United Bank of Philadelphia
United Bank of Philadelphia is committed to serving communities that have traditionally lacked sufficient access to banking services. The bank champions a “Cycle of Progress” where resources are continuously reinvested back into local businesses and neighborhoods. The cycle starts with inclusive practices that create opportunities for advancement, resulting in healthy, empowered communities. Strong communities foster progress, so the cycle can carry on and accelerate. United Bank of Philadelphia takes its community development role seriously and works to heighten their presence as a catalyst for wealth creation and economic development.
Emma C. Chappell, 80, of Philadelphia, who galvanized Black Americans around the country in 1992 when she opened United Bank of Philadelphia, died Tuesday, March 16, of complications due to sepsis at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media. Mrs. Chappell lived in Wynnefield Heights. She was the first Black woman to found a bank since Maggie Lena Walker established the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Va., in 1903. However, Mrs. Chappell was the first Black woman to charter a commercial bank in the country, said Joann Bell, cofounder of the Black Women's Leadership Council.
The recent #BankBlack social media campaign has brought black banking back into the national consciousness. The movement has inspired thousands of people across the country to transfer or deposit millions of dollars into black-owned banks for the first time. With this support, black-owned banks invest in urban communities, employ African Americans, and inspire black home ownership. For those considering making the change, here is a list of 13 banks to consider, including CDBA members United Bank, Industrial Bank, Harbor Bank of Maryland, Broadway Federal Bank, OneUnited Bank, Carver State Bank, First Independence Bank, GN Bank, and Metro Bank.
Sullivan Progress Plaza was the nation's first shopping center operated by African Americans when it was built in 1968 under the direction of the late Rev. Leon Sullivan. Additionally, United Bank of Philadelphia, the city's only African-American owned bank, has operated a branch in the center since 1999 and is one of the plaza's oldest tenants. "Progress Plaza has really been our mainstay," said Evelyn Smalls, president and CEO of United Bank. "It meant a lot to bank being there and at the same time having accessibility to clients that we were attempting to bring into the financial system in a consistent way."