Category Archives: Banking & Credit Unions

From HBCU To Bank CEO: 4 HBCU Alums Help Lead America’s Black Bank Revival


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

What good is a pipeline if it is not used, promoted, strengthened? Going to an HBCU or graduating from is not the beginning or ending of the African American ecosystem, but it is a key part of it. Unfortunately, the data shows that African American intellect and labor (even HBCU graduates) are primarily being used to build up firms owned by other communities. Recent data from the US Census shows that it is likely that less than one percent of African Americans work for an African American owned firm. It stands to reason that the subdata for HBCU graduates working for an African American firm is likely to parallel.

If HBCU business schools are not being trained to run African American firms and the unique path that they face, then what is the point of having them? Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup all have CEOs that attended PWIs (shocker) and even more to the point, attended Ivy League colleges. It would be fair to say that of the almost 7,000 banking institutions in the United States, if you were to subtract out the African American owned banks, that 75 percent of those banks would not be being run by those who went to HBCUs. However, that is exactly what is happening in the African American banking and private sector in general. The vast majority of our institutions operating in isolation, not in conjunction with each other. HBCUs are not banking with, training for, or encouraging their graduates in choir with African American banks and private sector so therefore the institutional leadership at most of our financial institutions and private firms is using a playbook not tailored to our needs.

However, there does appear to some change on the horizon. OneUnited Bank, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and headed by one of the most powerful women in banking Teri Williams, although not an HBCU alum herself is showing herself to be a strong HBCU advocate, and the bank has two HBCUs banking with them in Roxbury Community College (MA) and Florida Memorial University (FL). Something that should lead to many future opportunities for graduates of the two institutions in the future both through internships and employment creating a future pipeline for more HBCU graduates to head up African American owned  firms. So who are the HBCU graduates sitting in African American owned banks c-suites helping lead the current #BankBlack revival that has seen millions of dollars in deposits over the past year?

Dr. Deborah A. Cole; Tennessee State University

As the president of Citizens Bank, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and noted as the oldest African American bank still in operation, Dr. Cole has led an impressive increase in the bank’s balance sheet with assets increasing 5.6 percent over 2016, third among the 20 AAOBs.

Ms. Jacquitta Powell Green; Alabama A&M University

A dual role, Ms. Green as she heads up Mobile, Alabama’s Commonwealth National Bank as CEO and Chairwoman of CNB Bancorp, the bank’s holding company. “Mrs. Green is the Vice President of Northside Exchange, which has offered financial services to the unbanked and underserved of the Mobile area for more than 30 years. In 2001, a national tax preparation franchise extended her an offer, and she established Envision Enterprises to offer unbiased and honest tax preparation services.”

Mr. James A. Sills, III; Morehouse College

Mr. Sills heads up one of the most prominent and well known brands among African American owned banks, Mechanics & Farmers’ Bank in North Carolina. The bank has changed its name to M&F Bank a few years ago in an effort to rebrand and attract a young demographic. “Prior to starting his own company in 2007, Mr. Sills was an Executive Vice President of MBNA America Bank (now Bank of America), the largest credit card institution in the world. In this capacity, he served as the Director of Corporate Technology Solutions for the $80 billion US Card Division.”

Ms. Evelyn F. Smalls; North Carolina Central University

Lastly, Ms. Smalls is the President and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia. The only HBCU graduate heading up a bank outside of the South. “With over 30 years experience in banking and community development, Mrs. Smalls is responsible for the leadership and management of the Bank including setting the direction of the organization, communicating its vision and adapting the culture and operations to achieve success. Her leadership helped transform the Bank’s strategic focus into a “Business Bank” to ensure small businesses have access to affordable loans through the SBA 7A program.”

 

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State Bank of Texas Acquires Seaway Bank & Trust: Black-Owned Banks Reduced To 20 Nationwide


The beginning of the year has not proven kind to African American owned banks in the past three years. To begin 2015, two African American owned banks closed their doors, followed by 2016 where North Milwaukee closed, and now Seaway Bank & Trust will exist in name only. Its deposits and assets were acquired in January 2017 by Sushil Patel, the president of the State Bank of Texas and part of the family that owns the acquiring bank. In an interview, Mr. Patel states on the potential dynamic of their ownership in the midst of the #BankBlack movement, “I’m not a black bank,” he says in an interview. “I’m not a white bank, but I’m definitely not a black bank.”

This means that within the last seven months as of January, $420 million in assets have been wiped from African American owned bank balance sheets. An amount that is equal to ten percent of all remaining African American owned bank assets. For perspective, US banks in total have approximately $15.3 trillion in assets. The loss of $1.5 trillion is an amount twice the initial size of the US bank bailout from the Great Recession. In other words, this hurts and it hurts bad.

For the full FDIC press release on Seaway Bank & Trust’s closure, click here.

Virginia State’s President Abdullah Leading By Example: Establishes Banking Relationship at VSU Credit Union


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In a release on Twitter, Kevin Davenport, Virginia State University’s Chief Financial Officer, announced that President Makolah Abdullah would be establishing a personal banking relationship with Virginia State University Federal Credit Union, which is the  fourth largest HBCU-based credit union with $8.6 million assets.

It is a move that is prominent after the massive banking black movement began last year. Noted web traffic to HBCU Money would spike anytime there was a police shooting last year to our African American Bank and Credit Union directories. Many African American owned banks and credit unions reporting thousands of accounts being opened and millions of dollars being moved as African Americans looked to take more ownership of their economic power. The movement also coupled with years of financial abuse by banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others towards the African American community.

The decision by President Abdullah is an important moment as college presidents tend to be more a more financially affluent group. Financially affluent African Americans have often been a group that has been missing among African American owned financial institutions as clients, leaving many institutions to try and survive by piecemealing less financially stable customers and contributing to decades of stagnant products and services offered. We hope this will spur many other HBCU presidents to move their banking relationships and continue to set the example for their students and our community that in order to build a stronger African American ecosystem our institutions, all of them, need our support, investment, and patronage.

Of course, the major missing piece is moving institutional accounts. HBCUs control billions in institutional money and could significantly enlarge the $10.4 billion that is now controlled by 339 African American owned banks and credit unions left. However, very few African American financial institutions are capable of handling institutional accounts. Currently, OneUnited Bank, the largest African American owned bank or credit union with $648 million in assets, has two HBCUs, Roxbury Community College and Florida Memorial as institutional clients. As the banks and credit unions become more stable with growing deposits from individuals, then they will be able to offer the more complex products that institutions and businesses need. So while President Abdullah maybe just one account, the halo effect could begin a second wave in the #BankBlack movement in 2017 and beyond.

 

Not Just Deposits But Shares: Buying A Stake In African America’s Publicly Traded Banks


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Editor’s Correction: Broadway Federal Bank located in Los Angeles, California is also publicly traded and information added below (July 19, 2016)

“But not only that, we’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank. We want a “bank-in” movement in Memphis. Go by the savings and loan association. I’m not asking you something that we don’t do ourselves at SCLC.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.

It has been noted here at HBCU Money that after every tragic death of an African American by a police officer our site spikes. The primary cause for that spike has been a search for African American owned banks and credit unions and it usually last for a few days, then there are marches, pacification, and all returns to normal as does our site’s traffic. After the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile though something changed and the current numbers say it may finally be the groundswell needed for a permanent paradigm shift in African America’s thought process of self-dependence and empowerment. Banks are the foundation of allowing a community, city, state, nation to control its money and circulate their dollars within the aforementioned entities. This has been at the root of African America’s problem with getting dollars to circulate within its community – simply put a lack of dollars within the financial institutions in the community. Deposits turn into loans and those loans turn into mortgages to increase African American home ownership, reduces predatory lending, and helps launch small businesses which translates into jobs and wealth in the community usually of the bank or credit union entity.

The shift has been profound as banks like Unity National Bank and Citizens Trust (featured here) are overwhelmed by the number of new accounts to the point that their staff simply can not process the volume. Lobbies are jam packed with African Americans moving their money. The seed is planted, but it can not stop there. Another leg of this has to be investing in these institutions from an ownership perspective. More demand for their shares will cause the institutions share prices to increase and increase the value of the company. This allows the company to expand, open new offices, hire more people, and eventually buy other banks. As it buys other banks, it can scale up and drive down cost, which it can then pass that savings on to customers. All of this is investment in our institutions leads to a cycle of economic independence and empowerment that begins to grow and feed on itself like a snowball rolling down hill.

Lastly, America has roughly 13 700 publicly traded companies, but there are only three African American owned public companies (0.02% of all American public companies) and two of them are banks. Below are there profiles. If you want to buy shares in these companies, visit our link on Opening A Brokerage Account.

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CITIZENS BANCSHARES CORPORATION

CEO: Ms. Cynthia N. Day, CPA (Above Right)

Ticker Symbol: CZBS

Citizens Bancshares Corporation operates as the holding company for Citizens Trust Bank that provides various commercial banking products and services. The company accepts commercial and consumer deposit accounts, such as non-interest bearing checking accounts, money market checking accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, individual retirement accounts, time certificates of deposit, sweep accounts, and regular savings accounts. Its loan products include consumer/installment loans, mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit, construction loans, commercial loans, and small business loans. The company operates seven full-service financial centers in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia; one full-service branch in Columbus, Georgia; one full-service branch in Birmingham, Alabama; and one full-service branch in Eutaw, Alabama. Citizens Bancshares Corporation was founded in 1921 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

M&F BANCORP

CEO: Mr. James H. Sills, III (Above Left)

Ticker Symbol: MFBP

M&F Bancorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Mechanics and Farmers Bank that provides consumer and commercial banking products and services in North Carolina. The company offers deposit products, including checking, savings, negotiable order of withdrawal, money market, and individual retirement accounts, as well as certificates of deposit. It also provides loans for real estate, construction, businesses, personal use, home improvement, and automobiles; and equity lines of credit, credit lines, consumer loans, and credit cards. In addition, the company offers safe deposit boxes, Internet and mobile banking services, traveler’s checks, notary services, and automated teller machine services, as well as electronic funds transfer services, such as wire transfers. It operates seven branch offices in Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina.

BROADWAY FEDERAL BANK

CEO: Wayne-Kent A. Bradshaw

Ticker Symbol: BYFC

Broadway Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Broadway Federal Bank, f.s.b. that provides savings and loan business services for low to moderate income communities in Southern California. The company accepts various deposit products, such as passbook savings accounts, checking accounts, NOW accounts, money market accounts, and fixed-term certificates of deposits. It also provides loan products, including multi-family mortgage, commercial real estate, single family mortgage, church, construction, commercial, and consumer loans. It operates three full service branches comprising two in the city of Los Angeles and one in the city of Inglewood, California. The company was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Source: Company profiles provided by Yahoo Finance.

African American Banks Reduced To 21 – North Milwaukee State Bank Closes


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The state of Wisconsin has lost one of its two African American owned banks. North Milwaukee State Bank, which was almost three times the size of Wisconsin’s other African American owned bank, Columbia Savings & Loan Association, officially had its doors shutdown on March 11, 2016. It is one of only two American bank failures in 2016 thus far.

Per the FDIC, “To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Raleigh, North Carolina, to assume all of the deposits of North Milwaukee State Bank.” First-Citizens Bank & Trust is controlled by a bank holding company, First Citizens Bancshares, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. Its primary shareholders are the Holding family and Fidelity Investments.

For the entire FDIC official release click here.

The closure takes $67.1 million in assets and $61.5 million in deposits off the books of African American owned banks as a collective.