Industrial Bank exists because banks in Washington, DC simply wouldn’t serve Black people. It was originally founded in 1913 but closed in 1932. In 1934 it was reopened by Howard alumnus, Jesse Mitchell. For over 80 years the company has made it their priority to serve the community and provide capital to Black homeowners and entrepreneurs, when others wouldn’t. Industrial Bank has five banking centers in Washington and two in the immediate Maryland suburbs. With its recent acquisition of City National Bank of New Jersey, Industrial Bank is on the move — it has added two new locations in Newark and one in Harlem.
Newark and Harlem can expect a true partner in Industrial Bank. Washington has a rich history of vibrant Black business and home ownership and Industrial Bank has played no small role, historically. The bank’s business model is one that is sharply focused on investing in the community. In fact, the company reinvests more than 60 percent of its assets back into the community every year. Through the company’s sound financial practices and commitment to community, Industrial Bank has managed to survive lean economic times and while other banks folded during the financial crisis, they remain strong. With this latest acquisition it is clear that now is the time for growth.
Black owned banks are beyond necessary. Banks are an anchor to prosperous neighborhoods. Homeownership is, by and large, made possible by banks. The success of small and large businesses alike are tied to lines of credit from banks. When we make deposits in banks, we expect them to then invest in our community and provide opportunities locally. The problem with multinational banks is that while they may take your deposits in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, they will often invest in Dubai or use your cash to play in the Wall Street casino. That doesn’t help our community. Black banks, however, are local and as such their primary business is to invest in the communities they serve. Further, because the bulk of their clientele is also Black, these institutions play a critical role in providing capital to Black entrepreneurs and homeowners. As we deposit our dollars, they make it possible for Black entrepreneurs to access capital and for renters to begin building wealth through homeownership.
Where do you bank and what community benefits from your deposits? We need strong Black financial institutions, if we are to have strong Black communities. Industrial Bank is truly an institution worth investing in and this latest acquisition is a clear indication of the bank’s vibrancy. Washington has benefited from Industrial Bank’s presence for over 80 years and now Newark and Harlem will have the same opportunity to prosper, as the community banks with a true community partner.
Full disclosure: the author is a customer of Industrial Bank