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Religion IN BRIEF

Black Churches Push Economic Coalition

August 05, 2000|Associated Press

BALTIMORE — A growing number of black churches are asking members to open accounts in area banks that have pledged to invest in the city's black community.

The concept, called collective banking, has netted $1 billion in assets for 110 black churches and nonprofit organizations that have joined the program, ministers say.

The Collective Banking Group of Baltimore and Vicinity recently renewed its three-year contract with four banks: Bank of America, First Union Corp., Harbor Bank of Maryland and Advance Federal Savings & Loan.

Collective leaders predict that the banks will bring in about $1 million a week from church and nonprofit members.

"We're no longer infants and children in our economic development. We are moving out of our adolescence," said Bishop Vashti McKenzie, pastor of Payne Memorial AME Church and the collective's founder and president.

Last month, McKenzie became the first female bishop in the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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