started with an emotional cry from rapper Killer Mike in the wake of the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile:
“We need one million people in Atlanta to take $100 out of their existing accounts, put $100 into a Citizens Trust [Bank] account…take that $100 million and promise $15,000 to $18,000 loans for Black businesses or small homes,” the MC said on Atlanta’s Hot 107.9.
People not only tuned in to hear his call, they listened, launching a nationwide trend in which African American-owned banks are seeing significant increases in new accounts. This might mark the beginning of a new type of Black economic power movement encapsulated by simple social media hashtags like #BankBlack and #MoveYourMoney.
Killer Mike singled out the Atlanta-based Citizens Trust, an institution he publicly supported earlier this year through various events, but the rallying cry is positively affecting many other Black banks nationwide. It is also apparently deriving energy from the Black Lives Matter movement and from people who wish to have a tangible, long-lasting impact outside of demonstrations and marches.
Banks like Seaway Bank & Trust in Chicago, Commonwealth National Bank in Mobile, Ala., City National Bank in Newark, N.J. and Boston-based OneUnited Bank all say they are benefiting from the movement. Partly driven by Killer Mike’s call and also by the calls of other celebrities, including Solange Knowles and Jesse Williams, the point is for African Americans to be more aware of who holds their dollars.
The result with Citizens Trust alone has been 8,000 new applications in the space of a week and as many as 2,300 new accounts and growing, according to the bank’s president and CEO, Cynthia Day.
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