Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Black Bank Forecloses on Historic Black Church

According to the Boston Herald,

"Scandal-plagued Hub bank OneUnited has begun foreclosure proceedings against Roxbury’s historic Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of Boston’s oldest and most-respected black churches, the Herald has learned.

OneUnited, the nation’s largest black-owned bank — which got millions in federal bailout money — is threatening to auction off the church March 22 to cover a $1.1 million 'balloon' mortgage that recently came due.

Founded in 1818, the Charles Street AME Church was a key player in the 19th century anti-slavery movement. Abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison led rallies at the congregation’s original Beacon Hill home, while the church helped runaway slaves reach Canada."

The church "has never missed a payment on its five-year-old mortgage."

OneUnited has had a series of problems recently. The bank has few urban loans, yet OneUnited sought aid as community 'beacon' and got $12 million from the US bank bailout fund. (See: http://twisri.blogspot.com/2009/04/black-owned-bank-has-few-urban-loans.html )

In 2008, the FDIC "accused the management of OneUnited..of running an unsound lending operation and ordered a top-to-bottom review of executive perks that included a 2008 Porsche and a housing allowance for a beach-front home in California." (See: http://twisri.blogspot.com/2008/12/one-up-one-down.html )

OneUnited has been the beneficiary of a number of minority bank deposit programs. These programs, used by institutional socially responsible investors like the Episcopal Church, AT&T, Fidelity, Coca Cola, nonprofits like the NAACP, and governments, like the US Department of Energy and the State of Massachusetts, place deposits in minority banks as a way of supporting community development.

Today's news story proves what we said several years ago: OneUnited no longer qualifies for these funds.