The local and national efforts have led to a surge of deposits in several black banks, as #BankBlack fever has swept the country. This movement, aimed at empowering the black community by taking control of its wealth and investing it in a black bank (21 black-owned banks are in the U.S) received national attention on July 8, 2016 when rapper Killer Mike implored the black community to deploy a portion of its financial resources to make a tangible difference.
In July alone, more than 1,500 new accounts with deposit balances of approximately $2.7 million were opened at Industrial Bank, the oldest and largest African American-owned commercial bank in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. This amount was more than the number of accounts that are usually opened in a six-month period.
Heartfelt Gratitude to Black Bank Customers
The National Bankers Association’s members include many of the black banks that received and are still receiving an unprecedented level of support from all over America, noted NBA’s president Michael A. Grant, in a recent open letter. “I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude by simply saying: Thank you!” he stated.
While efforts to get the black community to utilize black-owned banks is not new, what has been happening over the last two months is nothing less than phenomenal, he added. “The outpouring of support triggered by the clarion call of rapper Killer Mike and answered by such superstars as Usher, TI, Solange, and others, caught the banks by surprise—a very pleasant surprise.”
Black people moving millions of dollars into black-owned banks within such a short period of time might ultimately prove to be a game-changer. The catalyst for this mobilization of people and purses was born of frustration, but the timing of this effort at self-empowerment could not have been more perfect.
Bank Black Leads to Financial Independence
“After decades of celebrating the achievements of the civil rights movement, thought leaders in black communities across America are beginning to reach a consensus,” Grant went on to write. “Black America will never be able to enjoy the full privileges of first-class citizenship in this country until it had secured the ultimate badge of liberty in America: financial freedom!”
He pointed to social ills that continue to plague large swaths of America’s black communities which can be summoned up in one phrase—“financial dependence. High unemployment rates, underperforming businesses, crime, inadequate education, and job training opportunities, low aim and an all-pervasive nihilism—especially among many black youths—is defining far too many black neighborhoods in our country.”
Opening accounts in black banks is a great first step. Since statistics show that a qualified black borrower has a higher probability of getting his or her loan approved at a black bank, doing business with these banks is a no-brainer. “The more we circulate our dollars within our own community, the more opportunities we create and the more wealth we can accumulate that can be transferred to future generations,” he added.
Contrary to push back from naysayers, the “bank black” movement is not a boycott of other banks. Explained Grants, “It is simply an intelligent strategy at diversifying one’s dollars and investing in oneself.”