Since as far back as 1851, African Americans were interested in operating banks. However, it wasn’t until 1888 that the first black-owned bank began welcoming customers. Today, there about 19 black-owned banks in the United States, each offering critical services like checking, savings, CDs, loans, and more. If you would like to support minority businesses by opening an account at a black-owned bank, here are six options worth exploring.
Top 6 Black-Owned Banks
1. OneUnited Bank
OneUnited Bank has two claims to fame. First, it is currently the largest black-owned bank in the nation. Second, OneUnited Bank for the first black internet bank in the country.
The bank has multiple locations, including offices in Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami. Additionally, it provides services to a range of low- to moderate-income communities, including Compton, Liberty City, Roxbury, and South Central.
While they only have six branches, the bank maintains assets near the $670 million mark. Not only do they focus on providing services to the African American community, but they also strive to promote financial literacy through workshops.
2. Citizens Trust Bank
Located in the Atlanta metro region, Citizens Trust Bank operates ten branches and maintains about $411 million in assets. The bank focuses on making loans accessible to under served communities. Additionally, they run an affordable housing program specifically aimed at the black community, particularly individuals and families who require down payment assistance.
However, Citizens Trust Bank also has all of the traditional service offerings you would expect. There are checking and savings accounts, as well as Visa credit cards.
3. Industrial Bank
Based on Washington D.C., Industrial Bank was originally established in 1913. Today, it manages around $423 million in assets through its eight Washington D.C. branches, and it recently acquired City National Bank of New Jersey, giving it even more.
One of Industrial Bank’s main goals is to make loan products available to lower-income communities. Along with traditional service options, Industrial Bank also provides access to financial education, a debit card reward program, and more.
4. Carver Federal Savings Bank
With the second-most assets of a black-owned bank, coming in at around $664 million, New York-based Carver Federal Savings Bank is one of the top options in the country. The institution was named after George Washington Carver and aims to provide financial services to minority communities, as they are often under served.
Carver Federal Savings Bank offers a variety of savings and checking accounts. There are also loans, business banking options, online banking services, and a “Community Cash” service, a program that allows individuals to cash checks, pay bills, send or receive money transfers, and get prepaid Visa debit cards even if they don’t have a bank account or have poor credit.
5. Liberty Bank
With assets of about $601 million, Liberty Bank has branches in several states, including Alabama, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and Mississippi. There are checking and savings accounts available, as well as a wide range of loan programs and Visa credit cards.
Through Liberty Bank’s resource center, customers (and all other online visitors) can learn more about personal finance and sound money management. There is also information about the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a government program that aims to help mortgage holders avoid foreclosure during times of hardship.
6. Broadway Federal
Holding around $443 million in assets, Broadway Federal has been in operation for more than 70 years. Along with checking, savings, and money market accounts, the bank also offers loans and credit cards. Additionally, Broadway Federal has individual retirement accounts (IRAs), allowing customers to start stashing away some money to secure their financial futures.
Transitioning to a New Bank
If you are interested in making a switch or opening your first bank account, your first step should be to understand your exact needs. That way, you can focus on financial institutions, including black-owned banks, that have the services you require.
Make sure to look not just at the service offerings, but also any fee structures and interest rates. This will give you a more holistic picture and reduces the odds that you’ll be surprised by a cost that arises when you open a particular kind of account.
Once you choose your ideal option, open the kind of account you require. Then, you can start transitioning your activities. Usually, you’ll start with direct deposits, if you have any. After that, you can begin shifting over automatic payments.
New Bank Transitions Can Be Tricky
The process of transitioning to a new bank is always a bit tricky. Additionally, it can take a surprising amount of time. This is especially true if you have to wait for a new debit card to arrive to finish updating some of your automatic payments, as it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for the card to reach you and finish activating. But once everything up and running, it tends to smooth out fairly quickly in most cases.
Just make sure that, once all of your direct deposits and payments have transitioned, that you close the old account if you have no intention of using it. This is especially true if it may now incur maintenance fees for merely existing, as those can add up quickly.
Do you research a bank’s owners before you open an account? Do you make an effort to support minority-owned businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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