MinorityBank Blog

Recent Activity in the Black Banking Sector

We’ve seen a lot of changes in the Black banking sector of late. With the announcement that a Black-led investor group plans to acquire Holladay Bank & Trust in Holladay, Utah, the proposed creation of a credit union by Alpha Kappa Alphathe nation’s oldest Black sorority, the public debut of a Black-owned bank (Adelphi Bank) in Columbus, Ohio, and the unconfirmed identification of two new Black banks (Tioga-Franklin Savings Bank in Philadelphia, PA, and Grand Bank for Savings, FSB, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi), activity in the Black banking sector has increased dramatically.

This recent growth may be the result of increased funding for Black banks following the $71 billion  corporations pledged for Black Lives Matter following the George Floyd incident. Longer term, even if we confirm the African American ownership of Tioga-Franklin and of Grand Bank for Savings, there are still only 21 Black banks, representing 4 tenths of one percent of 4,706 total commercial banks and savings banks in the US as of 12/2022, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). 

Despite these developments, as I noted in 2019, banking regulators have a history of neglecting the banking needs of the Black community, and by extension, the country. Even now, black banks remain too small and too weak to have a significant economic impact.

Given recent activity, I still think it viable for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve Board to purchase mortgage-backed securities (MBS) originated by black banks as part of open market operations. I first suggested this in 1994 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Since the 2006 financial crisis and 2020 pandemic, the Fed has purchased trillions in securities, helping white-owned banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies auto companies, and investment banks survive. 

The solution to the Black banking impact crisis is to have the Fed, via the FOMC, create a Black bank liquidity pool totaling at least $50 billion. The pool’s focus should remain on purchasing Treasury, MBS securities and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan pools from Black ownership verified banks. To administer this new effort, I suggest having the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency help the Fed make loans to Black banks instead of simply making short and intermediate term loans to large non-minority banks, as is currently the practice of the FOMC. This would provide an estimated $450 to $500 billion dollar boost, positively impacting both the Black community and the US economy. 

Wells Fargo Consent Decree Average Penalty: $336 Per Account

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) “incorrectly applied loan payments, erroneously imposed certain fees and charges, incorrectly repossessed customers’ vehicles, and failed to refund certain unearned fees on debt cancellation products; (ii) with respect to home mortgage servicing, incorrectly denied mortgage loan modifications to certain qualified borrowers; and (iii) with respect to consumer deposit accounts, improperly froze or closed customer accounts, improperly charged certain overdraft fees, and did not always waive monthly account service fees consistent with its disclosures.”

CFPB Wells Fargo Accounts and Fines.
Number of Accounts and Fines Assessed according to the Wells Fargo Consent Decree.

While CFPB claims to have fined WFB $3.7 billion, a review of the consent order released by the Agency reveals several discrepancies. The average penalty per account totaled $252.35 excluding penalties for mortgage servicing errors. These mortgage errors, while substantially higher, applied to fewer than 3.500 accounts.

According to the CFPB, 11 million auto loan accounts generated an average of $118 in penalties per loan account. CFPB indicated they have fined WFB a total of $3.7 billion. This is an average penalty of $336 per account.

See: November 20, 2018. Time to clean house at Wells Fargo.   https://www.impactinvesting.online/2018/11/time-to-clean-house-at-wells-fargo.html

Waters is right to make Wells Fargo a poster child for bad practices. William Michael Cunningham. March 11, 2020. https://www.impactinvesting.online/2022/06/bankthink-waters-is-right-to-make-wells.html

Jury Hits Wells Fargo With $3.5 Million Lending Discrimination Class Action Verdict. March 24, 2011. https://www.impactinvesting.online/2011/03/jury-hits-wells-fargo-with-35-million.html

Wells Fargo sued for racially biased lending, again. August 09, 2009. https://www.impactinvesting.online/2009/08/wells-fargo-sued-for-racially-biased.html

What is the State of Black Maternal Mortality? How can we improve it?

Research firm Creative Investment Research launched an impact investing vehicle calling on the Federal Reserve to create a funding facility to reduce Black maternal mortality.

  • Almost $35 million in venture capital funding has gone to Black women-founded maternal health startups, but the number is negligible compared to investment in overall healthcare technology. 
  • Maternal healthcare startups like Wolomi, which do not have VC backing, are underfunded but still leading the charge to improve the pregnancy journey for Black and brown birthing people.

Lakeland Bank Shows Signs of “Redlining” Newark

Logo for Lakeland Bank, NJ.

Provident Financial Services has entered a $1.3 billion deal to buy Lakeland Bancorp, which disclosed an ongoing fair lending investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Provident Financial Services in Iselin, New Jersey, is pursuing a $1.3 billion deal for a rival, Lakeland Bancorp, despite concerns over commercial real estate concentrations and an ongoing fair-lending investigation of Lakeland by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lakeland disclosed the existence of the Justice Department investigation Tuesday in an 8-K Current Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lakeland said it has “cooperated fully” and is in settlement talks. The company added that it “expects such settlement to be generally comparable to other recent DOJ fair lending settlements.”

The $10.4 billion-asset Lakeland, of Oak Ridge, New Jersey, said it could be asked to strengthen policies, procedures and training, boost community outreach and establish a mortgage subsidy fund as part of a potential resolution.

The Justice Department had not responded to a request for comment at deadline.

William Michael Cunningham, an economist and the CEO of Creative Investment Research in Washington, D.C., was more critical. The settlement Lakeland expects, he said, is “really just a fine.”

“That’s the issue with fair-lending laws,” Cunningham said. “They don’t impact a bank’s operation in the least.”

See: https://www.impactinvesting.online/2022/09/lakeland-bank-shows-signs-of-redlining.html


According to The Inflation Reduction Act and the Black Community, August 2022 report by Creative Investment Research, the figure represents spending and tax rebates that could flow back into the Black community over nine years. The nearly $740 billion health care, tax, and climate bill became a law after President Joe Biden signed it last month. Collectively, the legislation is expected to bring relief to millions of Americans, including Blacks. For more, see: https://www.blackenterprise.com/report-inflation-reduction-act-could-bring-black-americans-22-3-billion-economic-impact/

Black Family Buying House
Image: iStock/David Sacks. From Black Enterprise Magazine,

The U.S. Economy Improved in the Second Quarter of 2022

GDP growth, 2022

The U.S. economy improved in the second quarter of 2022. Real GDP fell by 0.9% in Q2 after falling 1.6% in the first. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE), the value of the goods and services purchased by, or on the behalf of, “persons” who reside in the United States, increased $181.1 billion (1.1 percent). The PCE price index, which measures changes in the prices of goods and services purchased by US persons increased 1.0 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.6 percent. Real Personal Consumption increased 0.1 percent.

Despite the negativity in the media, this is a positive indicator. Whether it remains a good sign depends on future economic policy. The Fed may get its “soft landing” after all.

Minority Bank Assets, by Group, 2001-2021

Minority Bank Assets, 2001 to 2021
The chart above shows minority bank assets by ethnic group. Source: FDIC.

The chart above shows minority bank assets by ethnic group, by year from 2001 to 2021. It details Hispanic bank assets falling relative to Asian bank assets starting in 2005.

Minority Bank Assets
Minority Bank Assets, by Group, Bars equal 100% of minority bank assets. Source: FDIC.

The chart above shows minority bank assets as a percentage of 100% by year from 2001 to 2021. It shows a decline in Hispanic bank assets starting in 2005, most likely due to the impact of restrictions on immigration placed by the Bush Administration. The 2008 financial crisis and the impact of Obama Administration policies also slowed Hispanic bank asset growth, This also served to elevate the relative growth of Asian bank assets.

Full detail concerning these factors are outlined in our Mid-Year 2022 Minority Bank and Thrift Review. To purchase this report, email [email protected].

Mid-Year 2022 Minority Bank and Thrift Review

The number of minority banks in the US held steady at between 168 and 174 in the second quarter of 2022.

Assets and number of minority banks in the US, second quarter, 2022,

Asian owned banks, concentrated in California, hold 51% of assets, with 77 institutions., Hispanic banks, concentrated in Florida and Texas, number 33 institutions and hold 42% of assets, followed by Women-owned banks (17 institutions with 3% of assets), Black Banks (19 institutions and 2% of assets), Native American Banks (20 institutions and 2% of assets) and Multi-ethnic Banks (2 institutions and 0.42% of assets)

Asian assets total $172 billion. Hispanic institutions hold $141 billion. Women-owned bank assets total $9.7 billion. Black bank assets are $7 billion. Native American institutions hold $7.6 billion and Multi-ethnic banks have $480 million in assets.

These factors point to a set of policies designed to assist the growth and utilization of these institutions. Our report describes and details these factors.

Mid-Year 2022 Minority Bank and Thrift Review ($450.00)


Summary 3
Geographic Concentration 5
Asian Banks 6
Hispanic Banks 7
Black Banks 8
Conclusion 9
Endnotes 10

To download a summary of the report, click https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lgemlAcjif9rGYGb2tcWpR8L_2wzqFJH/view?usp=sharing

For information, email info@minoritybank

Research assistant: Nishanth Gaddam, Impact Investing Intern.

Fixing Abortion And Black Maternal Mortality Is NOT Up To the Supreme Court. It’s Up to the Fed…

Black women die in childbirth at disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly shows that social determinants – access to nutrition, transportation, and healthcare——are crucial factors.

See: https://www.impactinvesting.online/2022/06/fixing-abortion-and-black-maternal.html