First Black-Owned Independence Bank to Open Twin Cities Branch | Business


Detroit-based First Independence Bank, one of 18 full-service black-owned banks in the country, has applied to open a branch in the Twin Cities.

The Twin Cities branch, 3430 University Ave. SE in Minneapolis, will be the first 51-year-old company outside of its home state of Michigan. This location is a former bank branch that Wells Fargo donated to Project for Pride in Living (PPL), which works with First independence bank on its expansion in the market.

Kenneth Kelly, President and CEO, First Independence Bank

“We are fortunate to find a site on a major thoroughfare, making it accessible to a wide range of residents and businesses that a bank needs to be economically viable,” said Kenneth Kelly, President and CEO of First Independence Bank. a light rail line and a bus line is a plus for the underprivileged communities that we hope to serve, in particular the black community. The same goes for the opportunity to be part of an established shopping area with few banking options nearby. He added that the site also has drive-thru for convenience and space to host education sessions and community gatherings.

The branch is expected to open in early November. A second location at Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue is possible in the future, Kelly said.

Damon Jenkins, former Wells Fargo district manager for Minneapolis, joined First Independence Bank as senior vice president and president of the Twin Cities regional market.

Damon jenkins

Damon Jenkins, Senior Vice President and President of Twin Cities Regional Market, First Independence Bank.

Five banks in the Twin Cities – Bank of America, Bremer Bank, Huntington Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo – each support the arrival of First Independence Bank with capital, research, marketing and other services to ensure its start-up and its long-term success. .

“We are delighted to be working with these five banks to open a branch in the region,” said Kelly. “Banks are beacons of hope in their communities, and we intend to be so for the people of Minneapolis, St. Paul and the rest of the Twin Cities, especially those who are unbanked or under- banked throughout the region.

Kelly said First Independence Bank’s decision to open in the Twin Cities came easily after talks that began in April with several black business leaders, clerics, nonprofits and other communities in the region.

“As the First Independence Bank prioritizes services to the black community and to underfunded businesses and individuals, it was important for me to listen to these leaders about the needs of the community and how the bank could do it. the difference. They welcomed me generously and offered me important advice, ”said Kelly. As a result, housing will be a major focus for First Independence Bank in the Twin Cities. “Our innovative home loan programs will help reduce one of the country’s biggest disparities between black and white homeowners.” The branch will also offer customers the use of ATMs and debit cards at any Huntington and Wells Fargo ATMs with no service charge, a loan program to help build a credit score or repair credit. personal, virtual financial education sessions, and more.

“Each of our companies has doubled its investments in racial equity within our own organizations and the communities we serve over the past year,” said Tim Welsh, vice president of personal and corporate banking. US Bank companies. “The events of that year also showed us the value of thinking and acting differently. So, we wondered what we could do, working together, beyond what we were doing alone? Helping to support the expansion of an established black-owned bank in this region rose to the top of the list.

Helping bring a competitor into the market may seem counterintuitive, observed Laurie Nordquist, senior president of the Wells Fargo Central Region. “But for the five of us, the matter is clear. Black households are more than five times more likely than white households to be unbanked. We need to continue our outreach and inclusion efforts while supporting a black-owned bank. It is not an “one or the other” proposition – it is a “both and” proposition. Supporting a bank like First Independence Bank, with its history and expertise, is part of the change we are collectively working to make in the financial services ecosystem.

Jeanne Crain, Chief Executive Officer of Bremer Financial, added that as a qualified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), First Independence Bank is able to tap into a special CDFI fund which allows for lower lending rates. to individuals and businesses in low-income countries. income zones. And, although black-owned businesses exist in many industrial sectors in the Twin Cities, the area lacks an established black-owned bank. “This is a gap that First Independence Bank is particularly able to help fill,” Crain said.

First Independence Bank is the 7th largest black-owned commercial bank in the United States. It offers a variety of high quality banking services, ranging from account management to personal loans, mortgages, consumer education and investments. First Independence Bank has three sites and offers online and digital banking solutions through its mobile application. Founded in 1970, the bank continues to be a responsible leader, effectively serving the financial needs of its community, businesses and customers nationwide. First Independence Bank is a member of the FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.

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