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FAQ City: How Did Charlotte Become A Major Banking City?

Charlotte banking
Nick de la Canal / WFAE
Charlotte has long been one of the nation's largest banking hubs. A listener wonders what made us that way.

A version of this story was originally published on May 8, 2018.

Orlando has tourism, Nashville has music — it seems like Charlotte has always been defined by its banks. But have you ever wondered why?

WFAE listener Chris Trangsrud did. He wrote to FAQ City asking how Charlotte became such a big banking hub anyway. Maybe it had something to do with our roots as a gold mining town? Or maybe something to do with the local Mint or the Federal Reserve?

If there's one person who knows the answer, it's Rick Rothacker, a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and author of the book, "Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banks." He says he's wondered about this question himself ("You look around, see these banks everywhere, and you're like, why did they get so big and grow up to dominate the country?")

The answer, he says, has all to do with some special laws North Carolina had back in the early 1800s, plus the grand ambitions and cutthroat competition of our local bank CEOs over the last few decades.

Special thanks to Rick Rothacker for lending his expertise to this episode. For more on this topic, check out his book here.

And as always, we're looking for more of your questions about whatever it is you're interested in around the Charlotte region. Submit yours below, and we may just investigate for an upcoming episode!


Also, be sure to subscribe and rate/review the podcast on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, and Google Play.

Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal