Paul McCowns and African Americans walked into an Ohio bank to cash his first paycheck from a new job at an electric company. But instead of cashing the check worth about $1,000, the white teller called 911. As he walked out of the Huntington Bank branch in Brooklyn empty-handed, a white police officer was outside and handcuffed him without a single question. “I have a customer here — he’s not our customer, actually. He’s trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records,” a bank employee says on a recording of the 911 call obtained by CNN.
For many African Americans, what happened to McCowns is a common experience. Banking while Black is another entry in an ever-growing list of white people calling the police on African Americans doing everyday routine things. It’s no secret that racism has been baked into the American banking system. There are few black executives in the upper echelons of most financial institutions. Leading banks have recently paid restitution to black employees for isolating them from white peers, placing them in the poorest branches, and cutting them off from career opportunities.
The racism and humiliation the many African-Americans experiences in the banking system in American are uniques and have a devastating impact. From outright denial of loans to a refusal to cash legitimate checks and also for disproportionately placing African Americans in the Chex System, thus completely removing them from the financial system.
While these banks’ practices have captured national headlines, racially discriminatory practices are not confined to large and national Banks. Racially discriminatory practices can also frequent within the small and community Credit Unions.
Recently, African-America CEO was placed in a ChexSystems for a $27.00 oversight fees. When he confronted the Credit Union, the manager was unable to provide evidence of attempts to reach out to the customer in order for him to clear the said fees. According to the CEO, he had thousands of dollars in the business account and had visited the Credit Union to ensure that all the pending fees were paid before the account was closed. Across the country, many African Americans are disproportionately placed in the ChexSystems to hindered their ability to participate in business or improve their credit rating. Once your name is placed in the ChexSystems, Banks alert other banks about them for up to five years. Opening new accounts could be tough and almost impossible.
Many African-Americans are now moving their banking services to Black-Owned Banks. There Some black-owned banks, the #BankBlack campaign is already having big results. In the first five days after Killer Mike’s call, 8,000 people reportedly opened up accounts at Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta. By the middle of July, #BankBlack supporters deposited $3 million in new accounts at OneUnited, the largest black-owned bank in the country.
Source: Afro World News