Lerner became chairman of MBNA Bank investing 100 million of his own money in the initial public offering (IPO) of the corporation. He also owned the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, after purchasing the rights to the team in 1998. Prior to that in 1995 he assisted his friend at the time Art Modell, former owner of the Browns, in moving Modell's NFL franchise rights from Cleveland to Baltimore. After his death, his son, Randy took over the Browns franchise. Lerner's initials are stitched on the shoulders of the Browns' jerseys.
Lerner donated approximately twenty-five million dollars toward the construction of a new Columbia University student center in 1999, which was named Alfred Lerner Hall in his honor. In 2007, Columbia announced it would honor Lerner's military service in the United States Marine Corps with a plaque to be placed in Lerner Hall.
Al's children are Nancy and Randy. Al had a couple grandchildren. Mikey and Andy are twins, their younger brothers are Corey and Joey. The youngest, Emma, died of a go-cart accident on July 9, 2006 at the age of 6 .