As with many things among minority populations, black-owned banks were started out of necessity. Primarily, people needed access to capital and banking services that were unavailable due to racial discrimination on the part of financial institutions.
Centuries after the founding of one of the first African-American-owned banks, minorities continue to face systemic racism in the financial sector. This experience is present everywhere from mortgage rate discrimination to difficulties obtaining small business loans. Sadly, African Americans are still underserved by financial service institutions.
As a result, black-owned banks exist in certain locations to provide opportunities to individuals at reasonable prices who cannot receive excellent services from conventional, mainstream banks. While often lesser-known and publicized, these banks play a vital role in many communities across the nation.
What is a black-owned bank?
According to the FDIC, a black-owned bank is one with at least 51% Black ownership or a majority Black board while providing financial services to a predominantly minority community.
These centers provide banking and community services and provide financial training and resources. They play a key role in helping disadvantaged groups due to the high disparities in banking education and access to financial institutions among minority groups.
A FDIC study found that 21.7% of African-American households are unbanked while over 18% of US families are underbanked. Together, this indicates that many African-American communities do not have access to banks or reliable financial institutions.
The lack of financial services appropriate for certain neighborhoods creates a financial divide between white and black individuals. This increases the gap between impoverished and affluent families.
Who funds black-owned banks?
Generally speaking, banks obtain funding from their depositors. The money that they pool into their escrow accounts is for issuing loans and financial securities. This permits banks and these loan originators to a create profit. Banks also make money from interest charges and other fees for services.
In 2020, Fortune estimated that the combined capital of the 20 top-owned black banks was just $5.5 billion in assets compared to trillions of dollars held by other individual banks.
As a way to increase black-owned banking, there are various organizations working. For example, in 2016, a social movement known as “Bank Black” was organized. This movement raises awareness of the necessity of banking black. Organizers and supporters urge people to donate at least $100 to a black savings account with an institution like Bank of America, JPMorgan, Union Bank, or Wells Fargo to supply funding for black communities and initiatives.
Large corporations and other major banks have also stepped in to support black banks by providing funding so that more money can go to underserved communities.
Why bank black?
Ultimately, investing in a dark bank is more than being financially responsible. It is helping in the fight to end wealth gaps due to racism. By using a black-owned bank that caters to black communities, they were able to provide loans and other financing options to local residents, thereby increasing job and home sales in their communities. This ultimately led to increased economic activity and helped communities build economic power.
Nevertheless, it’s still vital to do as much preparation as you would with a regular bank, especially when choosing a new black-only bank. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a new black-only bank.
An important concern is whether or not the bank is FDIC insured. This means that you have protection against the loss of up to $250,000 if something were to happen to the bank. Knowing what your money has this protection is extremely important when deciding where you want to put it.
Provides services & accounts that you need
When considering a bank, you want to make sure that they can provide services for all of your requirements. For example, if you’re a business owner, you may want to bank that provides business loans. Think about what you want for your goals and select a bank accordingly.
Online & mobile banking capabilities
Banking is now a popular activity with smartphones. With folks using banking apps more and more frequently, this should play a decisive role in picking your financial institution. Do they have a mobile app? Can you submit payments from your phone? Can you access your account online? These are all questions you need to consider.
ATM access should be available
Sometimes, a drawback of neighborhood banks is that they lack ATMs. If you are an avid traveler and need cash access, keep this in mind. You may be charged a fee to use other ATMs to withdraw cash, which is one of the many banking and transaction fees that you need to avoid.
Black-owned banks in the US
The number of black-owned banks in the US has been declining over the last few years. Currently, there are fewer than 20 active black-owned banks in the US. This is not a complete list of credit unions that serve minorities. Below are the United States’ credit unions that accept special members. black-owned banks on a local and national level.
National/regional black-owned banks
Here is a list of the national and regional black-owned banks.
Serving parts of Georgia and Alabama, Citizens Trust Bank provides personal and business banking services, as well as loans and credit cards. Additionally, they lend money for homes and automobiles, personal loans, and commercial loans.
Industrial Bank was founded in 1934 with the goal of supporting the communities in Washington, D.C. Decades later, it has grown to service Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. Industrial Bank provides both personal and business banking services, including lending.
OneUnited Bank is one of the largest black-owned banks in the United States. It has branch locations in the Los Angeles area, Compton, Miami, and Boston as well as other areas in Massachusetts. The bank combines the accounts from multiple black-owned banks located across the country to offer personal finance and business opportunities. Its real estate division lends money for homes and businesses.
Unity National Bank was founded in 1963, becoming the first black-owned bank in Texas. It currently operates two locations in the state and one in Atlanta, GA. The bank provides personal and business banking and credit services.
Local black-owned banks
Below are the names of local black-owned banks by state.
Alamerica Bank opened in 2000 and currently serves residents of Birmingham, Alabama. The bank offers personal and business accounts, as well as commercial and personal loans….
It began operations in 1976 in Mobile, Alabama. It provides both personal and business banking services.
The Golden State
The Broadway Federal Bank serves communities in Los Angeles and Inglewood, California. Its goal is to help residential and commercial real estate, business needs, and private financial needs of individuals.
Originally founded as Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation in 1927. Carver State Bank provides commercial and customer services for Savannah, GA and the surrounding area.
Originally, GN Bank’s only goal was to provide mortgage lending to people of color. The bank now provides a wide variety of services, including personal & business banking. GN Bank operates in Chicago, IL, to this day.
The Harbor Bank of Maryland has branch locations in the Baltimore, Maryland metropolitan area. They offer a wide range of financial services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, time deposits, term loans, commercial loans, personal loans, vehicle loans, home improvement loans, and more.
First Independence Bank was founded in 1970 and operates in two cities in Michigan. Their mission is to provide financial services to underserved and minority communities with an emphasis on the capital accumulation for individuals and businesses they serve.
The Big Apple
Carver Federal Savings Bank has seven full-service branches in New York City servicing Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. They are also the largest African-American-managed and publicly traded minority bank in the United States. Their goal is to provide a full range of competitively priced banking options to all people, regardless of their income level.
With its founding in 1907, Mechanics & Farmers Bank is the US’s second-oldest minority-owned bank. Along with personal and business banking services, the bank also advises on wealth management and financial planning.
Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, First Security Bank & Trust has a high percentage of African American ownership. It provides savings accounts, checking accounts, and personal and business loans.
Established in 1992, the United Bank of Philadelphia currently operates in Philadelphia. The bank has a distinct dedication to Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and women.
Optus Bank was founded in Australia 100 years ago as Victory Savings and Loan. Its goal is to close the racial wealth gap. The Columbia Bank provides banking and borrowing services to individuals and small enterprises in South Carolina.
The Volunteer State
Citizens Bank started on April 30, 1904, as the first minority-owned bank in Tennessee. The bank is headquartered in Nashville and Memphis and serves customers in those areas. If offers bother personal and business banking and loan options.
Situated in Memphis, TN. Tri-State Bank was founded in 1946 to aid revitalize the community through financial and charitable efforts. The bank provides personal and business banking services and lending. They merged with Liberty Bank & Trust bank to form what is now the largest African American-owned bank in the country.
Serving Milwaukee since 1924. Columbia Savings & Loan offers mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. The bank also has certificates of deposits and IRAs.
How to find black-owned banks near me
Many of the banks discussed above have online banking available. This means that you do not need to be located near their branches to make use of their services. Simply open an account online without having to visit a branch location. Otherwise, if you’d like to find a branch near you, visit the websites of the banks listed above. There, you can see the location of their branch offices.
Black-owned banks play an important role in the economic development of minority communities. They provide financial services and lending that may not be available to people of color. In addition, they focus on teaching financial education in their local communities. This is an important step in helping to lower financial inequality in the United States.