“Have you had any problems with them?”
Its literally the first response I get from every person I mention that I bank at a Black bank. The question is full of distrust with a hint of low expectations and side of disbelief that running a bank is something we can actually do. It’s an unfortunate bi-product of growing up with very few examples of successful Black businesses that weren’t hair salons or restaurants.
But we live in a new time. A time where Black women and men are at the helm of large and wildly successful corporations and small businesses that span industries, including banking.
A few nights ago I was watching The Banker with a friend. It’s about two black men, Bernard Garrett Sr and Joe Morris, who were real estate investors. When the banks wouldn’t lend them money, they bought the building the bank was in and hired a white man to be the face of their operations. Then they went and bought an entire bank in Texas, a state where it was illegal for them to even set foot inside the lobby of the very same bank.
At some point during the movie, my friend asked me if it was based on a true story and my response was “I doubt it” because it seemed unreal to me that a black man in the 1950s could actually have bought one of the biggest buildings in downtown LA and then turned around and bought a bank in the state of Texas of all places. It just seemed like a tall tale well told. Google quickly gathered my edges and proved to me that not only was the story real, but that the actions of these men and their federal trial helped pave the way for the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
One of the reasons these men bought the bank in the first place was to lend money to Black business owners and black families because the banks would not lend money to Black people in the 50s and 60s. While things have gotten better, unfair lending and discrimination practices still exist.
That’s why it’s important to me to bank at a Black owned bank. The more deposit accounts a bank has, the stronger its ability to lend money. Putting my money into a Black bank means that possibly one more Black business owner or would be home owner can get a loan to pursue their dreams.
I’ve been banking with One United bank for a little over 5 years. I’m always disappointed with the question “do you have any problems with them” because I know for sure that if i mentioned I banked at some random credit union, this wouldn’t be the question. It would more likely be something like “what do you like about them” or “what’s the difference between a credit union and a traditional bank”. People certainly wouldn’t say anything if I said I bank at SunTrust, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo and I’ve honestly had more issues with BofA than I have with my Black bank. Not to mention Wells Fargo has come under fire for all kinds of questionable issues recently.
One United bank is the oldest Black owned bank in the US. Their customer service is fantastic (I get a person every time I call) and their rates are reasonable. Also, their debit/ATM cards are hella dope!
Sure, they don’t come with ALL the bells and whistles major banks come with but they need our support to get there. We want these businesses to be on level with major companies forgetting that to get there, they need our investment and patronage.
Truthfully, I have very few complaints. All my needs are met with this bank and I always ALWAYS get my direct deposit…IJS.
Please note that this blog post contains an affiliate link which means I do get compensated for referring you. So it’s a win win! 🙂