WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Industrial Bank of Washington, D.C., typically opens 300 new accounts in six months. Thanks to the social media campaign #BankBlack, the bank opened 3,000 new accounts for a total of $6 million in just two months.
“I hope they keep coming, that’s wonderful!” one customer said.
“I think it’s important to put our dollars in black businesses,” added another.
Customers celebrate the success of Bank Black and so do bankers.
“It’s an excellent start,” said Industrial Bank President & CEO B. Doyle Mitchell.
A record number of young people between 25 and 45 years old have opened accounts at Industrial – it's a victory that is bittersweet for the third generation owner.
“We wish it would have happened sooner and not under circumstances that it did,” Mitchell said.
Born from the Black Lives Matter movement, #BankBlack encourages African Americans to invest in the black businesses – something that's been a struggle in the past.
“I was hitting my head against the wall wondering, ‘Why did not African Americans, particularly in Washington, D.C. support our bank?’” Mitchell said. “And why you have young men in the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore.”
Mitchell said through growing African American businesses allows business owners to “quite naturally employ African Americans” and “give them hope.”
Industrial Bank opened in 1933 to offer loans to African Americans who were refused by other banks. Now 82 years later, it services 115 families of all races.
Mitchell said banking black is a movement that all Americans should support because it can impact the prison system, social services, and struggling communities.
“It’s an American problem that African Americans only have $5,000 in wealth per capita in this country,” he said. “And that's why we have so many social problems in urban cities.”
According to a study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, if higher income black families spend just $1 out of every $10 at a black-owned business, nearly one million jobs could be created.