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Columbus National Bank, Providence

Created to service the Italian-American community, this organization began its life as a state bank known as the Columbus Exchange Bank at 2 Market Street. It was founded on December 28, 1910 by Mariano Vervena, the Italian Consul in Providence. It also had a branch in the Italian neighborhood of Federal Hill, at 332 Atwells Avenue. In 1933, the enterprise failed and Vervena returned to Italy.

A short time later, the business was reorganized as the Columbus National Bank. Launched on Febuary 1, 1934,┬áit was the last issuing charter to open its doors in Rhode Island’s capital city. The new institution’s first president was Luigi Scalla, who was born in Milazzo, Sicily, Italy and had previously served as an Italian Consul in Louisiana and the vice-president of the Bank of Sicily Trust of New York. Under his direction for the next 33 years, Columbus National became “one of the leading Italian-American financial institutions in New England,” according to one brief biography.

The bank was acquired by Rhode Island Hospital Trust, November 1, 1984. Columbus National issued $124,000 in $5, $10 and $20 notes, only 24 of which are recorded as in existence today.


Columbus National Bank

Columbus National Bank



Columbus National Bank

Columbus National Bank


columbus bank

A check for the Shawmut Bank of Boston from Providence’s Columbus Exchange Bank, March 22, 1921. Possibly signed by Mariano Vervena as president.

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