We’re continuing with our Success Spotlight Series featuring black-owned banks. This series highlights ideas, resources, and suggestions for doing your part in dismantling systemic racism. It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do, but that’s not the truth. Even if it something small, you can make a contribution. One way is to support black-owned banks. And so as part of this series we’ve been featuring the black-owned institutions throughout the United States.
Today, we’ll share about Unity National Bank, and also about the positive effects of patronizing black-owned financial institutions.
Here’s How We All Win When We Support Black-Owned Banks and Businesses
- It feeds black communities with positive, non -triggering stories. Our media is ladled with negative story after story about impoverished black communities, violence at the hands of police officers, and many other disparaging situations. This non-stop barrage of negativity can feel suffocating. We’re psychological beings and need balance. Within these communities and without, we all need to hear of stories and situations that feel good, positive, uplifting. Emerging black-owned banks, and even existing ones we didn’t know about, can serve as these beacons of positivity.
- Impact on the community. As mentioned in a previous Success Spotlight article, when a black-owned bank opens its doors in any community, it’s a sign of growth and empowerment. With less than 20 of the 10,000+ banks across the United States being black-owned, each of these black-owned financial institutions serves as a beacon of positivity. Banks are respected and valued pillars in a community. They’re a place people rely on and trust. When we build strong communities, we all win. Crime lowers, families prosper, and individuals feel freer to aspire to improved life circumstances.
- We start to rebalance wealth disparity in the United States. As of 2016, the average wealth of white families in the United States was $171,000. Compare that to the average wealth of black families, which was $17,600 (McKinsey). We’ve shared that data several times in this series because it’s that important. We all bear the responsibility to acknowledge these hard to swallow facts and then act to bring about change.
Now, let’s highlight the financial institution Unity National to understand their contribution to black empowerment.
Unity Nationals Mission and Brief History
“Unity National Bank, originally founded in 1963 and later chartered in 1985, is the only African-American owned banking institution in Texas. In February 1989, through a series of transactions and diligent efforts, it was acquired from Bay Bancshares by local minority leaders. Dr. Kase Lawal, Chairman & CEO of Erin Energy, serves as Chairman of the Board.
Our lending program has always been geared toward helping to rebuild our community and, therefore, we continue to stress mortgage loans (through a third party partnership) to those individuals who express an interest in financing for their primary residence. Our main focus is commercial loans but we continue to provide loans for retail customers.”
But Unity’s work doesn’t stop with their lending. They work with a multitude of community organizations locally and nationwide to make a difference in the community.
They offer a host of personal services, including:
Checking and savings accounts
Lines of Credit
Checking and savings accounts
2602 Blodgett St.
Houston, Texas 77004
1661 Texas Parkway
Missouri City, Texas 77489
92 Peachtree Street S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Consider Being Alliance-Focused
We can learn a lot from Unity’s focus on building alliances:
‘Alliances are key to the success of minority banks. Our bank has been greatly strengthened by alliances with entities such as the National Bankers Association (NBA), Texas Bankers Association (TBA), The Independent BankersBank (TIB), Shell Oil Company, Amegy Bank, Cadence Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, just to name a few. Unity will continue to seek out new alliances with other entities whose desire is to better serve minority communities.” –Unity National
Throughout this Success Spotlight Series, we’ve been asking readers questions to help spark intentional actions. Even if you decide not to support Unity National Bank, how can you be alliance-focused in your community? How can you support that approach to financial management? Perhaps there are organizations in your community you can support or form alliances with? The key is to decide to do something, to take a step. What will you choose to do?