One of the best black banks in the country providing capital to low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore
Maryland has the second-lowest poverty rate of any state, but Baltimore, like many predominately black cities in the U.S., struggles to find resources to support businesses and services to its dwindling residents. One symptom of this neglect is the lack of banking options which supply small business and housing loans, especially in neighborhoods which have a history of redlining.
Getting capital back into the community through strong bank lending--especially in areas of small business and low- and moderate-income housing--can be a huge part of improving the economic outlook of a city and its residents. The Harbor Bank of Maryland is a Better Banking Option that, upon its opening in 1982, set out to do just that.
While Baltimore faces many issues, which mirror other American cities with a long history of segregation and racism, the unique history of the city and the fact that it has always had an underbanked, black-majority population presents particular issues to lenders and investors in the area. The Harbor Bank of Maryland is one of only about 20 black banks left in the country, and they were founded specifically to help bring great loan and banking products to black neighborhoods in Baltimore, so they have an intimate understanding of the city’s needs. The wealth of positive reviews on their google pages backs up the claim that they have specific knowledge of how to take care of the city residents’ needs.
A certified CDFI and MDI, The Harbor Bank of Maryland’s statistics back up its designations; 94% percent of the bank’s assets are being used for loans. Housing loans make up 34% of their lending, and a little more than half of this is devoted to low- and moderate-income households. They also clearly prioritize small business loans in their portfolio, as 20% of their lending is used for investing in local, small businesses. Five of seven of their branches are in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and while they had a slightly negative return on assets in the last quarter, their current Satisfactory CRA rating and history of Outstanding CRA ratings shows this bank is a safe place to keep your money as well as an effective one.
Additionally, they’re the first community bank in the country to have a corresponding financial services company, offering “full service brokerage and insurance products, and complimentary financial planning.” Two of their seven branches are located in the northeast suburbs of Washington, DC, and while not located directly in the city, are close to the northeast quadrant of the capitol which is historically, predominately black and has also been underbanked by traditional institutions.
If you’re looking to invest in a Minority Depository Institution, particularly a black banking institution, The Harbor Bank of Maryland is a great choice for anyone interested in the Metropolitan Baltimore area and neighborhoods outside of the District of Columbia. They offer both online and mobile banking, so it’s possible for anyone, even those who don’t live in the area, to invest in this Better Banking Option. Check out their website to get started today.
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