The Senator is active in the business world as a mortgage banker, a real estate appraiser, a real estate broker, an insurance underwriter, and the director of several Missouri corporations.
In 1968, Senator Banks was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and served four terms. In 1976, he was first elected to the Missouri Senate. The Senator was the first African-American lawmaker to be elected Assistant Majority Floor Leader by the Democratic Caucus of both the House and the Senate.
In 1988, Senator Banks' colleagues in the Senate recognized his experience and dedication by choosing him as Majority Leader of that chamber. This makes him the first African-American lawmaker ever elected to one of the four top leadership posts in the Missouri General Assembly. Following the 1990 elections, his colleagues chose him, by acclamation, for a second term as Senate Majority leader. After the 1992 elections, he was elected Majority Leader for a third term. He was elected before the 1995 session to an unprecedented fourth term as Majority Leader. In this position, he was in charge of the Senate's daily schedule of business and controlled the flow of legislation brought up before the full Senate. In 1996, Senator Banks was elected to a fifth term as Senator of the Fifth Senatorial District without opposition.
Senator Banks is chairman of the standing committee on Public Health and Welfare. He is Vice-Chairman of the Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on Health Care Policy and Planning. Senator Banks is a member of the following committees: Gubernatorial Appointments, State Budget Control, and Insurance and Housing.
Senator Banks was also appointed to the National Committees on Health and Human Services.
In addition to his leadership in the legislature, Senator Banks continues to be an active participant in other organizations, including the Masonic Home Loan Association, the Motivational and Psychological Research Institute, and the Jordan W. Chambers 19th Ward Regular Democrat Organization, Inc. He is a member, deacon and trustee of the Christ Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.
The Senator of the Fifth Senatorial District has received more than 100 awards and citations for his many achievements and accomplishments in the City of St. Louis and thes state of Missouri. Among his most recent honors are: the Distinguished Alumni Award, Lincoln University; Distinguished Service to Education Award, Harris-Stowe State College; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; 1990 A. Philip Randolph Institute Award for Outstanding Work in the St. Louis Community; the 1992 President's Political Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; and 1993 Awards from the Missouri Public Health Association, Missouri Association of Police Chiefs and the Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. He has received several recognition awards by the news media as an outstanding legislator and statesman.