Black people in America wield over a trillion dollars of spending muscle and Black women hold the purse strings of that spending. Yelp recently reported a 7000% search for Black businesses on its platform. While it seems like society is just coming around to respecting the powerful economics of the Black dollar, we as a people always knew if we could come together collectively, and spend money within our own communities, we could nurture, and grow those very communities to thriving proportions. And while it’s cool to see big corporations like Netflix invest $100 million dollars in several Black banks here’s a look at some that are owned and run by Black people and were created to serve our communities. Black banks began because we weren’t allowed to do business anywhere else. We leaned on each other and created what we needed. Let’s take a look at why you might want to put if not all, at least some of your money in our own institutions. Black banks have always had our back, we’ve always mattered to them, always.
One United is a Black-owned, and managed bank. Headquartered in Boston with branches in Los Angeles, and Miami. They are committed to their communities and teaching the gems of financial literacy. Online, they even have financial literacy audio lessons for first time home buying, mortgages, taxes, credit scores, and more. Open your account with a minimum of $50, deposit checks from your phone, and walk away with a Harriet Tubman (or another bold Black design offering) debit card! We are no strangers to the idea of community, and their website screams a collective village with endless resources. One United was not part of the predatory subprime lending that ripped through and nearly destroyed the African-American community. If you want to rebuild your credit or have a responsible bank to entrust your funds, One United seems like they get the job done! FDIC insured of course.
Carver has been serving the African-American community since 1948, when a group of Black business leaders wanted to serve their Harlem, New York neighborhood, and they have been there ever since. They are big on community reinvestment, financial literacy, and granting capital to small businesses that would otherwise be denied by mainstream banks. They believe the dollar circulated within the community helps the neighborhood infrastructure and continues to grow the people they serve. Carver also supports the YMCA and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s yearly grants. Sign us up, we love a bank that puts their money where their mouths are.
This southern institution was born out of necessity. In 1908 the Black community needed a place to store and grow interest on their funds so that they could further their life opportunities. Even though the obstacles seemed daunting during this time period a group of revered community members came together to open up Mechanics&Farmers (M&F) Bank. The founders R.B Fitzgerald, J. A. Dodson, J. R. Hawkins, John Merrick, Aaron M. Moore, W.G. Pearson, James E. Shepard, G. W. Stephens, and Stanford L. Warren became the heartbeat of Durham, North Carolina’s Black Wall Street. They knew personal and community growth was vital to the sustainability of the Black community. That continues to be their commitment. They are certified as a community development financial institution or CDFI, which means they reinvest into their communities. They are the only certified CDFI bank in North Carolina. M&F gives access to capital, provides mobile banking, retirement planning, insurance planning, elder care and so much more. M&F Bank has grown with the times, no wonder they have turned a profit every single year they’ve been open including during the Great Depression. They make us proud to bank Black.
When Heman E. Perry founded Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta, Georgia he wanted to afford Black people economic growth. The first slogan was actually “ Bank where you feel at home”. For almost 100 years Citizens Trust Bank has been the center of community-serving, economic development, and financial planning at the entry-level and beyond. President and CEO Cynthia N. Day is committed to the elevation, innovation, and collaboration with and for the community. The likes of entertainers such as Usher Raymond, Jermaine Dupri, and Killer Mike partner with this ATL institution to encourage citizens to move their money to this century-old resource. CTB offers all the things, online banking, checking, savings, financial planning, commercial banking, and tons more.
Owned by the only Black woman to own a bank in the U.S., Kiko Davis, situated in Detroit Michigan, First Independence Bank was established shortly after the Detroit riots of 1967. Black community leaders wanted to establish and rebuild the environment they saw around them. Almost 50 years later, it’s still going strong. They offer a special senior checking/savings account and lead the way to posterity with a millennial advisory board that creates a path for conversation and change for tomorrow’s leaders of First Independence Bank.