Atlanta rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render has teamed up with former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young and Ryan Glover, founder of Bounce TV network, to launch Greenwood, the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx individuals and business owners.
Though the bank will not open until January 2021, Greenwood has secured $3 million in seed funding from private investors and thousands of requests to open accounts after the company launched its website on Thursday, Oct. 9.
"Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community," Render 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 Greenwood name pays homage to the prosperous "Black Wall Street," part of the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 20th Century -- a center of African American enterprise, entertainment, skills, wealth and investment capital.
Though it was destroyed by white mobs in 1921, the Greenwood District remains an enduring symbol of the economic potential of community solidarity.
Greenwood's initial products are savings and spending accounts that come with a stunningly designed black metal debit card for customers who sign up by the end of the year.
Advanced features like Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, peer-to-peer transfers, mobile check deposits, and free ATM usage in over 30,000 locations are offered with no hidden fees.
Customers who invite their friends to open accounts receive cash awards as a thank you from Greenwood. All deposits are FDIC insured by a partner bank.
Additionally, Greenwood plans to work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen historically Black banks.
Greenwood's executive leadership includes:
Aparicio Giddins, President & Chief Technology Officer (previously of Bank of America and TD Bank)
David Tapscott, Chief Marketing Officer (previously of Green Dot and Combs Enterprises)
Andrew "Bo" Young, III, Board Member (managing partner, Andrew Young Investment Group)
Dr. Paul Judge, Board Member (co-founder of Pindrop and TechSquare Labs)
"The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn't just about being able to sit at the counter," Young said. "It was also about being able to own the restaurant."
"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."
Greenwood has three key avenues to support Black and Latinx causes and businesses:
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.
And every month, Greenwood will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that is a Greenwood customer.
"It's no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latinx community," Glover said. "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."