Ready to Rumble

30 years of the BE 100s

hundreds of companies and information from scores of government agencies, professional organizations, industry associations, business information services, entrepreneurs, corporations, and our readers in order to develop our definitive rankings. The following are the qualifications for each of our lists:

B.E. Industrial/Service 100
A company must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year (Jan.1, 2001-Dec. 31, 2001). Companies listed must manufacture or own the products they sell, or provide industrial or consumer services. (Brokerages, real estate firms, and firms that provide professional services such as accounting firms and law offices are not eligible.)

B.E. Auto Dealer 100
An auto dealership must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year.

B.E. Advertising Agencies
An advertising agency must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. To qualify as a full-service advertising agency, the company must provide creative services as well as make media placements — purchasing time and/or space for a clients’ advertising. Companies that only provide consulting services, create or produce advertising, or do media placements do not qualify as full-service agencies. (We canvassed the Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies, combined industry publications, and made inquiries in the field to identify full-service agencies.)

An agency’s financial status is measured in terms of billings — monies allocated by an advertiser to its agency to buy time on television and/or radio, or space in publications and other print media. These media outlets then pay a commission back to the agency in the form of a discount, typically between 15%-20%, which the agency counts as revenue. Other sources of revenue include production fees that the agency charges to its clients and fees for adjunct services such as public relations, consulting, and promotional work. Our ranking of the 20 top agencies is based on a combined total of actualized billings, plus capitalized billings (commissions that haven’t been paid but the media buys were completed), and other agency fees reported as revenues, an accepted industry practice for reporting earnings.

B.E. Banks
A commercial bank or savings and loans that are classified by the Federal Reserve as black institutions and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. An institution’s financial status is measured in terms of total assets, capital, deposits and loans, including mortgage-backed securities for the calendar year. In compiling our list of the leading 25 institutions, we received surveys from black-owned institutions as well as consulted the Federal Reserve, state banking commissions, and industry associations.

B.E. Insurance Companies
A life insurance company must be at least 51% black-owned and have been fully operational for the previous calendar year. An institution’s financial status is measured in terms of total assets, life insurance in force, premium income, annuity income, net investment income, statutory reserves, and surplus. The top 10 insurance companies on our list sell individual and/or group life insurance policies. (No institution that is strictly in the business of selling property and casualty insurance has been included.) In compiling the list, we received surveys

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