It’s an awesome yet troubling fact that as African Americans we have a buying power of $1.3 trillion and less than 0.5% of that is deposited into black-owned banks. Banks that sprouted during the hardships of slavery and discrimination to help the advancement of our people. During a time period where blacks who could meet the expense of buying their freedom, would accrue funds in order to make small loans available for other blacks. A time period where we had pride in helping those who looked like us and shared in our struggles.

Black-owned banks were even able to rebuild after the Civil War which condensed the resources that were once made available. Jim Crow Laws deepened segregation and as a result blacks were not welcomed into mainstream banking. Yet, today we enter banks with our deposit slips in hand, waiting to be greeted by a teller with an “ethnic” name, to help make us feel that we are represented fairly in their establishment.

As a call of action to segregation in banking, “black churches, fraternal organizations, and benevolent societies began supporting the formation of banks in the late 1880s.” As a result the black community experienced growth in black-owned businesses and home ownership. As history shows us, black-owned banks then and now, go beyond strategically hiring Fredericka because of her name, but are more focused on establishing a relationship and the advancement of you and your family. Research tells us that nonblack-owned banks tend to ask blacks harder questions and require more proof of financial stability before approving them for a loan, if approved. Why not change where you bank and bank with people who believe in that dream you have of starting a bakery, a law firm, or buying a house.

Instead, we as black people force the 22 remaining black-owned banks to invest their money into “liquid assets that yield a lower return rate in order to cover transactions.” Yet, these black-owned banks still choose to serve their beloved community, even though we are forcing them into unfavorable investments. Black-owned banks are literally struggling to stay afloat in a sea where $1.3 trillion black dollars surround them. When will be the right time to throw out the lifejacket and help? Are we not convicted by the statistics that these banks are failing and we have the power to turn that around? According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Minority Depository Institutions, there were 25 black-owned banks in 2011 and this number has dropped to 22. With the recent release of these numbers being from 3rd quarter data reported on September 30, 2015. Will we allow more banks in 2016 to sink and drown or shift the tide and resurge black-owned banks?

A simple translation is that banking black helps to circulate our dollar more within the black community at a higher rate. Currently our money only circulates 0 to 1 time within the black community, compared to the more than 6 times it circulates in the Latino community, 9 times in the Asian community, and unlimited amount of times within the white community. Let’s position our black-owned banks to be in a pivotal position within our communities. As said by Kashian et al., “Black-owned banks are vital sources of capital, employment, and training in low-income areas. They provide institutional leadership and jobs with career ladders to communities.”

Black-owned banks have faced adversity since their inception in the financial industry. Yet, black-owned banks are still necessary due to the fact that they are making strides in alleviating the economic pressures that have historically burdened the African American community. #BankBlack2016 #SpendDifferent #SaveDifferent

Here’s the list of the 22 remaining black-owned banks in the US:

1. Alamerica Bank
Birmingham, AL
Established: January 28, 2000
Total Assets: $36,032,000

2. Broadway Federal Bank FSB
Los Angeles, CA
Established: February 26, 1947
Total Assets: $403,881,000

3. Carver State Bank
Savannah, GA
Established: January 1, 1927
Total Assets: $42,396,000

4. Citizens Savings B&T Co.
Nashville, TN
Established: January 4, 1904
Total Assets: $105,132,000

5. Citizens Trust Bank
Atlanta, GA
Established: June 18, 1921
Total Assets: $380,476,000

6. City NB of New Jersey
Newark, NJ
Established: June 11, 1973
Total Assets: $247,389,000

7. Columbia Savings & Loan Assn.
Milwaukee, WI
Established: January 1, 1924
Total Assets: $23,903,000

8. Commonwealth National Bank
Mobile, AL
Established: February 2, 1976
Total Assets: $57,558,000

9. First Independence Bank
Detroit, MI
Established: May, 14, 1970
Total Assets: $244,775,000

10. First State Bank
Danville, VA
Established: September 8, 1919
Total Assets: $38,744,000

11. Harbor Bank of Maryland
Baltimore, MD
Established: September, 13, 1982
Total Assets: $240,343,000

12. Illinois-Service FS & LS
Chicago, IL
Established: January 1, 1934
Total Assets: $103,845,000

13. Industrial Bank
Washington DC
Established: August 18, 1934
Total Assets: $372,753,000

14. Liberty Bank & Trust Co.
New Orleans, LA
Established: November, 16, 1972
Total Assets: $638,066,000

15. Mechanics & Farmers Bank
Durham, NC
Established March 26, 1908
Total Assets: $301,235,000

16. North Milwaukee State Bank
Milwaukee, WI
Established: February 12, 1971
Total Assets: $70,544,000

17. One United Bank
Boston, MC
Established: August 2, 1982
Total Assets: $635,492,000

18. Seaway Bank & Trust Co.
Chicago, IL
Established: January 2, 1965
Total Assets: $386,127,000

19. South Carolina Community Bank
Columbia, SC
Established: March26, 1999
Total Assets: $54,753,000

20. Tri-State Bank of Memphis
Memphis, TN
Established: December 16, 1946
Total Assets: $120,091,000

21. United Bank of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
Established: March 23, 1992
Total Assets: $59,145,000

22. Unity NB of Houston
Houston, TX
Established: August 1, 1985
Total Assets: $84,306,000

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