Special to the New Journal and Guide
According to the Finder Website, there are 42 Black-owned banks and financial institutions in the United States.
The largest and the most aggressive is OneUnited Bank. Recently it announced its new Empowerment Network, with more surcharge-free ATMs than any other bank in the country.
“A historic moment is in effect during Black History Month as the nation’s largest Black-owned bank launches the nation’s largest surcharge-free ATM network,” a recent press release from the company said.
OneUnited now has over 100,000 surcharge-free ATMs, including Chase Bank and Citibank branches and neighborhood retailers such as 7-Eleven, Costco, CVS, Target, and Walgreens. OneUnited officials noted the Black bank continues to break records to empower customers with better access to their money.
The Empowerment Network also includes OneUnited Card Command to empower customers with more control over their OneUnited Bank Visa® Debit Card.
Customers can instantly turn on-and-off their cards, get real-time transaction notifications, add their cards to their digital wallet, set travel plans, and even set spending limits in the mobile banking app.
Teri Williams, the President & Chief Operating Officer of OneUnited Bank, said, “We listened to our customers who want better access and more control over their money. We’re proud to make history by offering the Empowerment Network, the nation’s largest surcharge-free ATMnetwork, while also providing better card controls through OneUnited Card Command. Quite frankly, we’re elevating the ‘Bank Black’ Movement by offering best-in-class services and state-of-the-art technology to better meet customer needs.”
In 1865, the first bank serving Black people was established. It was called Freedman’s Savings Bank in Washington, D.C., which opened 37 branches in 17 states and had 67,000 depositors. It came under the control of white financiers, who used the bank’s resources to fund speculative investments, losing the life savings of thousands of Black depositors.
Between 1888 and 1934, 134 Black-owned banks were formed to help the Black community overcome challenges and serve as an important source of credit while also providing training and jobs.
At one time, five of them were in Norfolk, Virginia. Hampton, Portsmouth, Richmond, Newport News, Petersburg and other locales had Black Banks today.
Today there is only one Black-owned Bank in Virginia, the Virginia State University Federal Credit Union.
This institution got its start as the Virginia State College Federal Credit Union in 1938. It has since expanded over the years and was granted permission to change its name to Virginia State University Federal Credit Union in 1979.
There is only one branch in South Chesterfield, VA.
Today according to the Finder website, most of the existing Black-owned financial institutions are located in southern states. Georgia has six, New York five, and Texas has four.