Hopeless is how I felt after learning that a grand jury decided Darren Wilson was not going to be indicted for the execution of Michael Brown in August 2014. I sat on the edge of my bed and cried, wailing, literally travailing for a young man who I had never met, for a mother I did not know, for a community I've never been to, and for my son - thinking that he could be next.
Since then, Black Lives Matter birthed an entire movement to give voice to many people like me who are tired of feeling hopeless and demand justice. Ask three people what does JUSTICE look like for Black people and I guarantee, you will receive three different responses. Ask 3 more people and you will have 6 different answers.
Add 3 more...
And 3 more...
And 3 more...
We many not agree or see eye to eye, but one thing is fo'sho: OUR LIVES MATTER.
If there are pools of various thoughts on how can Black people receive justice in America, I am in the group who believes withdrawing from the economy is one of many approaches that should be taking place along with active in local elections and running for legislative seats, denying the rhetoric displayed in the media, embracing and teaching our heritage and history to our youth, etc.
I say: HITT'EM WHERE IT HURTS. Bankrupt the corrupt. Stop financing our own oppression and #BankBlack.
If you don't know that many of these financial institutions that were "too big to fail" were founded by buying, selling, and insuring slaves.... then you probably have a hard time understanding how that old money is still circulating today. Accompany that fact with the under funding of Black owned businesses with start up capital and racial discrimination of mortgage lending... banking Black is in our collective best interest.
My empathy wasn't enough and my frustration was at an all time high. I stopped procrastinating and opened an online account with One United Bank! It seemed so obvious and shortly there after many celebrities starting speaking my language, specifically rapper Killer Mike who issued a Bank Black Challenge at a Townhall meeting that aired on BET and MTV.
After setting up my account and making a few transactions, I received a phone call from Cierra Lyas (firstname.lastname@example.org), Relationship Manager at One United Bank, as a courtesy. I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions and decided to share with you our conversation about my experience thus far as well as other services One United Bank offers.
First off, Cierra was extremely knowledgeable and addressed my initial concerns about banking with an institution that I can't walk into. She explained customer service is always available, 24 hours each day. She then helped me sign up for Mobile Banking. This feature allows me to check my balance and pay bills.
She also suggested I downloaded the One United app (which you can get from both Google Play and iTunes) so I can make deposits on the go, create a budget, and transfer funds from my local financial institution into my new One United account. One United also accepts direct deposit/payroll into a checking or savings account like a traditional blank. I also have the added benefit of receiving text messages and emails when my balance is low.
So of course I had to ask... now how do I get my money and are there penalties or fees??? Knowing this info before you sign up is key, but talking to someone to confirm is never a bad idea. Cierra explained the way my account is set up (in my Kevin Hart voice) requires a $50 minimum to open and monthly deposit of $10 to avoid the $20 Maintenance Service Charge Maintenance Fee. All the services I mentioned above are FREE. Other fees, like cancelled checks or overdrafts, can be found here.
One United Bank members can access their funds from any of the 15,000 ATM locations in both the Sum and Money Pass Networks where there are no fees. Yasssss boo boo. No fees! Do a zip code search and you are rhet to go.
One United Bank does have physical locations: two branches in Compton, one branch in Los Angeles, two branches in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and one branch in Miami, Florida.
If you are in a city where there are physical branches, you may consider speaking to a One United Bank representative about their home loans. Single mortgages and refinancing are available! The home of your dreams is only a 15 or 30 year mortgage away.
Cierra did mention that Certificate of Deposits with $1000 minimum were also available if you want additional savings options and the rates are competitive.
If you need help rebuilding your credit, One United Bank can also help you with a UNITY VISA® SECURED CREDIT CARD and their How to Rebuild Your Credit Program. You can learn about that with this e-book, but also check out the One United Bank financial literacy blog and visit the resource center for workshops.
I had to ask Cierra who was the President of such an incredible institution. She told me all about Bank President/COO Teri Williams. Teri believes in creating economic empowerment and the practice of wealth building in urban communities, serving an untapped market by other establishments in the financial services industry.
Teri is also the author of “I Got Bank” sharing what her grandfather taught her about money to Promote Financial Literacy for Youth. You can purchase the book here. Cierra informed me teachers can contact customer service, requesting books from the executive offices for their class rooms. Each year, youth ages 8-12 can submit an essay about financial literacy and be awarded $1000 savings account!
It was a pleasure to talk to Cierra Lyas as she endured my questions about One United Bank. I feel like am not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. With each transaction, I think I am peeling back the veiled illusion of white supremacy one layer at a time and contribution FINANCIALLY to change we need to see.
When we #BuyBlack and #BankBlack:
We can not afford to be told we don't matter and they can't afford to continue to take our spending power for granted. I have not stopped braggin' about banking Black and I'm sure you will too. Join the #BankBlack challenge. If you have already, leave me comment and share your experience with me. I'd love to hear from you.
*This is not a sponsored post.