denying black people equal opportunities to become prosperous. After serving time in prison, Bernard and Joe are still determined to continue their real estate aspirations. They go to their remaining properties in the Bahamas with Eunice (Bernard’s wife)-in order to rebuild.
The talents of Samuel L Jackson and Anthony Mackie have very good acting chemistry in this film. If you haven’t watched the film, please check it out. Black men need to know their history, and this film helps us relive it.