The Country’s Last Black-Owned Banks Are in a Fight for their Survival

Capital Savings Bank, the first bank organized and operated by African Americans, was founded in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17, 1888. (Library of Congress)
Capital Savings Bank, the first bank organized and operated by African Americans, was founded in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17, 1888. (Library of Congress)

Michael A. Fletcher, THE WASHINGTON POST

 

(The Washington Post)—Capital Savings Bank opened shop in Washington in 1888, making it the nation’s first black-owned bank at a time when the mere notion of offering financial services to the African American community was a novel idea. Now black-run banks are in a fight for survival, even though many advocates argue that many African Americans remain starved for banking services.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. counted 25 black-owned banks remaining in the country last year, down from 48 in 2001. That decrease came even as the overall number of minority-owned banks increased slightly, going from 164 to 174. In addition, the majority of black-owned banks that remain open are on shaky ground and struggling to hold on in the face of the economic devastation that has ravaged many of their customers. Analysts say 60 percent of black-run banks lost money in 2013.

“I would venture to say that [the vast majority of black banks] are in varying degrees of trouble,” said Darrell Jackson, chief executive and president of Chicago’s Seaway Bank, a black-owned bank celebrating its 50th anniversary.

 

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