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The Largest Black-Owned Bank Teams Up With BMe Community To Close The Racial Wealth Gap

Last week, the trailer for The Banker was released, which is a film that tells the story of one of the first Black banks in America in the 1950-60s. Over fifty years later, OneUnited Bank is the largest Black-owned bank in America and recently they announced BankBlack X, a nationwide plan to close the racial wealth gap. The goal of BankBlack X is to galvanize the community to share the truth about Black people and money and make financial literacy a core value of the Black community. One of the partners of this campaign is BMe Community. We had the opportunity to speak with their CEO/Co-founder Trabian Shorters to learn more about the non-profit, their partnership with OneUnited Bank and how they make black men aware of their excellence!

What is BMe Community and why was it created?

We’re a network of black leaders who have committed ourselves to making society better for black people. We work in non-profit land, finance and government. We created BMe Community when I was vice president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is a National Foundation headquartered in Miami.

How did the partnership with OneUnited Bank come about?

OneUnited is the largest Black-owned bank in the country. The nonprofit came about independent of OneUnited Bank and within a couple of years, we overlapped and realized that our work around building stronger black communities and their work around building black wealth and also strong black communities totally overlapped. It was very simple for us to make the decision to deposit with OneUnited. Unlike Wells Fargo or Bank of America or any of these other banks, the majority of OneUnited’s lending is to us and for us, whereas those other banks you might get 1% of their loan portfolio having anything to do with us and they often look upon us as fee generators, not as people whose prosperity they’re trying to grow. But OneUnited in contrast, of course, looks at growing black wealth and closing the loan gap so it made perfect sense for us to deposit with them.
Lakeitha Grey
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Lakeitha Grey has over 20 years experience in guiding integrated marketing campaigns and maintaining brand integrity across multiple disciplines and communications vehicles. Grey is a proud University of Georgia graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Master of Arts in Communications from Florida State University. A brand strategist at heart, Lakeitha has coordinated campaigns for major household names such as American Airlines, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Nationwide Insurance, Subaru, Florida Lottery, Bravo’s Dr. Heavenly, and others. Over the past 13 years, Grey has specialized in developing behavior modification marketing campaigns that address public/mental health, lifestyles, and social causes. She has received a number of industry awards for creative excellence, including several American Advertising (ADDY) Awards in the Public Service category and Who’s Who of Prevention Leaders in Florida for outstanding work in the area of problem gambling prevention. A youth advocate, she launched Building Young Entrepreneurs in 2013 – a summer program helping teens start their own business. Lakeitha came on board with BMe Community as the Marketing Director in January of 2018.