1. What is the historical significance of Black banks?
They were created at a time when discrimination against Black people was legal in the US. They served as the only financial service providers to the community.
2. Do Black banks have the same level of significance to the Black community today? Why or why not?
No. They are too small to serve the community in any meaningful way. For example, they cannot serve as a line of defense against predatory lending. The result: banks like Wells Fargo are free to target black communities for shoddy loans: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Some Black banks were trying to help: See:
But most were not. See:
This is contrary to their original mission. See:
3. What factors contributed to the dwindling in the number of Black-owned banks?
Several factors, but the main one is a lack of vision. Let's face it, though. Greed is a factor, too: "Regulators in October (2008) concluded in a cease-and-desist order that one Black bank had poor standards for qualifying and documenting loans, and gave top executives excessive pay and perks. Two of the perks regulators targeted were a $6.4 million beachfront Santa Monica mansion Cohee used while in California and a Porsche SUV..."
4. How would you characterize the experience of Black banks in America throughout their history?
They once served a critical role in Black economic development, but they were sidetracked by the factors listed above.
5. How did the recent Great Recession impact Black banks?
Decimated most of them.
6. Do you believe Black banking institutions were given a fair shake with regards to the TARP program?
Perhaps, but one Black bank got the most: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
7. What is the forecast for Black banks moving forward?
We will see the number fall to low single digits within 10 years.