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My super honest review of my black bank

Yes, my money is at a Black Bank ✊🏾! And not just some of it, pretty much all of it. I wrote a previous blog post about how much I take issue with people asking me “do you have any problems with them” whenever I tell people I #bankblack. It’s disappointing and frustrating that we view black banks negatively, but I won’t hash that out here. You can read that blog post. Here, I want to give you an honest review of my black bank.

I’ve been banking with One United since about 2013. Full disclosure – I cancelled my original account with them in 2014, took 3 years off and reopened an account with them in 2017. In 2013, I had just a savings account with them. I cancelled my account after having an issue over the weekend that couldn’t be resolved. I was frustrated and, quite honestly, operating from that lack of grace we often give black businesses.

In 2017, I wanted to give them another try. I opened a checking account and chose to use it as my allowance account. I directed a small portion of my paycheck to that account to use as spending money while the bulk of my money was at Wells Fargo. In 2019, I decided to switch it up and direct the majority of my money to One United and use my Wells Fargo account less frequently. As of 2020, I use my One United account almost exclusively (my savings account is at Ally bank).

Why it’s important to me to bank black

There is still so much inequality in lending

“Mainstream” banks still are not lending money to black folks equitably. Black banks are in a position to fill the gap in small business loans and mortgage loans to black people. Home ownership and business ownership are building blocks to wealth. It’s so important to open these opportunities to wealth building for black people.

Banks are able to give out loans based on the amount of deposit accounts they have. Deposit accounts are savings and checking accounts. The more deposit accounts they have, the more loans they can approve.

For that reason, my opening an account at a black bank increases the chance that a black family can get a loan to buy a home, or a black woman can get approved for a small business loan.

finance jobs for black people

Black businesses are more likely to hire black people. Supporting black businesses means creating more jobs for black people.

The focus of my graduate studies was finance. When I graduated, the finance industry had improved its hiring rates for black people in the finance industry but there was still room for improvement. 15 years later, there is still so much room for improvement. You can look at any major bank and see a lack of diversity in their ranks.

Supporting a black bank, for me, means more opportunities for black folks to work in the financial services and banking industry.

a sense of pride

Quite frankly, there is a sense of pride that people who, at one point, couldn’t even own land or learn to read in this country are running major banks. I think this is why the question “have you had any problems with them” cuts me so hard.

I’m so glad I transitioned to a black bank. And every single time someone comments on how cool my debit card looks, no matter what race they are, I proudly tell them “it’s from the oldest black bank in the country”.

my honest review of my black bank

things I don’t like

Ok, here’s where I keep it real about what I don’t like about my black bank.

  • The mobile deposit limit is $1,500. I don’t actually use mobile deposit very often because I don’t receive checks but I do think this is a really low limit when most banks have a limit of $5,000 all the way up to $50,000
  • Customer service is not open on the weekends. I rarely need to call customer service but it is a little unsettling that when I do, I can only get them during the week. I will note that the fraud department is open 24 hours so if your card is stopped, you do have 24-hr access to the fraud department to get it cleared up.
  • The app has almost everything I need but could use some improvements, mainly in look and feel.
  • When using two factor authentication, they can only email or call you for a code. Texting a code to you is not an option. This is a very minor annoyance since I can access my email from my phone anyway.
  • Their bank statements need a serious reformat. Many of your debit card transactions will just show as “POS Withdrawal” or “Activity POS Withdrawal” which is not enough information at all. There is a separate section that provides the memo detail of what company that transaction actually was actually to. It’s pretty absurd. I will note that it is not formatted this way in your bank account summary or on the app, this is just on the statements. I don’t use bank statements anyway b/c I use an app called YNAB to reconcile my accounts but for people who do, this will be frustrating.
First pages of the statement with “POS Withdrawal” and “Activity POS Withdrawal” as the transaction descriptor
Subsequent page explaining those POS transactions. I don’t understand why multiple sections are needed for this information. I’ve never seen a statement look like this.

The pros

  • Customer service is excellent and I always get a live person. When I have needed to call customer service, they have been so pleasant and helpful. I have not had one bad customer service experience with One United.
  • The mobile app is improving. Over the last 3 years, I’ve seen some significant changes in functionality and look and feel. My belief is that they are continuing to evolve this. I look forward to being able to set travel notifications and deposit fat checks via the mobile app some day soon. (Someone send me a fat check please!)
  • You can schedule transfers. Not just automatic transfers like most banks. If you want to make a transfer on a specific date and don’t want to forget to do it, you can set it up as a transfer and schedule it.
  • I have had far less issues at this bank than I have at the major “mainstream” banks. Throughout my banking experience, I have had all kinds of crazy or weird things happen with my account and had to spend hours on the phone or going to the bank in person to correct them. In the 3 years I’ve banked with One United, I have had one issue and that was related to getting my daily spending limit increased on my card to cover a large purchase. I emailed customer service and it was addressed promptly and professionally
  • Their debit cards are FIYE!! The debit card designs are so cool and SO.VERY.BLACKITY.BLACK!

There you have it, my honest review of my black bank. My reasons for banking black and the things I like about One United bank far outweigh the things I don’t like. And as more of us support the bank, they will be more able to improve those things we don’t like. We can’t expect our businesses to have the same features as “mainstream” businesses if they don’t have the same level of support.

If you’d like to join the #bankblack movement, why not start with a savings account at One United? Sign up by clicking this link –>>

Please note that this blog post contains an affiliate link which means I get compensated if you sign up. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. It’s just their way of saying “thanks for spreading the good news about us!” so it’s a win-win for us both!

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