black banks

‘Buy Black, Bank Black' Went From Protest Chant to Strategic Banking for People of Color

The 'Bank Black' movement is a conscious move from consumers of color looking to support Black economic power, especially when it comes to the choice of where to keep their money.

“Buy Black! Bank Black!”

The chant was heard frequently over the course of 2020 during protests and conversations surrounding racial justice in America. It turns out it was more than just a chant. Over the past year, Black banks have a notable uptick in interest on the heels of this social movement.

“We’ve seen more than 30 million dollars of new deposit relationships come to us through large corporate partners, non-profit organizations and customers over the past few months,” said Michael Pugh, CEO and President of Carver Bank. “I can tell you that it’s at least a forty percent increase above where we’ve seen our historical trends.”

The 'Bank Black' movement is a conscious move from consumers of color looking to support Black economic power, especially when it comes to the choice of where to keep their money.

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“Customers are now thinking about, ‘Okay, how do I support the ecosystem of my own community?’” Pugh said. “Well, when talking about economic empowerment, it first has to start with our own financial choices and things we that we decide in terms of how we spend our dollars or [where we] place our dollars.”

Some Black consumers, like Tennille Patterson, have taken it a step further. The New York resident not only plans to bank Black, she contributed to the growth of banks like Carver in another meaningful equitable way: by purchasing stock.

“It made sense to me because it was part of my plan, like, buy some stock and then later go and open an account,” Patterson said. “I felt like at least I was doing something by having a stock and contributing to [Carver’s] growth that way.”

“Banking Black, buying Black, that’s not a new thing for me, that’s not a trend. My people just deserve better,” she said. “We can teach ourselves how to be better with money each day, but when we start valuing what it can do for us and the opportunity it creates for ourselves, our future, our kids and our community, we’ll be way better off.”

Watch the video above by LX storyteller Ngozi Ekeledo as she dives deeper into the Bank Black movement and the history behind these Black-owned and operated financial institutions.