The Banker: Is the 2020 Film Inspired by a True Story?

Determining the value of your identity and solidifying your ability to do just about anything, capital and class go hand in hand. However, when race is added to the mixture, the situation complicates soon enough. ‘The Banker’ focuses on precisely this. Directed by George Nolfi, this period drama exulted the tale of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, two ambitious black businessmen who devise a plan to buy significant real-estate holdings at a time when it was virtually illegal for a black man to own property. Released in 2020, this period drama focuses on more than just the dreams of two audacious black men.

The film’s extraordinary narrative features the irreverent tale of two black men, who despite their capital, intelligence and wit, have to succumb to the etched rules of banking and finance on account of their race. Set in the 1960s, the film stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult. By tackling such hard-hitting questions, it isn’t unordinary for viewers to wonder whether or not the premise of the film is based on real-life events. Luckily. We have got all the answers you are looking for!

Origins of The Banker’s Narrative

Yes, ‘The Banker’ is based on a true story. The story is inspired by two moguls who efficiently managed to overcome the inherent biases of the banking sector by applying an ingenuine plan. Director George Nolfi co-wrote the screenplay with Niceole Levy, David Lewis Smith, and Stan Younger from a story by the latter three and Brad Kane (Brad Caleb Cane). The preliminary sources for director Nolfi and screenwriters did not come from any published personal accounts. Instead, the creative team sourced their story and screenplay from recorded interviews with businessman Bernard Garrett conducted in 1995, congressional transcripts, and court rulings.

The story follows Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris creating a real-estate and banking empire, established to help people of color and since the two lived at a time when it was virtually impossible for a black man to have such affluent holdings, the pair use a working-class white man to become the front of their real-estate holdings and banking empire. Matt Steiner, portrayed by Nicholas Hoult thus undergoes a transformative journey where he can successfully mold himself and fit into the privileged Illuminati and get away with the high-scale operation.

While the story progresses to showcase the achievements of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, abysmal records of inequality are visible throughout the film. When the only way for Garrett to enter the bank he owns is by posing as a janitor, one is led to look at the gravity of the situation that was once true. In reality, Bernard Garrett had grown up in Texas and accumulated enough wealth to work with Joseph Morris, a LA native whose experience in the brokerage and contract work aided him in knowing real estate well.

The movie focuses on several elements where the essence of one’s identity is entrenched and irrevocable. From Joe Morris’ and Bernard Garrett’s initial acquaintance to the very end of the movie, one can clear clearly see the rampant effects of color on the people. At a time, when desegregation was still merely talked about, Bernard Garrett had not just marched with Martin Luther King, but also met President Lyndon B Johnson.

As such, when activists were working to achieve civil rights, Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris took up another revolutionary turn to lead the country into a place where cultures and races could exist in syncretic harmony. However, despite their altruistic intentions, both Joe Morris and Bernard Garrett faced several impediments in their career.

After having purchased the Mainland Bank and Trust Company of Texas City, with the help of Don C Silverthorne, a San Francisco banker with enough capital to seal the deal. However, with Matt Steiner publicly revealing the inner workings of their purchases and deals, the duo got involved in a lawsuit that inevitably became the result of the downfall of another bank called the Marlin Bank.

This led to major issues with Garrett and Morris, who found it difficult to regain hold of their mogul empire and continue to establish their brand in the banking sector. Even so, the two unearthed the internal systemic inefficiencies that formed a pattern and continued to block African-American citizens away from the possibility of becoming rich. Even though ‘The Banker’ is based on a true story, there are several elements of the movie that have been embellished by the makers to further the storyline.

Read More: Where Was The Banker Filmed?