Many low income, African American neighborhoods in Baltimore lack access to local bank branches, following decades of underinvestment and redlining, Jasmine Vaughn-Hall and Nick Thieme report for The Baltimore Banner. The median income in unbanked areas is $21,000 lower than those with banks, while the median home values are $88,000 lower and the share of Black residents is 25% higher, according to the Banner’s analysis of data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Census Bureau.
Which area is most impacted by a lack of local banks?
Most of the underbanked neighborhoods are in West Baltimore. Only 54% of West Baltimore residents have a bank closeby, compared to 89% of residents citywide. Like other businesses, banks rely partially on population density to stay afloat, and as the city’s population has declined over the years, neighborhoods in West Baltimore have also lost residents, according to Seema Iyer with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.
However, a lack of banks also serves as an indicator for other disparities, including food deserts and issues with policing, environment, and sanitation, said Philip Merrill, CEO and founder of Nanny Jack & Company, an African American heritage consulting business.
Anything else I should know?
Some banks have recently opened branches in unbanked areas in Baltimore to fill the void. In June, the black-owned Harbor Bank of Maryland opened a branch in the Northwood neighborhood, and Mondawmin Mall expects a Chase branch to open in the fall.
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