King Center CEO Bernice King, Actor Hill Harper Join Black Bank Nonprofit Board

ATLANTA--()--The National Black Bank Foundation, a racial justice nonprofit working to ensure communities of color can access capital and build wealth through a robust Black banking sector, announced Thursday the board appointments of King Center CEO Dr. Bernice A. King and actor Hill Harper.

"Black banks help Black families escape the continuum of poverty by building real wealth, which is why the work of uplifting these community anchors is so urgent," NBBF Board Chair and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said. "We're deeply honored that Dr. King and Hill have invested themselves in our mission."

King and Harper join a board of directors that includes ESPN analyst and Super Bowl XLIII winner Ryan Clark, National Bankers Association Chairman Robert James II, Aspen Institute Fellow Yolanda Daniel, and founder and CEO of Calliope Advisors Lauren McCann.

"It's been more than fifty years since lenders were barred from discriminating against borrowers on the basis of race, but Black people are still denied mortgages at a rate 80 percent higher than white people," Dr. Bernice A. King said. "The NBBF is committed to correcting a legacy of discrimination in banking that still ruthlessly excludes Black, brown and indigenous people. This work—eradicating what my father called the inseparable twins of economic injustice and racial injustice—is vitally important, and I'm excited to be a part of it."

In 1976, there were more than 50 Black-owned banks across the United States. Today, there are just 18. These mission-driven banks extend credit and provide wealth-building resources to communities simultaneously underbanked and overcharged for financial services.

In 2019, nearly half of Black households were underbanked or completely unbanked, compared to just 15 percent of white families. That lack of access to essential financial services has forced Black Americans to rely on costly alternatives like check-cashing services, payday loans, money orders, and prepaid credit cards. Over a financial lifetime, those fees can total upwards of $40,000.

"It's expensive to be Black and underbanked in the United States," Hill Harper, known for his roles on CSI: NY, Limitless, and The Good Doctor, said. "At $20,000, the net worth of the typical Black household in this country is half of what underbanked families waste on predatory banking alternatives. A vibrant Black banking sector is the first step of many in erasing this country's racial wealth gap."

About the NBBF

The National Black Bank Foundation provides nonprofit support to Black-owned banks through legal, regulatory, strategic, and technical advice and assistance. With the support of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, and Big Four accounting firm KPMG, It provides concierge services to philanthropic foundations, corporations, family offices, and private individuals who wish to support the mission of Black-owned banks through capital investment and depository transactions. Last year, the NBBF facilitated a historic $35 million transaction between the Atlanta Hawks and a syndicate of 11 Black-owned banks.

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The National Black Bank Foundation announced Thursday the board appointments of King Center CEO Dr. Bernice A. King and actor Hill Harper.

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James Richardson