Minnesota's First-Ever Black-Owned Bank Opens In Minneapolis


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A Black-owned bank has opened its doors in Minneapolis, becoming the first-ever in the state of Minnesota.

According to Because of Them We Can, First Independence Bank is a financial institution based in Detroit that is one of a small group of Black-owned banks in the US. The financial firm expanded outside of Michigan for the first time, opening a branch in Minneapolis and making history in the process.

First Independence CEO Kenneth Kelly told the outlet the motivation to open in Minneapolis was to address economic disparities directly. Minnesota has one of the widest wealth gaps in the country and has a documented history of discriminatory lending practices that disproportionately bar Black people from obtaining financial capital to obtain and generate wealth.

"You know, we're really going to be a servant to the community and what that looks like is really striving to build stewards of banking," VP Damon Jenkins said in a statement.

And that community put in the effort to bring First Independence to Minneapolis. BOTWC reports that Wells Fargo donated the physical building to the Twin Cities-based nonprofit Project for Pride in Living which in turn leased it to First Independence.

A group of four other banks, including Bank of America, worked together to convince First Independence to move to the area even with potential competition as a show of faith in the collective effort to diversify banking in communities.

"We view this expansion as an effort that builds capabilities and muscles in communities of color, in the Black community for the long overhaul ... Our folks deserve to be here," Project for Pride in Living CEO Paul Williams said.

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