The One United Bank Experiment

Kevin Cohee, One United BankMy “economic challenges” in the past would prevent me from even considering looking for a place where cash needs to be stored for later use. But when the opportunity presented itself the financial institution first on my list was Kevin Cohee’s One United Bank, “the first Black owned online bank.”

As of this writing, they have an interest rate of over 5% for a deposit over $1000 into a “Unity Gold” online banking account. The “online” part makes me assume that I can’t walk to their branch across the street from Magic Johnson’s T.G.I. Fridays and drop 1000 bones on them. This means that I need to trust their online technology as my sole means of doing business. So as of this writing my trust is not there because:

  • These dudes are using an ASP banking application. Microsoft abandoned ASP years ago in favor of ASP.NET. It is one thing to be out of touch and use Microsoft tools on the Internet—it is quite another to use old-ass Microsoft shit on the Internet—and you are a bank too? Banks have money, right?
  • I can call a page in the Web site and throw an error—and the error is shown on my browser. Keeping errors from showing to the public is a basic, basic skill for building a Web site. I’m not going to talk about the HTML validation errors because almost everybody sucks in this category.
  • To sign up for an account your information is sent to a third-party domain. One cannot be sure that this third party is just some generic service for just anybody that can set up a Web site (like me) or a reputable provider for world-class financial services companies.
  • During the sign-up process, my session timed out and I was not able to recover from this—even when my cache was cleared. I completely understand the need for security—especially for a Black owned bank, a great target for racist sabotage—but this went too far.This is another classic example of Black business guys not forming serious relationships with real technical Black guys. I’m extremely sensitive to this issue because you have no idea how proud I would be doing IT work for Black-owned firm. But my socio-economic skills did not place me in the right place at the right time to really play Michael Jordan on the silicon basketball court for a Black-owned team. My historical understanding of ‘my people’ demands that I expect pyramid-building excellence and rhythmic precision from my Black business partners. When it comes to meat-and-potatoes, corn-beef-hash mediocrity, there should be no desire to do business with any group based on ethnicity and historical origin.

It took me a long time to understand that business people “of color” can be just like any other person when they come into contact with a Black male stranger. They don’t know me so they have to guess… In any case, my expertise is not building online banking systems. So the challenge for One United is to invest in the Black-owned equivalent to Corillian Corporation. This is based on my ignorant assumption that such a world-class, African-descended company does not already exist.

It is of course easy to permit the reader to assume that Kevin Cohee is in a class all by himself. The miserable life of a disinformation gangster is to kill respectable reputations. This is misery is not for me. Let me be the first to say that Kevin Cohee is not alone. In fact, one can successfully associate the entire wired world of South Korea to Kevin Cohee’s technology plan. In “The Cost of Monoculture,” Gene Kanai reports that South Korea is living a mono-cultural nightmare, haunted by ancient, Microsoft ActiveX controls.


Gen Kanai, 2007-02-07 07:24:16

Thanks for the link to my article on South Korea.

One United will succeed or fail based on market forces. People will vote with their wallets.

The situation in S. Korea is much more challenging because the government and the government-mandated certificate authorities distribute only Windows/IE-compatible solutions.

rasx(), 2007-02-07 18:15:33

Yes it is amazing how we limit ourselves in what's left of this "free market" economy. When I say we, that's myself included.

genonome, 2007-02-09 19:01:07

Good points...why don't you investigate the "ethnicity" of their CTO.

genonome, 2007-03-26 15:54:28

Cohee's a fraud

jimndudley, 2007-04-15 18:29:12

As the former CTO, I can tell you that I was one of three white employees. The current CTO is also white. Despite the fact that I have chosen to move on from OneUnited Bank, let me say that we (and the CFO) were as (if not more) committed to serving the black community than a lot of the employees. While some may say that Cohee is a fraud, you cannot dispute what he has accomplished. Also, we never considered ourselves white but were instead treated like "light colored" brothers and if you look at those that were promoted in the past 3 years they are committed to the African-American woman (some would say "a true minority"). Say what you will about Cohee, but never judge my contibution to the community based on my skin color.

klafatec, 2007-04-16 15:17:32

A friend told me about your commentary and I know personally that the brother is always willing to give another a chance. From their website, his e-mail is From what I understand they did everything that they have with VERY little money to spend because they are a small bank. But if you are as good as you say you are, make the opportunity that you said you didn't have.

rasx(), 2007-04-16 18:58:57

jimndudley: I will not question your commitment to the Black community; my priority is to explore the commitment self-described Black people have for their community.

klafatec: "my expertise is not building online banking systems"---based on the testimony of jimndudley my recommendation is to pay a premium for Corillian Corporation. I have spent my bright youth on working for cheap for the Black cause. Now I have my retirement to think about and I'm not even 40 years old!

Henry Jones, 2009-01-17 20:55:02

Are you at all concerned that the FDIC has sanctioned the bank and concluded that there has been illegal uses of cars and a home. Does this ring any bells or are we just willing to ignore this?