AME Church and Black Banks Launch New Partnership For Black Wealth


The Black church, among the most prosperous institutions in America, has long led movements for the spiritual, social and civic uplift of Black people. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he had just launched the Poor People’s Movement, which quickly fizzled after his death. With this historic backdrop, the African Methodist Episcopal Church – with a legacy of leadership in its own right – has announced an innovative economic partnership with Black-owned banks across the country. The partnership aims to be a catalyst to spur business development, homeownership and wealth in the Black community.

“We are now pleased to announce a partnership with the presidents of the nineteen (19) Black banks in the United States, with the goal of increasing Black wealth,” said Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the United States and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members. This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”

Reginald T. Jackson
Reginald T. Jackson

Bishop Jackson made the announcement during a press conference held during the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta June 26. The specific details of a memorandum of understanding are being formulated and will be announced this summer. But the goals are as follows: increase deposits and loans with Black banks; and increase Black homeownership to over 50 percent nationwide. This means 2,000,000 more Black homeowners than now exist; and grow the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million and total gross receipts from an average of $72,500.00 to $150,000.00.

“This partnership grows out of an initiative formed in Washington, DC in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020 which is providing an economic blueprint for Black America,” Jackson said.

Preston Pinkett, III
Preston Pinkett, III

“The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment,” Michael Grant, one of the founders of Black Wealth 2020 said. “The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves.”

The announcement of the new partnership was met with applause from national civil rights leaders.

“Thank you and your fellow bishops for making economic development a priority of your denomination,” wrote civil rights icon Georgia Congressman John Lewis in a letter to Bishop Jackson.

National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial also weighed in with a letter: “I want to express the support of the National Urban League for your leadership and initiative in addressing the challenges of Black homeownership and the need to increase the support, viability and profitability of our African-American businesses,” he wrote.

Robert James
Robert James

Morial is among economic leaders who have determined that among the reasons homeownership among African-Americans is disparately low is, in part, because of discriminatory lending practices.

Preston Pinkett, CEO of City National Bank of New Jersey and President of the National Bankers Association, the trade organization that represents the minority-owned banks of America, thanked the AME Bishops and said that this could become a model for alliances between many of our national organizations.

Mortgage Banker Lois Johnson, president/ CEO of Salt Lake City-based United Security Financial, said “We provide loans to all who meet the minimum criteria, especially people of color who have been denied the opportunity to have their own homes.”

Johnson, who is licensed to operate in 49 states, says she intends to travel to each of the AME church’s episcopal districts to “create hope and opportunities.”

The principals agreed that the key to the success of the partnership must be mutual respect for Black spending power and mutual support of Black businesses.

Ron Busby, president/ CEO of the U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. and co-founder of Black Wealth 2020, pointed to the USBC’s new AP called the USBC Mobile Directory with 109,000 Black-owned businesses in order to help consumers make targeted purchases inside the Black business community.

Robert James, CEO of the Carver State Bank in Savannah and the black banker with the longest tenure of service as CEO of a bank in America, was applauded as he reflected on his life of AME Church membership and service. “There was a time that no black churches got bank financing in Savannah Georgia unless we financed them at Carver State Bank,” James said. James says he knows the relationship can be sustained because the Bishops have authority to oversee and encourage AME church leaders to do business with Black-owned banks. “We can talk to AME Bishops about local churches and they can talk to their elders and preachers,” he said.

Bishop Jackson underscored the fact that the U. S. partnership is only the beginning. He indicated that the movement will also expand abroad. “The possibilities extend throughout the Diaspora. The African Methodist Episcopal Church has over 4,000 churches in Africa, the Caribbean, West Indies and Europe. These churches and members can also benefit from this partnership,” he said.

To augment this expansion, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, ambassador for the African Union, spoke to the Bishops the day before the press conference, promising to encourage Africans in America to also put their deposits in Black banks. She stressed the need for Black-owned institutions to unify, cooperate and not turn on one another.

“I hope we will all come together and support the idea of putting all of our money in Black banks. I have already taken the initiative and listed all of the Black banks in the country on our website. We drive past Black banks to give our money to people who don’t give a hoot about us. We’ve got to change this.”

16 thoughts on “AME Church and Black Banks Launch New Partnership For Black Wealth”

  1. This is some of the best news I have heard in my life. Thank you for your interest and support of the black communities in America.

    1. This is some of the best news I have heard in my life. Thank you for your interest and support of the black communities in America.

  2. Thank you all for this information. I agree we need to put our money in a Black institute, and shop Black,we all need to talk to our young people as well as the older folks.again. Thank you Bishop Jackson and all evolved to be a good leadership for our community. Ss

  3. I’m a pastor of two church’s. We will support this well needed institutions. I encourage all Black pastor to follow..

  4. This is great news. I am very encouraged as a long time member of the AME church and an advocate for our community. I do ask that the banks give special attention to customer service and accessibility. I think this will help sustain this effort overtime.

    1. I’m very interested much like what Sharon stated. How can ‘we’ help? We Need to be some SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable with timeline).

  5. How will information be communicated across the Country? Who has the overarching responsibility to manage this partnership?

  6. OK, congratulations on these two significant fronts. One, black banks that reach back in the community to enhance the community (I will believe it when I see it). Two, the hiring of a black chief congratulations again. This appointment will mean absolutely nothing if he has been a part of the Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence and has stood by and said absolutely nothing his entire career (hopefully not). His biggest problem will be the FOP (KKK) union who control police departments across America. These cops have never seen a shooting of an unarmed black man or woman they didn’t like (google their history). You provided too little background on the new chief to make an objective assessment. The AME Church will definitely need a lot of prayer if these two endeavors are to succeed (see links below). / DC POLICE CHIEF PETER NEWSHAM TOP COP APOLOGIZE FOR RACISM

  7. This is all great and necessary and I am in total support. However, there are several things that our black banks need to be aware of as well, and those are best practices. I tried doing this while I was living in Chicago, Illinois a few years ago. I had plan to put money in more than one black bank. One of the main problems that I came across was lack of convenience. Having to wait for hours to open an account and then to find out that they did a hard inquiry on your credit report instead of a soft one. This was just the beginning….. Please fix some of these problems and you will get more of us to buy into this initiative. Now is the time for sure.

  8. I am honored to become apart of this movement. We have been putting our money into institutions that does not have our best interests at heart. We have to come together as a people and create our own wealth. No one is gonna give us a hand up we have to help one another.

  9. This is great news! When we pool our financial resources, together we gain economic power and financial leverage; however, the most efficient way is to make sure our loved ones not only have life insurance, but enough of it. To obtain Generational Wealth, one must leave something for the next generation so they are not staring at zero or in some cases with negative wealth and the most efficient way to do this is through life insurance. In addition, Churches can have members leave a portion of their death benefits to their perspective Churches and thus strengthen the most important pillar in our communities…our Churches. -Faron Gallon ChFC., CRPC. , President of Ryourassetsprotected.Com

  10. Will this only be for A.M.E. Churches or will this open to all denominations if they choose to become a part of this movement?

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