Greenwood, the "Black bank of the future" that looks after minority savings
Inspired by Tulsa's Black Wall Street, a group of investors including rapper Killer Mike and former Atlanta mayor Andrew J. Young, have founded a bank for Blacks and Latinos.
When Tulsa, Oklahoma, and especially its most iconic district, Greenwood, was at its peak with thriving Black community businesses on so-called "Black Wall Street," the "Black dollar" circulated 36 times and stayed in the community for a year before leaving.
After the tragic Tulsa Massacre of 1921, where 10,000 African Americans lost their homes and some 300 died, nothing was ever the same.
Now a dollar circulates for 20 days among whites, but only six hours among Blacks.
That's something the new Greenwood Bank intends to change.
"It's the Black bank of the future," Michael Render told EurWeb.
Michael Render is the real name of Killer Mike, a Grammy-winning rap star, as well as a composer, activist, actor and now a banker.
Born in Atlanta, where he still lives, Render is one of the owners of this new digital entity that draws from Tulsa's golden past and seeks to put the value of Black and Latino money back into the equation.
A "FinTech Neobank," said the rapper, which will offer a banking service that includes both savings and spending accounts as well as money transfers, mobile deposits, rollovers, prepayments and more. It will also be all online.
But he's not alone in the venture. Greenwood Bank counts among its investors some well-known philanthropists and activists, including civil rights icon and former Atlanta mayor Andrew J. Young and Ryan Glover, founder of the Bounce television network.
One of the motivations of these bold investors is not only that Greenwood is a savings institution, but that it also helps to create and promote Black and Latino businesses, taking into account the community's own history and future needs.
It's a platform, in short, that helps them build a future.
"It is no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latino community," Glover said in a statement.
To that end, Greenwood focuses on technology and how African Americans are using their phones to make transactions, pay bills and interact with businesses, and proposes an alternative to "brick-and-mortar banks. In particular, the so-called Generation X, Generation Y and Millennial customers.
"My belief is that young people should go to Greenwood like our grandparents went to the Black banks," Killer Mike told EurWeb. "It's time to take back control."
Although the bank won't officially open until January 2021, the list of people interested in opening an account is growing.
According to Greenwood Bank's website, the bank will be very focused on solidarity, providing five free meals to a needy family for every customer who signs up, dedicating donations to education and supporting NAACP initiatives, among other things.