Saturday, March 25, 2017

US Black Chamber/Liberty Bank Credit Card

With interest rates set to increase throughout 2017, we think it a good idea to apply for credit now. In that vein, we recently reviewed the US Black Chamber/Liberty Bank VISA credit card.
Key features of the card are:
  • Rates as low as 9.96% APR (for qualified borrowers)
  • Limits from $1,000 - $10,000 UNSECURED
  • Travel accident and auto rental insurance
  • Worldwide ATM Access
Apply online at:
Use code - USBC2

For a video describing our perspective on the card, click on the image above or see:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Atlanta Fed Names Bostic New President and Chief Executive Officer

"ATLANTA—Raphael W. Bostic will become the 15th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta effective June 5, 2017, announced Thomas A. Fanning, chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Bostic, age 50, succeeds Dennis Lockhart, who retired from the Atlanta Fed on Feb. 28, 2017. The appointment was jointly approved by eligible directors of the Atlanta Fed's board of directors, all nonbankers by law, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.

Photo of Raphael W. BosticBostic is currently the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC), a position he has held since 2012.

"We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and chief executive officer," said Fanning, who is also chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company. "He is a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia. Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams. He is a perfect bridge between people and policy."

From 2009 to 2012, Bostic served as assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In that Senate-confirmed position, Bostic was a principal adviser to the secretary on policy and research, with the goal of helping the secretary and other principal staff make informed decisions on HUD policies and programs, as well as on budget and legislative proposals.

Bostic arrived at USC in 2001. There, he served as a professor in the School of Policy, Planning and Development. His work spans many fields, including home ownership, housing finance, neighborhood change and the role of institutions in shaping policy effectiveness. He was director of USC's master of real estate development degree program and was the founding director of the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast.  He served the Lusk Center for Real Estate as the interim associate director from 2007 to 2009 and as the interim director from 2015 to 2016.

Bostic worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1995 to 2001, serving as an economist and then a senior economist in the monetary and financial studies section, where his work on the Community Reinvestment Act earned him a special achievement award. While working at the Federal Reserve, he served as special assistant to HUD's assistant secretary of policy development and research in 1999, and also was a professional lecturer at American University in 1998.

Bostic was born in 1966 and grew up in Delran, New Jersey. A high school valedictorian, he graduated from Harvard University in 1987 with a combined major in economics and psychology—disciplines he believes are intimately interrelated. After a brief stint in the private sector, Bostic earned his doctorate in economics from Stanford University in 1995.

Bostic serves as a board member of Freddie Mac, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Abode Communities. He is a fellow of the National Association of Public Administration, vice president of the Association of Public Policy and Management, a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, and a research advisory board member of the Reinvestment Fund.

As president of the Atlanta Fed, Bostic will lead one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, with the Board of Governors, make up the Federal Reserve System, the nation's central bank. The Atlanta Fed is responsible for the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida and Georgia and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. As its key functions, the Atlanta Fed participates in setting national monetary policy, supervises numerous banking organizations and provides a variety of payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government. Bostic will have overall responsibility for these functions and will represent the Sixth Federal Reserve District at meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking body within the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy for the nation."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Summary of recent news articles on black-owned banks 09/12/16-09/23/16

Boosting A Black Bank. By Karen Morales, Bay State Banner. September 21, 2016.
In less than a month, $10 million in deposits were added at OneUnited, and customer activity “continues to be at elevated levels,” said Teri Williams, President of OneUnited Bank. She said the movement is a way to create change by not only moving your money but also moving your mind or changing your mindset. Williams believes that the #BankBlack movement can be a public reminder that black-owned banks and businesses offer the same quality service as any other company.

Past & Present: The 'Black Money Matters' Movement. By Robert E. Weems Jr., KMUW 89.1 Wichita Public Radio. September 20, 2016.
While the Black Money Matters Movement is a favorable development in the context of African American business history, the past several decades have been disastrous for many historic black enterprises. As recently as the 1960s, there were more than 50 viable black insurers in the United States. Today, that number has dwindled to just two, and will be zero by the end of this decade based upon recent trends.

The president of the National Bankers Association Michael Grant says opening accounts in Black banks is a great first step for African Americans to achieve financial independence. And next, the Black bankers have a responsibility to teach banking 101 to the masses. The more home equity loans are used to create new businesses or to expand existing ones, the more jobs (and job training) these businesses can provide. The bank’s increased lending capacity is how we begin growing the collective wealth of the community.

How #BankBlack Could Help Narrow the US Wealth Gap. By Eliza Lambert, The Takeaway, Public Radio International. September 15, 2016.
The #BankBlack hashtag revolution has grown black-owned banks’ assets by about $6 million. The President of OneUnited Bank Teri Williams says, “What it really has meant is that the black community is finally coming to recognize the power of our spending dollars.” Mehrsa Baradaran, the author of the book “The Color of Money: A History of Black Banking”, calls black-owned banks “the engines of wealth growth in the black community”, and the only ones trying to make a dent in the wealth gap.

Some Residents Support Black-owned Bank. By Alva James-Johnson, Ledger-Enquirer. September 13, 2016.
The local organizing committee of the Justice Or Else! Millions More March formed last year to promote the importance of supporting black businesses in the Columbus community. They put the next spotlight on the Columbus branch of Citizens Trust Bank, encouraging black residents to open accounts with the only black-owned bank in the city.

The Promise and Challenge of Moving Money Into Black-Owned Banks. By Gillian B. White, The Atlantic. September 12, 2016.
#Bankblack’s successes are certainly impressive, but making black-owned banks economically viable in the long term will require larger and more systemic change. Less than 50 years ago, legislation mandated that white banks serve black customers, exposing black-owned banks to far more powerful competitors. Since the Great Recession, smaller banks have objected to stricter compliance reporting and heightened capitalization standards. John Robinson said the revival of black-owned banks would require a massive change to the American banking system, which still favors the largest banking operations over community-based banks and credit unions.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Summary of recent news articles on black-owned banks 08/31/16-09/11/16

Black-owned Banks See Surge in Deposits. By Akilah Johnson, The Boston Globe. September 10, 2016.
The #bankblack movement has brought OneUnited Bank more than $10 million in deposits in less than a month. Black-owned banks across the country have struggled in recent years to keep pace with a changing world. William Michael Cunningham thinks having another #bankblack event with a failing black-owned bank won’t make a long-term difference. “The question becomes: How do you harness and channel the spending of the $1.1 trillion black buying power so you’re actually benefiting from it?” says Darnell Williams.

What’s Next if Payday Loans Go Away? By Tara Jeffries, Morning Consult. September 7, 2016.
The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulation aims to prevent borrowers from being stifled by high interest rates and monthly payments. Stronger regulation of payday lending could increase the use of financial technology such as online marketplace lending, said William Michael Cunningham. He also suggested, “CFPB should take some of that fine money that they’re getting from these financial institutions and create a fund to create responsible depository institutions serving some of these communities.”

How U.S. Backed Banks Robbed Ex-Slaves of $66 Million. By Admin, Huewire. September 1, 2016.
The Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company was established and run by white men in 1865 for ex-slaves. Due to fraud, mismanagement, and discriminatory lending, the bank closed in 1874, and 61,144 black depositors were robbed of the modern equivalent of $66 million. The failure of the bank left many African Americans distrustful of the white banking community. And it’s still harder for African Americans to get mortgages or small business loans compared to whites with the same variables. Usher and Booker T. Washington call on people to bank black. “Empowerment starts with ownership,” said Usher.

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street. By Alexia Fernández Campbell, The Atlantic. August 31, 2016.
The Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, once dubbed America’s “Black Wall Street”, was one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Richmond is where the first black banks opened. The first black bank, the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank opened here. But due to troubled loans and lack of capital, the bank was taken over in 2011, renamed as Premier Bank, and lost its African American majority ownership. The bank still mainly serves black community and gained preference of black entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What’s Next if Payday Loans Go Away?

Tara Jeffries from Morning Consult wrote about the payday loans regulation after her interview with William Michael Cunningham from Creative Investment Research, Inc.

"As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau prepares to finalize proposed rules cracking down on payday lenders, critics and proponents alike are speculating on what would fill the need for short-term, small-dollar loans. The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulation aims to prevent borrowers from being stifled by high interest rates and monthly payments. Stronger regulation of payday lending could increase the use of financial technology such as online marketplace lending, said William Michael Cunningham. He also suggested that CFPB should take some of that fine money that they’re getting from these financial institutions and create a fund to create responsible depository institutions serving some of these communities. Dennis Shaul, chief executive of the Community Financial Services Association of America, took aim Tuesday at the CFPB, saying it “buried and ignored” a slate of positive testimonials about payday loans. 

Click on to read the full story.

Friday, September 2, 2016

William Michael Cunningham to deliver fourth consecutive Texas Economic Forecast

WASHINGTON - Sept. 1, 2016 - PRLog -- The Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) will host its 16th Annual Conference in Austin, Texas on September 22-23.

"We are especially pleased that William Michael Cunningham will deliver his Texas Economic Forecast for the fourth consecutive year," said TAAACC President Charles O'Neal. Mr. Cunningham is a Washington, DC-based economist, author and business expert. "William's analysis and understanding of the dynamic Texas marketplace is always remarkably insightful, and he never makes his observations without offering solutions for the benefit of Texas Black-owned businesses. We are thrilled to be able to provide this invaluable presentation to conference attendees."

Mr. Cunningham's update follows his 2016 forecast, delivered at the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) previous Annual Conference in Austin, Texas September 24-25, 2015. As he noted at the time,

"Economic conditions in Texas are strong. Our research indicates that the economic recovery is finally getting to the most difficult to reach population segment, African Americans, those hardest hit by the crisis to begin with."

As reported in The Dallas Weekly on August 18, 2015. a presentation by Mr. Cunningham at TAAACC sparked successful Texas crowdfunding legislation.

RSVP at:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summary of recent news articles on black-owned banks 08/21/16-08/30/16

Black-owned banks tend to serve communities with weaker repaying ability that have been hardest hit by the financial crisis. This has led to black bank losses, and as larger banks expand to take market share in black communities, black-owned banks need to develop new business models to balance social mission and profitability.

Recent black community economic empowerment efforts have encouraged many African Americans to bank at black-owned banks and patronize black-owned business. The question is how can black-owned banks make this movement sustainable?

What Can Be Done to Save Black-Owned Banks? By Kevin Wack, American Banker. August 30, 2016.
Today there are 23 African-American-owned banks -- a 58% decline since 1994, faster than the decline of U.S. commercial banks. Cunningham projects that only four or five African-American-owned institutions will remain open in 2028. And he criticizes the federal regulators for failing to take greater advantage of new tools under the Dodd-Frank Act that were designed to increase diversity in the financial sector.

Illinois Widens Playing Field for Chicago’s Black Entrepreneurs. By Johnny Magdaleno, Next City. August 26, 2016.
On August 24, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced his state was widening the playing field for minority and women entrepreneurs by opening up applications for the first program aimed at business owners from disadvantaged communities, called Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship. The day after, he also held a ceremony to mark information technologies as Illinois’ first sheltered market. “African-American businesses are starting at an increasing rate, but the issue is they’re not profiting at an increasing rate,” Cate Costa, director of entrepreneurship at the Chicago Urban League says.

Is The Black Bank Movement A Fad Or Here To Stay? By Leoneda Inge, North Carolina Public Radio®-WUNC. August 26, 2016.
Mechanics and Farmers Bank, one of the oldest black-owned banks in the country is based in Durham, where bank officials report a rise in new accounts and in the #moveyourmoney movement to keep the momentum going. Maceo Sloan, who was the chairman and CEO of NCM Capital in Durham for many years, said “A hundred dollars is going to do nothing for their bank. What needs to happen, is that African Americans need to go take all their money out of all the other banks and put it in their black banks, that might make a difference.”

Another Black-Owned Bank Cements Over $1M in Deposits as #BankBlack Movement Continues. By Kiersten Willis, Atlanta Black Star. August 26, 2016.
Washington D.C.-based Industrial Bank crossed the $1 million mark when customers flocked to the institution. It earned $2.7 million in new deposits due to an increase in patronage by 1,500. Black Enterprise reported the surge is thanks to D.C.-area activists who launched #DivestToInvest. It encouraged African-Americans to support Black-owned banks. Industrial Bank’s achievement follows OneUnited Bank’s $10 million transfers in less than a month.

#BlackBizMatters: 3 Reasons to Bank Black. By Kali Wilder, Black Enterprise. August 25, 2016.
National Bankers Association President Michael Grant explains how banking black strengthens communities and small businesses. To bank black is a progressive way to vent frustrations. And more deposits in black-owned banks means more lending to small businesses in our community, therefore more jobs and more wealth. Finally it’s consciousness-raising. The movement is a great opportunity to teach people about economic education, how to spend and manage their money, and how to read contracts.