The systems of oppression being protested are all upheld by capital. Capital enables the powerful to maintain systems of systemic racism. The police state that terrorizes citizens and the politicians that are complicit, depend on capital. That capital is ultimately held by multinational banks, the same banks protestors keep their money in. Many are protesting in neighborhoods that have been gentrified, neighborhoods they can no longer access: those same banks furnished the capital to make it all possible. Protest is fine but ultimately, your commitment to the movement is gauged by where you put your money. Today, the only place you should be marching is to a Black owned banking institution.
Taking the step to bank Black is critical because banks are an anchor to prosperous neighborhoods. Homeownership is made possible by banks. The success of small and large businesses alike are tied to lines of credit, from banks. When you make deposits in banks, the expectation is that they will invest in your 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 your neighborhood. 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 you deposit your dollars, they make it possible for Black entrepreneurs to access capital and for renters to begin building wealth through homeownership.
The desire for strong Black communities is one Black people and Black banks share in common. Strong Black communities start with black businesses. Businesses, however, depend on capital from banks for everything from startup costs to meeting payroll. When Black banks are strong, they are better able to support Black businesses. We need our businesses to expand so that the owners become wealthy and also hire more Black people. Black banks certainly want that because in many cases they have loaned out money to those businesses; the bank’s survival depends on those businesses making good on their loans. As depositors in Black institutions, we can help by seeking out the businesses our banks are lending to and ensuring that they are prosperous. This will mean that businesses in our community are growing and hiring locally, as we support them. Our support also ensures that those businesses can pay back the bank: everyone wins.
March yourself to a bank today. Click here to find Black owned banks around the country. Also, get acquainted with the National Bankers Association. Founded in 1927 as the Negro Bankers Association, today, the association has expanded its membership to also include Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Native American and women – owned banks. Even so, they can provide the most current information on which banks maintain Black ownership and how you can help advocate for them. While you may not have a bank close to you, that shouldn’t matter: most of you haven’t been to a bank branch in years so let’s not act brand new. Online banking options are available and some institutions actually specialize in online banking. If it’s real, march to a bank and burn down the sources of capital that are funding your oppression.