Trailblazer In Detroit Banking, Aubrey Lee, Sr. Still Building Bridges In Minority Community

DETROIT (WWJ) – He’s a trailblazer in the banking industry in metro Detroit and at a time when many people embrace retirement, he continues to build community.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis spoke with the man many call a “hero” because of the way he would later help others.

At 79, Aubrey Lee, Sr. is still going strong. He sits on the boards at Beaumont Hospital going on 25 years and at Walsh college where he advocates for minorities.

“And I push, I try to get more minorities involved in Walsh College …,” said Lee.

Lee himself has been a trailblazer at NBD Bank where, in 1966, he became the bank’s first African American to reach managerial status.


“First I never took myself too seriously, but I was always there to help … and not to take credit,” said Lee.

“So I moved up from bank teller, all positions, to eventually be president of NBD Troy Bank.”

Along the way Lee would extend commercial loans to minorities and he hired many more African Americans.

“I hired a lot of minorities and then the other banks followed suit,” he said.

Lee, a husband and father of three boys, was appointed by late Mayor Coleman Young to do the research to form the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC).

“I’m very pleased when I see what’s beginning to happen in the city now, where the business community is doing a lot of things; and hopefully that will continue …. but I love Detroit,” he said.


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