Rapper and Political Activist, Michael Render also known as ‘Killer Mike’, has made plans to launch a new project: A digital bank. The founders include Michael Render, Andrew J. Young, former mayor of Atlanta and Ryan Glover, Greenwood Chairman and founder of Bounce TV network.
The digital bank by the name of ‘Greenwood’ will specifically target the Black and Latino community backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The name refers to the Tulsa, Oklahoma, neighborhood once known as the Black Wall Street before it was burned to the ground by a white mob in 1921.
“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,” said Ryan Glover.
The design of the debit card is made from black-colored metal. The bank’s initial services will offer a checking’s and savings account and will charge lower fees than bigger banks to open new accounts and will offer online training for basic skills in personal finance. This feature will help customers gain financial information and insight on operating their accounts properly.
The multiple payment methods will include Apple Pay, Android Pay digital wallets, and Venmo. Also, customers who invite their friends to open accounts will receive cash awards and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations, offered with no hidden fees. To add on to the many suitable features, Greenwood also plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned backs to provide deposits to help strengthen historically black banks in the future.
Mike Render believes that banks haven’t done their diligence in providing the proper care to people of color, there are precisely 5,066 federally insured banks in the U.S. yet only 20 are majority Black-owned, according to the FDIC. “Georgia is a state that’s 30% African-American,” Render said. “We think we deserve 30% of the state’s deposits as well.”
Render gives us insight on just how a single dollar can circulate between communities and why Greenwood was created. “Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community.” He continues, “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 three key avenues that Greenwood plans to support are as followed:
- For every customer sign-up, Greenwood will provide five free meals to a family in need.
- Every swipe of a Greenwood debit card will prompt a donation to UNCF for education, Goodr to feed the hungry, or NAACP to support civil rights.
- Every month, Greenwood will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that is a Greenwood customer.
“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. Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.” said Ambassador, Andrew Young
The Atlanta bank has begun accepting account applications as of Thursday (Oct. 8 2020) via mobile phone app and website, though services won’t be available until next year. The website for the digital bank is bankgreenwood.com.