These Black-Owned Banks and Credit Unions Across the Country Deserve Your Support
Plus, learn how each has historically served their local communities.
When rapper-turned-entrepreneur Michael Render decided to launch a digital bank in called Greenwood—whose name was inspired by the infamous Black Wall Street of Tulsa, Oklahoma—the country took notice. Along with his partners Andrew Young and Ryan Glover, Render raised $3 million in funding for this digital bank aimed at servicing Black and Latinx communities and, within 24 hours of its opening, the bank received tens of thousands of account requests.
Historically, Black Americans struggled to obtain loans and financing for homes and businesses at the turn of the century. That began to pivot in 1888 when America's first bank owned by Black Americans, The Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers, was founded by Reverend William Washington Browne. It was the establishment of such Black-owned financial institutions that helped to level the playing field of opportunity for Black communities and their constituents. They helped to close the wealth disparity gap between Black communities across the country and other more financially affluent communities.
Yet despite the end of the Civil War and slavery, it's been documented by the Pew Research Center that while Black Americans comprise 14 percent of the population, they own less than one percent of the country's wealth. Successful communities like the Greenwood District served as a model that folks like Render want to see in existence again. That's why he believes that supporting Black-owned banks helps communities of color today. "If we don't take care of our coin and ourselves, how can we expect others to do it for us?" he reflects. "We must save ourselves and seek alliances that help the cause."
Black-owned banks—and their not-for-profit equivalent, credit unions—are intentional about helping their local BIPOC communities. And while they once numbered 48 at their height in 2001, they have since dwindled down to less than half of that as of today. Here's where to find some of them:
In Birmingham, Alabama, the Alamerica Bank opened in January of 2000 and offers personalized banking services for business and professional customers.
Carver Federal Savings Bank
Over 70 years old, this full-service banking institution in New York reinvests 80 cents from every dollar deposited into the communities that it services, with 74 percent of its loans being granted to low- and moderate-income communities.
Carver State Bank
Originally known as the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation, this bank in Savannah, Georgia, was established in 1927 and was renamed Carver State Bank in 1962.
Citizen's Trust Bank
City First Bank
Opened in 1998, this banking institution in Washington, D.C., prides itself on being able to "see the possibilities where others do not."
Columbia Savings and Loan
Founded in 1924, this institution in Milwaukee, Wyoming, is dedicated to elevating the quality of life for the inner-city communities that it services.
Commonwealth National Bank
Headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, this bank opened its doors in 1976 and is focused on community growth and development.
First Independence Bank
Actively serving underserved and minority communities in the Detroit metro area, this bank was first opened in 1970 and exists today as the only Black-owned bank in the state of Michigan.
This Chicago-based bank is centrally located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and was founded in 1934 by 13 Black men who wanted to give people of color access to home mortgage loans. Originally named Illinois Service Federal, the bank was renamed GN Bank in 2018.
The Harbor Bank of Maryland Baltimore
Liberty Bank & Trust Company
The goal of the Liberty Bank & Trust Company is to help people attain freedom through its various locations. Originally founded in 1972, this bank in the Greater New Orleans remains one of the largest Black-owned institutions in the country.
Mechanics & Farmers Bank
OneUnited holds the distinction of being the largest Black-owned bank in the country, and offers its vast clientele products the align with the dream of realizing wealth like a Solidarity Card, BankBlack Card, and mobile banking app. This bank believes that not only do Black lives matter, but so does Black money.
The only Black-owned bank in South Carolina, this bank was founded in 1921 under the name Victory Savings Bank. The bank was renamed Optus Bank in 2019 and reached a milestone of reaching $200 million in profitability and assets in 2020.
Tri-State Bank of Memphis
Memphis' only Black-owned banking institution was founded in 1946 by the late Dr. J.E. Walker and his son, the late A. Maceo Walker, who shared a vision of creating a bank that could change community conditions.
United Bank of Philadelphia
This bank services the greater Philadelphia area with a special interest in Black, Hispanic, Asian, and women communities. The bank was founded in 1992 by Emma C. Chappell, who passed away at the age of 80 in 2020. Her mission was to improve banking in underserved communities.
Unity National Bank
This bank was founded in 1963 and serves as the only African-American owned banking institution in Texas. The bank is headquartered in Houston's Third Ward and has multiple branches in the greater Houston area.
For a complete list of Black-owned banks and credit unions, visit your local resources.