Legacy of Dr King | OneUnited Bank

Shortly after the death of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 50 years ago, the predecessor of OneUnited Bank, Unity Bank and Trust Company, was founded in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Today, we are the largest Black owned bank and first Black internet bank in the country. In honor of the late Dr. King, and his legacy and the visionary leaders who founded Unity Bank, we are inspired to reflect on our past and look to the future.

Unity Bank was founded in 1968, at a time when there were 14,500 commercial banks in the U.S. of which only 20 were Black controlled. Established to give equal economic opportunity to the Black residents of Roxbury and Dorchester, Massachusetts, Unity Bank embarked on this journey with the slogan, “The Bank with a Purpose!” It provided free seminars on consumer education, investments, credit and how banking works.

Unity Bank was conceived by John T. Hayden, a Black graduate of Harvard Business School and organized with the late Donald E. Sneed, Chairman and President, Marvin E. Gilmore, Vice President, and C. Bernard Fulp, Assistant Vice President and Chief Loan Officer. Mr. Fulp, who previously worked at two large banks in Boston and saw first-hand the discriminatory policies of banks including redlining stated, “Slum residents are eliminated solely on the basis of where they live. This drives those who can least afford it to finance companies and loan sharks who charge unreasonable interest.” Unity Bank was founded to change all of that.

Over the past 50 years, the number of banks in the U.S. has declined from 14,500 to 6,700. Yet, OneUnited Bank continues the legacy of Unity Bank, including its mission to be “The Bank with a Purpose.” We became the first Black interstate bank, expanding beyond Boston by acquiring banks in Miami and Los Angeles. We received a designation as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of Treasury and loaned over $2 billion to communities that are over 70% or more minority and low to moderate income including Roxbury, Dorchester, Liberty City, South Central and Compton.

We launched an internet bank in 2005 which allows us to bank anyone anywhere in the country with mobile banking and 30,000 surcharge free ATMs. We also built an exciting online community through social media. OneUnited Bank is “unapologetically Black.” We inspired and continue to promote the #BankBlack and #BuyBlack movements, encouraging the Black community to recognize the power of our $1.2 trillion in annual spending to build generational wealth. We are proud to provide leadership and contribute vital resources to the Black community in an effort to maximize the power of “collective economics.” We continue to focus on financial literacy and, importantly, advocate for economic and social justice including supporting #BlackLivesMatter.

After 50 years, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lives on through the legacy of Unity Bank and Trust and the current work of OneUnited Bank. We are honored to carry the torch…and recognize the importance of passing the baton to #MakeBlackHistory NOW.

In memory of Donald Sneed (February 13, 1934 • December 15, 2017)

OneUnited Bank

Our community’s dream is now a reality! OneUnited Bank is fulfilling the hundred year old civil rights dream by garnering the savings power of our communities and channeling it back into urban communities for economic development. With your support by simply opening an FDIC insured account with great rates, we will continue to accomplish this dream everyday!

18 Comments
  • Willie Boone
    Amen, put his face on the card in his honor
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Regina Rideau
    Previously banked Black...coming back!
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Gregory Jackson
    Want too sign up
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Malcom D Moses
    It is great to know of black Banks who can tell lyrics to educate and give for more knowledge on development of black economic power I wish that your bank would teach also that the black churches would form of Greater Unity to bring back to their Community to have a greater return of funding look up the value of our communities in a better way
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Larry Whitaker
    Would like to join your bank but need to know where the banks are located.
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Tonya
    Can I open a checking and saving account Please sent me more information on this company
    April 13, 2018 Reply
  • Henry Hellums Sr
    In Pine Bluff Arkansas in the heart of the delta in the black community where in the need of housing. My church truthandlove Church of God in Christ I in the process of providing housing for the elderly please Informer how you can assist us financially thanks for your years flavoring in the black community
    April 14, 2018 Reply
  • Derek Coleman
    Thank you for your commitment and the history lesson.
    April 14, 2018 Reply
  • Ron Baker
    Are you also a second chance bank?
    April 14, 2018 Reply
  • Denise Phillips
    I would like to sign up
    April 14, 2018 Reply
  • Anthony Barnett
    As a banker at One United,I am well pleased. Doing business is as good and better than most I have seen. I will continue to encourage others to get on board. Thank you for your service.
    April 14, 2018 Reply
    • Fe
      Do you direct deposit your paycheck? If so, are the funds released as soon as the money is sent to the bank?
      April 18, 2018 Reply
  • Carolyn Skipper
    I have been thinking about opening an account, I am touched by such powerful movement. I will becoming a member soon.God bless this bank even more.
    April 15, 2018 Reply

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