'Banking black' becomes the latest form of social protest
In the context of wealth, there is a persistent disparity between what black families earn when compared to other ethnicities. According to figures from the Urban Institute, the average wealth gap between white and nonwhite families exploded between 1963 and 2013 from $117,000 to more than $500,000. Separately, a recent study from the Pew Research Center found that college-educated blacks earned more than $20,000 less than their white counterparts.
For those reasons, observers like Darrick Hamilton, president-elect of the National Economic Association and an associate professor of economics and urban policy at The New School, say that bolstering the economic fortunes of blacks would also lead to a commensurate rise in political power.
"Income is flow and wealth is worth. Wealth isn't only assets such as home ownership and stock, it also includes political influence," Hamilton told CNBC. "Wealth is far more powerful than income."
Hamilton was supportive of the idea of black consumers parking wealth in black-owned banks, downplaying the idea of a backlash.
"People aren't saying don't bank [as a form of protest], so banking black is not a loss to the financial industry," Williams said. "It's merely a distributional change from one institution to another."