Rapper Killer Mike, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover have launched a new online bank targeted toward people in the Black and Latinx communities, called Greenwood.
Greenwood has secured $3 million in seed funding from private investors, the three announced on Thursday, and will become the first digital banking system of its kind.
“It’s no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latinx community,” said Glover, who’s lso the chairman of the Bounce TV network, in a news release. “We needed to create a new financial platform that understands our history and our needs going forward, a banking platform built by us and for us, a platform that helps us build a stronger future for our communities. This is our time to take back control of our lives and our financial future. That is why we launched Greenwood, modern banking for the culture.”
Young is also a civil rights advocate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Killer Mike whose real name is Michael Render, has been a vocal advocate for Black financial rights and empowerment.
“Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community,” Killer Mike said. “Moreover, a Black person is twice as likely as a white person to be denied a mortgage. This lack of fairness in the financial system is why we created Greenwood.”
The name of the bank is on homage to “Black Wall Street,” part of the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 20th Century. It was a center of African American enterprise before being destroyed by white mobs in 1921. The Greenwood bank is a sponsor of the Greenwood Culture Center in Oklahoma.
Greenwood’s initial offerings are savings and spending accounts that come with a special black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year. Features include Apple, Samsung and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations with no hidden fees. Customers who invite friends to open accounts receive cash awards. All deposits are FDIC-insured by a partner bank.
Future plans include partnerships with brick and mortar minority-owned banks.
“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Young said. “We have the skills, talent and energy to compete anywhere in the world, but to grow the economy, it has to be based on the spirit of the universe and not the greed of the universe.”
As part of a goodwill effort, Greenwood will provide five free meals to a family in need for every new customer; make a donation to the UNCF for education, Goodr to feed the hungry or NAACP to support civil rights for ever time a debit card is swiped; and provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner who is a Greenwood customer each month.
To sign up for a Greenwood account, visit the bank’s website.