Black churches, banks build partnership in Charlotte

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) One year after area black churches asked banks for affordable services and better treatment for their members, a new partnership is being launched.

Bank of America and First Charter Corp. plan to sign three-year contracts Aug. 24 as ''covenant banks'' with the church-sponsored Central Carolinas Collective Banking Group.

Members of participating churches will get a card providing benefits as ''preferred'' customers. The churches will encourage members to use participating banks and teach them about smart spending and investing.

Organizers said blacks often have a hard time getting banking services, such as loans, because of income levels or the neighborhoods where they live.

The collective said a dozen banks responded to inquiries and the two that were selected offered the broadest services and had the best records of investing in the community.

The collective is modeled after a similar group in Prince George's County, Md., formed in 1995 after blacks reported negative loan treatment from area banks.

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