First Independence is a Detroit-based, Black owned bank and one of only 18 Black owned full-service banks in the U.S. In late August, it filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to open a branch in Minneapolis.
The “full service” bank is expected to open a branch in early November. Another location may open by the middle of 2022, First Independence Bank chairman and CEO Kenneth Kelly said at a news conference.
“Banks are beacons of hope in their communities, and we intend to be that for the people of Minneapolis, St. Paul and the rest of the Twin Cities, particularly those who are unbanked or underbanked throughout the region,” Kelly said.
Its arrival is supported by five banks in the Twin Cities — Bank of America, Bremer Bank, Huntington Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, who will assist with capital, research, marketing and other services.
The incoming university location was formerly a Wells Fargo bank. In March 2020, Wells Fargo made a $50 million investment in 13 Black-Owned Banks, including First Independence. Bank of America also invested in September 2020, taking equity stakes of about 5% in First Independence Bank.
The bank hopes to lessen racial disparities with a home loan program intended to reduce the gaps between Black and white homeowners and a loan program to help establish a credit score or repair personal credit, Kelly said. As a Community Development Financial Institution, the bank will have more favorable lending rates to individuals in low-income areas.
Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!