One Divided?!? OneUnited Bank vs. Charles St. AME: Take Action

By on March 2, 2012

oneunited logo

The Blackstonian has been watching the saga unfold between OneUnited Bank and the Historic Charles St. AME Church.

1. We are currently planning a protest at OneUnited Bank to show them that the Community is not happy with its banking practices.
details coming soon…
2. We are currently planning a Community Support Day for Charles St. AME
details coming soon…

Right Now it’s time to take action!

Call OneUnited and let them know you will close your account if they go through with foreclosure proceedings on Charles St. AME

2343 Washington Street Dudley Sq. (877) 663-8648
648 Warren St Grove Hall (617) 457-4400
100 Franklin St Downtown Boston (877) 663-8648

OneUnited Bank
3683 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Phone: (323) 290-4848 Fax: (323) 389-0548

Leave a message for OneUnited CEO and Chairman Kevin Cohee
Kevin Cohee
Use this contact form to send a letter to One United
https://www.oneunited.com/customer-service/contact-us/

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READ ARTICLES AND GET FAMILIAR WITH ONE UNITED’S RECENT HISTORY
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FDIC: OneUnited Bank agrees to pay $4k civil penalty
Boston Globe 02/24/2012
http://www.boston.com/Boston/businessupdates/2012/02/fdic-oneunited-bank-agrees-pay-civil-penalty/DlxDKQPULC6I8be3qvBCgL/index.html

-OneUnited has been struggling since incurring large investment losses in the financial crisis and still owes the government $12 million in federal bailout funds.
-The US Treasury has assigned an official to attend OneUnited board meetings.
-OneUnited in 2008 received a cease and desist order from regulators for unsafe lending practices, inadequate capital, and improper compensation and perks for top executives.
-OneUnited recently received a “needs to improve” rating for its community lending record.

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Mayor sides with church
Hits bank over foreclosure threat
By Jerry Kronenberg Boston Herald Thursday, March 1, 2012
http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/view.bg?articleid=1407335

-193-year-old congregation. Once a hub of the anti-slavery movement, Charles Street AME offers key social and spiritual programs these days to its 1,000 parishioners and the wider Roxbury community.
-Charles Street AME’s $1.1 million balloon mortgage recently came due, and the church says OneUnited hasn’t responded to an offer to keep making monthly payments while the congregation tries to refinance.
-$3.6 million construction loan that the church took out in 2006 to build an adjacent community center.
Construction stalled after OneUnited halted payment on the last $800,000 and sued to get funds it had already disbursed back.

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Foreclosure looming for black church
Bank criticized for ‘cardinal sin’
By Jerry Kronenberg Boston Herald Tuesday, February 28, 2012
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220228foreclosure_looming_for_black_church_bank_criticized_for_cardinal_sin/

-Founded in 1818, the Charles Street AME Church was a key player in the 19th century anti-slavery movement.
Abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison led rallies at the congregation’s original Beacon Hill home, while the church helped runaway slaves reach Canada.
-the congregation has never missed a payment on its five-year-old mortgage.
-Charles Street AME took out a $3.6 million loan in 2006 to build an adjacent community center, but OneUnited shut off funding after three years. The bank sued to get its money back, making it hard for Charles Street AME to refinance a balloon mortgage that came due on the church itself and some adjacent storefronts. Martin said the congregation has offered to keep paying its existing loan until it can refinance, but that OneUnited refused.
-OneUnited has been at the center of a scandal since 2008 involving U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who is facing an ethics probe for engineering a meeting between OneUnited CEO Kevin Cohee and U.S. Treasury officials, even though her husband owned stock in the bank.

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Cohee at OneUnited, bank in Maxine Waters case, has checkered record
By R. Jeffrey Smith Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 12, 2010
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/11/AR2010081105561.html

-Cohee, 52, took a somewhat different view in his own life. His bank bought or leased luxury real estate he used and, until federal regulators complained in 2008, paid for his Porsche. Cohee’s East Coast spread was an $880,000 condominium on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive, and out west the bank leased a $26,500-a-month mansion for him on Palisades Beach Road in Santa Monica, Calif., owned by Bruce Springsteen’s drummer, Max Weinberg.
A battle of lawsuits over the house — Cohee complained that he had to ship in “a huge bar, a desk, a chandelier,” and Weinberg accused him of installing secret surveillance cameras in the master bedroom — led Cohee and his wife, through a corporation they formed, to buy the house for $6.4 million in late 2006. OneUnited then provided him a living allowance at the mansion, where, a year later, he was twice arrested, on sexual assault and drug charges.
It was the bank’s assistance with his expenses that helped provoke a cease-and-desist order from the federal government, accusing the bank and its officers of misspending and lax lending, and putting its operating license at risk.
-The Treasury Department has said that its grant, the first given to a minority-owned bank under the Troubled Assets Relief Program, was based on sound, normal criteria. But at the time, OneUnited had a uniquely poor ratio of loans to debts, according to data compiled by American University researchers who combed through records of all 987 banks that received TARP money between October 2008 and October 2009.

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FDIC: OneUnited Bank is not in compliance with CRA rules
South Florida Business Journal by Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter
Friday, January 13, 2012
http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/print-edition/2012/01/13/fdic-oneunited-bank-is-not-in.html?page=all

-OneUnited Bank received a “needs to improve” rating for its Community Reinvestment Act performance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which further found the bank was in “substantial noncompliance” with CRA laws in Florida.
-Designated by the FDIC as a minority depository institution, OneUnited Bank has many black customers and states that its goal is to expand credit to urban communities. However, the FDIC’s CRA exam rated its lending to moderate- and low-income borrowers as poor. That means OneUnited has not been turning its local deposits into many loans for the community.
-The CRA requires institutions to make loans to the communities where they collect deposits and provide credit to borrowers across all income levels. OneUnited received $12 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds from the federal government in 2008.

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4 Comments

  1. Alice Green

    March 6, 2012 at 4:09 am

    When are we in the Black Community going to get our acts together? I am a responsible homeowner. If I default on my mortgage I would expect my lender to foreclusure on my home. We need to stopping being so emotional and ask the right questions. I am not saying Rev Groover is lying but I just don’t believe hime. He may be in denial or in perhaps,need to take a financial literacy class. What’s wrong with this picture? Hellooooooooo people, banks don’t foreclose on people who are making payments and living up to their financial obligations. To follow the illogical thinking of all those attention seeking so called “men of God, who in my opinion are nothin more than rabble rousing bomb throwers. If a black person don’t pay their taxes the IRS should not come after them because we have a Black president. How absurd! Why aren’t the members of this 1000 person church and all the ten-point coalition direct their collective attention to raising the money needed to pay off church’s debt instead of attacking another Black institution. Wake up people and stop giving the White community a minstral show. Did anyone see any Irish business, political, community or religious leader condemning or protesting “Whitey” Bulger? And he was a mobster and serial killer. So why are we demonizing OneUnited Bank when all they are doing is living up to their fudiciary responsibility. Come on People get Real.

    • Blackstonian

      March 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Charles St. AME has not missed a payment in 5 yrs… if you look at the History of One United you will see many problems with loans and handling money… read the articles.
      Sorry, but you are way off base here.

  2. Sandra

    March 10, 2012 at 4:50 am

    @Alice, when you bought your home it was already built, you didn’t need a construction loan.

    My understanding of construction loans is they are tied to the completion of the project. Most construction projects go over their expected completion date. so if One United had done its due diligence it should have factored in project delays and considered what it was going to do if the project became to delayed for its comfort. In other words, One United should Not have made the construction loan, if they were not committed to the project’s completion. So One United ‘jammed-up’ Charles St by stopping the project.

  3. Loyce Newton Edwards

    March 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    So the race to build BIGGER churches (for egotistical black ministers) has come back to haunt another black church facing foreclosure. The problem here is NOT the lender demanding that the church honor the integrity of paying their loans back as promised (2 of them), the problem lies squarely on the shoulders of their pastor first and foremost (unbridled power), and on the 1,000 or so members, second. The planned protest of the banks RIGHT to repayment is yet another indication that many Black churches/folks have lost their way. Shame, shame, shame on them, not the mortgage lender.

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