By: Krystle Crossman
There are very few black-owned banks in the United States. There are roughly over 21 of them spread throughout the country. The COO of OneUnited Bank, Teri Williams, states that more black men and women should be putting their money into these banks. Many celebrities have closed their accounts in the wake of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and put their money into black-owned banks. Solange Knowles was the latest celebrity to do so. Others include Usher, Jermaine Dupri, and Killer Mike. Williams says this is a smart move that more black people need to make to support the black community.
Between 2001 and 2015 the number of black-owned banks went from 48 to 25. They are losing money because they do not have enough support from their communities. OneUnited Bank has thrived since Williams became President and COO. They have programs that help those in the black community learn how to invest their money in the smartest way possible. They hold workshops to help with budgeting and saving. They have secured Visa cards to help people build or rebuild their credit. They also offer incentives for first-time home buyers.
In an interview with Madame Noire, Williams was asked why black banks are important to the black community. Williams said that simply put, the people who own black banks understand the community that most of their clients are coming from. They understand that many were not given proper financial advice when they were younger. They understand that they may not have a lot of money to invest or even save. They understand that there are struggles with finances every day in their community. Williams says that this is what makes them the perfect fit for those looking for financial freedom within the black community. Their programs and workshops are tailor-made for those in the community and really hit the issues that are happening around them.
OneUnited Bank began just shy of 50 years ago in Boston. They were then named Unity Bank & Trust. From there they have expanded and now have locations in Boston, LA, and Miami. They were the first black-owned bank to have internet operations for their customers. Williams feels that it is important that people understand that they need to recycle the money that goes through the black communities and one great way to do that is to invest in a black-owned bank.