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Email This Article  Printer Friendly Version Launches Black Bank Initiative (BBI) For Wealth Creation, Financial Literacy, and Community Development

How many of us realize that when we deposit money in a bank we are in effect making a loan to that institution? That’s right, some of us – with only tens of dollars, are loaning money, in a sense, to a billion-dollar corporation.

As odd as it may seem, this is the case because no bank – however large or small – simply watches over your bank deposit, like a security guard, making sure no one touches your cash. In fact it is quite the opposite – a bank takes your deposit and loans or invests it, earning money – hopefully for you and them - until you need to make a withdrawal.

This fundamental understanding of what a bank actually does, is essential to understanding what a bank actually is, and why the relationship between Black America and banks must change, if economic development and growth is to occur at a level of mass prosperity.

To many in Black America, in fact for far too many – discussions of Black economic development are lost in, confused by, or strangled through ideology. Calls to action overpowered by rigid ideology and abstract intellectual debate (among other factors) have rendered previously powerful concepts and phrases like ‘buy black’ and ‘do for self,’ increasingly less potent and effective.

As a result, the science of business, the power of culture, and the principles of economics, which hold the key to improving the socioeconomic condition of millions of people are marginalized and minimized.

And cooperative economics becomes trivialized – as something to be romanticized and idealized, remembered as a history lesson, but rarely applied in a practical or relevant way.

However, every single time we deposit money in a bank we are practicing cooperative economics.

We are pooling our financial resources with people we do not even know, entrusting the proper use of that money to other individuals who we will probably never meet, in an unspoken agreement that leaves all parties involved confident that when they want their money back it will not only be available, but that it likely will be more valuable.

The simplicity of this arrangement is missed by too many of us.

And as a result some of the very same individuals in the Black community who say that we as a people are incapable of practicing cooperative economics, don’t realize that each and every one of us with a bank account is doing just that - often as part of someone else's business model.

It is with that context, and with that insight – that the bank, (with the possible exception of the family unit), is perhaps the ultimate example of cooperative economics - that we at ( are proud to launch our Black Bank Initiative for Wealth Creation, Financial Literacy, and Community Development (

Beyond promoting this cause with words, our Initiative launches with an endorsement of a product offered by a Black-owned Bank - OneUnited Bank's Unity Gold E-Savings Account:

This endorsement is the first of many more to come with interested and progressive Black-owned lending institutions.

With this Initiative we hope to not only promote cooperative economics by encouraging Black Americans to form a closer relationship with their local commercial lending institution of choice, but also we hope to re-define what the concept of a bank is, so that all of us – as members of organizations or kinship systems – families, fraternities, sororities, religious institutions, community groups, and businesses – realize that we can informally pool our financial resources in incredibly powerful ways through such vehicles as investment clubs, and rotating credit associations.

In that sense each one of us can ‘bank’ with one another turning our family reunions, conventions, and gatherings into opportunities to support and create wealth with one another through loans to those in need, investments in our most promising entrepreneurs, and funds to our longest serving small businesses.

Through formal and informal ‘banking’ the possibilities are almost endless in how we can end poverty, create wealth, and develop our communities.

The Black Bank Initiative is not seeking to become another organization, duplicating the work of others.

Our insight is that Black America has enough organizations with the right mandate, message, and membership to accomplish all that we need. We have enough leaders and followers to take care of the business at hand.

What we lack is operational unity and follow-through.

What BBI is seeking to become is a catalyst and conscience for all of those individuals and organizations who know what they should be doing to serve the Black community, economically, and are not.

Through our effort:

- We will work to promote and support efforts to educate Black Americans of all ages into a deeper understanding of finance, business and economics.

- We will encourage Black Americans to ‘bank’ with one another through vehicles and traditions like investment clubs and rotating credit and savings associations, and through forums like family reunions, conventions, and conferences.

- We will work to challenge Black Americans who currently have no relationship with a Black commercial lending institution to form one.

- We will work to encourage our Black-owned banks to provide better customer service, broader services, and more innovative services to their clients, and to become more visible agents of community development in distressed urban and rural areas.

- We will work to make the Black community aware of available and innovative products and services offered by Black commercial lending institutions.

- We will work to encourage our numerous athletes, entertainers, politicians, community leaders, and celebrities who come from the Black community to open savings and checking accounts at Black-owned banks and promote their fans and supporters to do the same.

- We will work to encourage a better and closer relationship between Black entrepreneurs and small business owners and Black-owned lending institutions.

None of the above, however can be accomplished without the individual enthusiasm, will-power, and commitment of not only the members of the ‘Business and Building’ Community, but also that of all of us who sincerely desire change for the better in our struggling communities.

There is no such thing as something for nothing, or living life on a luxury basis, without pain and sacrifice. And there will be no such thing as progress in the important areas of financial literacy, wealth creation, or community development without the same principle at work.

But through unity we have all we need to succeed.

Please get better acquainted with what we are striving to accomplish at our official website:

And let us know how we can serve and work with you.

Cedric Muhammad
July 23, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

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