#BlackMoneyMatters: Thousands Respond to Call to Bank Black

(Image: George DeLoache)

Hundreds of people turned out to open new bank accounts at OneUnited Bank‘s “First-time Account Opening” event this past Saturday, July 23, 2016, at its Crenshaw Branch in Los Angeles in partnership with #BlackMoneyMattersLA.

OneUnited is one of the largest of the black banks that’s also a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and the first black Internet bank.

Before the event even began, hundreds of attendees lined up to open a new savings or checking account and take the #BankBlack Challenge–an initiative aimed at empowering the black community to take control of its wealth by investing in one of the 23 black-owned banks in the U.S.

Teri Williams, president and a member of the board of directors for OneUnited Bank said the institution was thrilled at the attendance and said, “I’d like to thank the LA community and #BlackMoneyMattersLA for your support. This is the most exciting money movement we’ve seen in our community in 20 years. We’re looking forward to the BankBlackMiami event on July 30th and #BankBlackBoston in August.”

Attendees joined thousands of people across the country in an effort to put money into the black community through #BankBlack. The movement got 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 during a town hall meeting on BET and MTV.

“If 1 million people open $100 savings accounts, we could move $100 million. It gives us a seat at the economic table and begins to show that black money matters,” says Williams.

The final numbers aren’t in yet, but at Atlanta’s Citizens Trust, alone, 8,000 people reportedly took the challenge, bringing in an estimated $800,000 in deposits to the institution in five days. Celebrities, such as Solange, Jessie Williams, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, Usher, and more, have joined the conversation urging black Americans to move their money to black-owned banks.

“The black community has annual spending of $1.2 trillion. We have the resources to build wealth, however we simply have to be more purposeful with our money,” says Williams.

“Currently, only 2% of our $1.2 trillion is spent within the black community. If we can increase that percentage from 2% to 10%, we can create 1 million jobs in the black community. Those of us with resources need to bank with black-owned banks and buy black to accomplish that goal,” she adds.

To participate in the #BankBlack Challenge from anywhere in America, go to www.oneunited.com/bankblackchallenge, open a $100 new savings account, and challenge 20 friends to do the same.