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Published on July 15, 2021

What You Need to Know About the #BankBlack Movement

One of the co-founders of Greenwood, Killer Mike has become one of the faces of Black banking, the #bankblack movement and push for financial empowerment in communities of color. An Atlanta based rapper, entrepreneur and financial activist, Killer Mike is now a leading voice of the Black banking conversation with the goal of empowering Black and Brown communities economically. 

Killer Mike’s activism isn’t new and his music has allowed him to discuss a wide range of issues impacting Black and Brown communities. Killer Mike’s candor and passion are a driving force behind the projects that he says “yes” to and that passion has helped get Greenwood in front of the people that he’s trying to serve with this project. 

Greenwood is the result of his passion for financial empowerment. Killer Mike recognized that African-Americans would be unable to grow wealth without access to financial institutions that would actually recognize the importance of the role of Black banking in building wealth. 

What is the Bank Black movement?

Banking is at the heart of the majority of financial decisions. Whether it is to open an account to save money for the long run, have access to a checking account for daily transactions or applying for a mortgage factor heavily in the development of wealth in most communities. 

The #bankblack movement has 3 main components:

  • Broaden awareness of the existence of Black banks and why they are so important as a wealth building tool for people of color.
  • Encourage people to #bankblack. Opening accounts in these institutions expands their reach, grows the assets available for these institutions to lend to their members and solidifies the overall health of those banks. 
  • Increase the circulation of dollars in Black and Brown communities through spending and other types of investments such as homeownership. Black borrowers are more likely to experience favorable lending outcomes from lending institutions of color. 

One of the most exciting aspects of the #bankblack movement is how social media has been leveraged to increase awareness of the importance of Black banks in building wealth. In order to build wealth that includes homeownership access to lending is at the heart of growing Black wealth. Homeownership plays a significant role in building long-term wealth. 

The Urban Institute found that Black ownership gains have been completely lost since the 2000s. The #bankblack movement also seeks to educate and navigate around the following financial roadblocks.  

  • Many Americans may be unaware of the fact that there are numerous home deeds across the United States that still won’t allow for properties to be sold to Black homebuyers or other people of color. 
  • Up to 80 percent of African-American borrowers denied a mortgage product. These denials may happen due to a simple disclosure of one’s race during the initial application process, data aggregated from the current zip code of the borrower or implicit bias on behalf of the bank official. 

 

If you’re searching for more details on the history of Black banking, then the following book is a helpful guide “The Color of Money Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap” by Mehrsa Baradaran. This book examines the historical role of Black banking in building wealth and how political policies were created to subvert the growth of wealth in Black communities. 

Greenwood

Killer Mike recognized that communities were being underserved in banking and that numerous lending and credit decisions were being impacted by implicit bias. Greenwood recognized that bias and looked to provide better access to financial tools with that in mind. 

In a recent video, CNN Video Killer Mike makes the observation that many lenders have a lack of understanding of how cash flows in Black communities. This was based on understanding the role of different businesses within the Black community such as the barbershop. 

Killer Mike’s passion for financial empowerment is important because he is relatable in a way that many people who talk about money are not.  His experience as an entrepreneur also has given him insight into gaps in access to banking products that people of color may need but aren’t aware of.

  • Online banking tools broaden access to financial products in underrepresented communities when there aren’t bricks and mortar banks in their neighborhoods.
  • Providing educational information and content uniquely crafted with the lived  experiences of people of color in mind. 
  • Creating an inclusive platform that assumes that Black and Brown customers have money to save, spend and invest. Validating the financial lives of undervalued communities.

Black Wall Street and Greenwood

Killer Mike is clearly onto something. The 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre was on May 21, 2021. For many people, the discovery of numerous economically driven race massacres was surprising information.  

The current conversation about building Black and Brown finances is deeply entrenched in this recently remembered history. Will technology become the driving force of a financial renaissance spearheaded by innovative thought leaders such as Killer Mike? 

 

Uniquely positioned in Atlanta, GA arguably the heart of African-American entrepreneurship, creativity and money. It’s clear that Killer Mike and his co-founders are on to something big. Having raised over $40 million and with 100,000’s of future users waiting for Greenwood to go “live” it’s clear that Killer Mike and his co founders will continue to be a part of the conversation around empowering people of color with money and the need for inclusion in money spaces.  

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