The rallying cry emerged after a summer that saw the nation, once again, engaged in discussions about race, policing, and inequality. Instead of just taking to the streets after the deaths of black men at the hands of police and the subsequent murder of officers, protesters were urged — through hashtags like #bankblack and #blackdollarsmatter — to deposit $100 each into black-owned banks. And for Boston-based OneUnited Bank, the nation’s largest black-owned bank, the impact of the “Bank Black” movement was almost immediate. The bank, which has struggled in recent years, added more than $10 million in deposits in less than a month, said Teri Williams, the bank’s president.
Banking in St. Paul is easy. Or at least when compared to Los Angeles, where David Reiling worked for First Interstate Bank fresh out of college. “The first two weeks I was there, the bank I was in got robbed three times,” Reiling said. That didn’t deter him, though. Reiling has made a career out of working in inner-city banks, finding his stride in developing communities through financial services. He’s been with St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks, which aims to bring financial empowerment to underserved populations, for 20 years. For the past 12 years he’s been CEO.
The number of community development banks is rising at a time when the ranks of other financial institutions are shrinking. The special-purpose banks — a subset of community development financial institutions — serve low- and moderate-income communities. By becoming CDFIs, banks — along with credit unions and other types of lenders — can apply for certain funding from the Treasury Department and other agencies.
First Southwest Bank and Bank of Anguilla discuss the reasons why they became CDFI certified banks and Jeannine Jacokes of the Community Development Bankers Association talks about the benefits of CDFI certification for the community banking industry.