Africam Americans Turning to US Black-Owned Banks as Part of BLM Protest Movement

During a time of racial unrest in the United States, some African Americans are finding out how to put their money into their own communities via black-owned banks. Opening an account in a black-owned bank represents an act of economic Black Lives Matter protest and a shift toward building communities from a local level. According to Michael Grant, the president of the National Bankers Association, a minority trade organization, this is a very positive effort in getting communities to recognize that if they do not support themselves, they will have a hard time getting support from anyone else. The driving force of the black banking movement comes from Atlanta, Georgia, rapper Killer Mike, who called into an MTV town meeting on July 8, 2016, following protests sparked by shootings of black men by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. Killer Mike called for black Americans to deposit their money in black-owned banks and to “protest with their pocketbooks.” At the same town hall event, rapper Michael Render also encouraged black Americans to forego acts of violence that will only further endanger their communities and “take our warfare to financial institutions.” Illustrating the power of this idea, Citizen’s Trust, a black-owned banking network operating throughout Georgia received 8,000 applications for new deposit accounts in less than one week. In the past, small, locally owned banks provided a strong source of support for their communities, but began to decline in the mid-20th century. Black-owned local banks were first organized in 1865 to help African Americans get the loans they required to build businesses. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 130 black-owned banks in the U.S.; now there are only 22.