The future of banking looks bright, and African Americans are leading the movement.
Despite a chaotic and overwhelming year with COVID-19 and the injustices of African Americans at the forefront of the news and our minds, there is some hope that emerges. This past summer, City First Bank of D.C. in Washington and Broadway Federal Bank in Los Angeles have come together in what is sure to be one of the most groundbreaking business moves to-date. From this development, the biggest black-led U.S. Bank is on the cusp.
With a mission to advance economic and social equity in underserved communities through commercial lending, the bank has high hopes for longevity. Combined, the firms have $1 billion in assets and nearly $900 million in deposits. More than 20 years ago, 48 African American-led banks existed. Today, however, that number has dwindled to roughly 20 banks, with assets totaling close to $5 billion. This makes the merge even more special, historical, and necessary.
Meet the CEOs
Though the newly merged bank has no official name yet, there are a few names that deserve to be learned and remembered, as they are the masterminds behind the collaboration. City First Bank CEO, Brian E. Argrett, was also named CEO of the merged firm. Broadway CEO, Wayne-Kent Bradshaw, will become chair of the company’s nine-member board. Marie Johns, City First board chair, was also selected as lead independent director. This team is a perfect blend of representation, sound leadership, and inclusion.
Black Lives…(and Banks) Matter
This initiative could not have come at a better time, where the push for banking, lending, and job creation in undeserved areas is ideal. Rapper and activist Killer Mike has even created the hashtag #BankBlack to advocate for this movement in hopes to ultimately save black banks.
In an interview to Blooberg.com, Argrett emphasized, “We are stepping in at an important time, in an important space. With the public-health crisis, disparities in social and financial outcomes, and, quite frankly, with the social unrest that is occurring around our country as a result of those disparities, it also makes this transaction more important.”
It is also his hope to that this partnership will be able to “operate on a larger scale and resist margin pressure.”
Pending regulatory approval, the deal is scheduled to close in early 2021.
Banking for Us, By Us
- The Harbor Bank of Maryland – www.theharborbank.com
Founded in 1982 with more than $280 million in assets
Fun Fact: It is the first bank in the country that offers Investment Subsidiary.
- Industrial Bank – www.industrial-bank.com
Founded in 1913 with assets totaling $423 million
Fun Fact: It became the largest black-owned bank in the U.S. in 1947.
- Citizens Trust Bank – www.ctb-connect.com
Founded in 1921 with more than $410 million in assets
Fun Fact: The bank focuses on real estate loans, including an affordable housing program for the black community.
- OneUnited Bank – www.oneunited.com
Founded in 2018 with a whooping $670 million in assets
Fun Fact: It is headquartered in Boston with six operating branches.
- Carver Federal Savings Bank – www.carverbank.com
Founded in 1948 with nearly $665 million total assets
Fun Fact: It is named after scientist George Washington Carver.