Whether loans for homeownership, refinancing or even automobile financing – lending discrimination is still alive and kicking
However, an Atlanta duo is joining the “Bank Black” monolith creating social structure and uniformity. Financial startup company Greenwood has seen a metric of success in the hands of co-founders Paul Judge and Ryan Glover according to a report in Bloomberg.
Their goal is to repair the longstanding negative impact mainstream financial institutions have caused the Black community. Greenwood is rather unique given that it’s not a full-on storefront type of institution. Instead, the company is considered a “fintech.”
Fintech’s can be categorized as a subset of a larger group. In this case, Greenwood falls under a neobank similar to banking apps that offers financial services digitally.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has a partnership with approved digital services for which it powers and modulates insured banks’ overall performance.
Judge said, “Many of us are scared of banks like we’re scared of police officers.”
The 45-year-old Atlanta-bred computer scientist has found his success in entrepreneurship. “[Greenwood] is fixing a problem that has been around for centuries,” he said.
Greenwood is doing just that much like its contemporaries. With checking and saving accounts as part of their services, the institution provides debit cards and plans to create investment resources such as mortgages and small-business loans.
Therefore, like many Black startup companies, the institution wants to create a safe space while eliminating a lot of red tape for people of color living a middle class lifestyle.
The bank reportedly has gained 700,000 prospective customers awaiting to do business with the institution amassed over the last 18 months.
Judge said, “Banks don’t understand the Black barbershop or the Black construction company.” He added, “Black businesses are denied access to capital and denied mortgages” two times that of White people.
While the computer wiz may have had the book sense on paper for Greenwood’s conception, he still required assistance for funding. That’s where his partner, Glover, came in.
With a background in entertainment and marketing, having helped manage the careers of Mary J. Blige and the late Biggie Smalls, Glover admitted that he didn’t know what he could do for the company.
He co-founded Bounce TV, the country’s first Black-owned broadcast TV network, which he later sold to E.W. Scripps company in 2017 for $292 million.
The businessman enlisted those in his network such as New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, rapper and producer Jermaine Dupri, and “Grey’s Anatomy” alum and activist Jesse Williams to help with seed money.
Though he had no experience in the banking industry, Glover was fluid in his awareness of the racial disparities among predominantly white banking institutions.
“It’s no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latino community,” Glover said in a press release, which included a photo of Young flanked by him and Killer Mike. “This is our time to take back control of our lives and our financial future.”
Greenwood, also known as the home of “Black Wallstreet,” was named after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that ended in casualties by racist white looters and arsonists who destroyed the prosperous area.
The destruction resulted in properties and businesses being wiped out causing financial devastation. A community that was set up to create generational wealth for people of color, was taken down by white oppressors leaving the window obscured from hate.