Small, local banks with aspirations to drive wealth and build up neighborhoods populated by people of color started appearing across the U.S. in the 1900s. Often founded by visionary and civic-minded people focused on the best economic interests of their communities, these banks are now known as minority depository institutions, or MDIs.
Although African American MDIs have proliferated at several points in history, they have also struggled disproportionately due to recessions and other impacts, not unlike the people within the low- and moderate-income neighborhoods they serve. According to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation MDI Study, from 2001 to 2018, the number of African American MDIs declined by more than half. From a height of more than 100 Black-owned MDIs, only about 20 exist now.