What's Cool Now? Black. Owned. Banks.
Ok, So...I achieved a milestone on Saturday. I visited a black-owned bank!
My friend asked, "Are you going to blog about it?" Uh. Yea. How many people even know we have black-owned banks? How many know that we have more than 1 black-owned bank?
A Washington Post article reports that there were 25 Black-owned American banks in 2014. There were 48 in 2001, according to the FDIC. Eek: Check out the article here. We need to make having a black-owned bank account one of the new "It" things.
Yo Man, you heard about that black-owned bank on La Tijera? Ay Man, that's cool, but I bank with Chase. You should check it out. Aight.
We always hear people say that black people don't own anything! And by anything, they usually mean something kinda sorta important like: the military, law enforcement, government, big business, the arts, schools, religion (yea, I said religion), our beauty supply stores and anything else that contributes to the infrastructure of society.
Bottomline: it's capital "T' True that there are no uber-wealthy Black-American Rockefellers, Carnegies, Edisons, Morgans, and Fords (although I am sure I have a check waiting for me somewhere...I may hit up Ancestry.com...). But this can change! We own banks! I don't know the ins-and-outs of owning a bank, but let me tell you something: that is quite a feat! We have power in some capacity, and this power has not yet been destroyed by the powers that be. Ya mean?
OneUnited Bank. Located on Crenshaw Blvd. near Rodeo Rd. in the predominately Black Leimert Park neighborhood. A neighborhood known for its rich culture. My boyfriend and I particularly love the Park's black-owned restaurants and businesses. It was in this Park that he taught me that I, as a human being, could chew on tree bark and enjoy it.
^^^It was not like this. He paid $1 for each tree bark, and guys! It has this lingering sweet flavor as you chew on it. Yum, yum, tree bark! Trying to not digress so much. The point I am trying to make is that in this neighborhood that I like so very much because of its tree bark offerings, stands OneUnited Bank.
Your question might be, "What is a Black-owned bank like?" To which I could respond in several ways, one of which could be "You're kind of prejudiced because no one ever asks 'what is a white-owned bank like?'" OR "Let me just tell you what my experience was like." I am going to take the latter road.
**Yes, they had the old school station on.**
Not much to say except I was jammin' to "Brick House" as I was waiting in that long ass line.
**It was diverse.**
But instead of me focusing on how I was the "only black person" in line, I noticed other differences about their customers, and this was freeing.
There was one lady on the phone speaking in an African language. One older man with a white linen suit and a sailor hat (huh?). One light-skinned older lady with a super cute short curly haircut. Everyone's grandma was there, sweet and thankful there's a place for her to sit down while her "grandson" takes care of business. A 6-foot-something man with a faux leopard cowboy hat with a drawstring (I don't have to describe the rest of the outfit).
And then...a White lady walked in, and I was startled.
I was wondering what she was doing there, and then I thought, "Do white people get startled when I walk into Wells Fargo?" This is one of those things that make you go "MMmmmm..."
The "white lady" actually turned out to be a super light-skinned black lady. Don't ask me how I knew for sure, but I knew, if you know what I mean.
For one of the few times in my life, I didn't think about my race. Is this what you HBCU-ers experience? 'Cuz damn. That's awesome.
Oh! And it was glorious to see a few Latinos come in and out as well.
**Free Coffee** And it was good.
My Wells Fargo branch doesn't supply free coffee. Yeah, that's shade. So what.
**All of the staff were black** (At least on this particular day that I visited) I don't want to make assumptions, but I was able to handle business with a woman that "looked like me" or whatever. She and I had no resemblance whatsoever, but it was nice to speak with another woman of color in general.
**The Bank is a member of FDIC** Duh. This was really for the haters aka crabs in the barrel.
**You can set up an account online** Booyah!
Conclusion: It was a regular bank with some cultural sparkle to it (and free coffee).
At least consider researching this bank and other black-owned banks. We Black Americans own something: BANKS, which is a big deal. Let's invest in them, hence invest in ourselves, and support them. I'm not asking you to support a Black-owned bank because it's Black. I'm asking you to support it because you're Black. You don't have to put all of your eggs in one basket. Most people have more than one banking institution. Be one of them.
OR at the rate that black-owned banks are closing, we really won't own anything. For reals.