Bernard Francis Saul was born in 1872. His father, John Saul, was a noted horticullturist who had come here in 1851 from Ireland to take over planning and development of the Mall.
At the age of eighteen, B. F. Saul got a job as a clerk in the National Bank of the Republic. A year later, when his family decided to sell his father's botanical nurseries, B. F. offered to handle the transactions. He took back notes from buyers and resold them to the public. Washington's first substantial mortgage bank, the B. F. Saul Commpany, was born.
When he was 27, B. F. Saul founded the Home Savings Bank. In 1919 it merged with American Security Bank. Banker Saul was the first one to back one Malcolm Gibbs in business - a business that became People's Drug. Saul also backed developer Harry Wardman, financing a large tract of LeDroit Park.
Although he remained involved with American Security Bank, and his son John built a career there, Saul concentrated on his own company and its mortgage business. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression took a heavy toll on the Washington financial community. B. F. Saul had expanded to include property management, leasing, development, and insurance. As a result, the company survived the Depression and emerged as the largest company of its kind in the city.
Today B. Francis Saul II, grandson of the founder, heads the B. F. Saul Company and its affiliated entities. The little mortgage bank built from a horticulturist's nurseries employs over 3,000 people and its mortgage division alone services in excess of $2.5 billion in mortgages for institutional investors.