In the recent weeks a lot has transpired involving unarmed men being violently executed by police officers. Now combine that with the efforts of rapper and activist Killer Mike, singer Usher and a few other Atlanta celebrities calling for African Americans to bank with black owned banking institutions. So of course this has created a large interest in black owned banks by African Americans. In the last week or so alone over 8,000 new accounts have been opened and over a million dollars has been moved into Citizen’s Trust Bank (CTB). I too am interested in moving, but as a former auditor I had a few questions I needed answered first. Also as a financial coach , author, and educator that has a large following of people looking for sound advice, I needed to be certain that I had made an educated decision and could provide people the right information before they switched banks. Just as a disclaimer I know there are a ton of questions that one probably could’ve asked the bank. Questions that pertain to minor details, like what services this bank offers that can benefit you, etc, etc. But I’m not here for that. As a visionary I am much more focused on a higher level when thinking of the bank. For example, I’m not too worried about what perks and services the bank offers right now but more so what the bank will offer in 3, 5 or 10 years. I wanted to ask the top 3 questions that people have been approaching me.

Q: Is CTB 100% black owned or is it majority black owned?

A: CTB is majority black owned. Just like any publicly traded company you will have various owners within from various demographics. However, the bank is black controlled. When it comes to the bank executives, all of them are black.

 

CTB's Next Generation Advisory Board was announced June 17th 2016.  Members represent local businesses, non-profit and educational organizations that strengthen the Atlanta community and is also predominately black.  

CTB's Next Generation Advisory Board was announced June 17th 2016.  Members represent local businesses, non-profit and educational organizations that strengthen the Atlanta community and is also predominately black.  

Q: Are the bank’s financial resources solely invested in African American communities?

A: No, we are not. We want to be a good bank that just so happens to be black owned. So with any standard practice of a bank, for what they would do to maintain profitability for shareholders and grow in asset size, therefore we have to make smart decisions. People often ask, “what are you doing for our communities that are credit challenged, when the income isn’t there?” But we also have to think in reality and that is not the majority percentage. We often think “all black people have poverty or bad credit scores” and that is not the case in this city (Atlanta). To do more for those that have challenges and to do more for underserved communities, we as a bank would be much better served to have a well-capitalized bank. And deposits don’t necessary help a bank per sé. So we also have to look at homeownership and business loans (for sustainability). What comes in and out is how a bank grows in size and profitability.

CTB Corprate office Lobby

CTB Corprate office Lobby

 

"Interesting fact: CTB, is in its 95th year of operation, was responsible for the funding and development of Auburn Avenue as we know it. In its historical context and Southwestern Corridor of Atlanta where the majority of black affluence was created."

 

Q: Where do you see the bank heading in the future, in terms of services etc.?

A: Being a 95 year old bank that has grown to this point and how it continues to grow going forward.  We are looking at our customers (asking) what will make it a better banking experience for the new bank customer? Formerly our clients, those 55 and older had very little connectivity. Now with the new base of clientele they will very rarely go inside of a bank branch. They do most things online (on an app). How can we start to be a better bank for that customer base? I’m sure the bank is going to look at ways to figure out how we can be nimble, provide products and services, access and opportunity for the (tech savvy millennial) customers of today.

The first Citizens Trust Bank building was located on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta from its founding in 1921 until the 1960s. The Sweet Auburn district formed the center of the African American business and residential community in Atlanta early in the twentieth century. Courtesy of Citizens Trust Bank

The first Citizens Trust Bank building was located on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta from its founding in 1921 until the 1960s. The Sweet Auburn district formed the center of the African American business and residential community in Atlanta early in the twentieth century.

Courtesy of Citizens Trust Bank

 

My Conclusion:

CTB is a good bank that will continue to adapt with the changes in the banking industry. By becoming more mobile they will remain profitable enough to be around for another century, hopefully. I looked over their financials and the bank is very healthy and showing continuous growth and improvement. However, the actual numbers aren’t what solely excites me. What excites me is the vision of the bank and its advisory board. It's clear that Citizen’s Trust Bank puts their customers first, well that is what I picked up from my interview when the topic of conversation kept going back to serving their clients. When you put customers first, it’s very likely that you are going to experience tremendous success! When you factor in the bank's long history and ability to survive the recession of 2008 that even forced big name banks such as Wachovia or Washington Mutual to close their doors, it’s even more evident that they are doing something right.  If you are looking to join a black owned bank in Georgia or Alabama with a proven track record you will not be disappointed. I get the impression that with the will of God this bank will be around for another 95 years, but as my interviewee said: “It’s time to come home.”

I will add that simply moving your money to a black owned bank will not get the job done. We all personally need to take the necessary steps to get our personal finances in order if you want to break free from the matrix and enjoy a better quality of living. Debt is the new modern day slavery with invisible shackles and paycheck to paycheck living is hindering progress forward due to lack of financial security. If we want to be liberated financially we need to make sure we have done our part to liberate ourselves. Check out my book if your are interested in going from paychecks to power

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