*Killer Mike is a Grammy-winning rapper, who has excelled as a songwriter, actor, activist, and entrepreneur. As of Thursday, Oct. 9, he can add banker to his portfolio of titles.
Killer Mike, whose real name is Michael Render, is co-founder of the new Greenwood Bank. He shares ownership of Greenwood with civil rights icon and former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew J. Young and Ryan Glover, founder of Bounce TV Network.
According to Killer Mike, who was born, raised, and still lives in Atlanta, Greenwood is a “FinTech Neobank,” which means it will function as an online bank/digital bank. Greenwood will offer full-service banking, to include savings and spending accounts, peer-to-peer money transfers, mobile deposits, Apple & Android Pay, Global ATM Networks, community reinvestments, two-day early pay, no hidden fees, and more. All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.
“Greenwood is the Black bank of the future,” said Killer Mike. “When I was called by Ryan Glover about partnering with him and Andrew Young to start Greenwood, I was interested because the bank, besides it being a savings, deposit, and investment institution, is looking at getting in the game of adding capital to small and medium businesses, and creating Black and Latinx businesses looking to grow.”
“It’s no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latinx community,” said Glover in a statement. “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.”
Greenwood Bank takes its name from “Black Wall Street,” which was part of the historic Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a center of African American enterprise, entertainment, wealth, and an investment capital. At its apex, it was said the dollar in this elite financial Black sector of Tulsa circulated 36 times and stayed up to a year in the Black community before leaving.
The Greenwood District was destroyed in 1921, when mobs of white people torched and destroyed it. By many estimates, up to 10,000 African Americans were left homeless, with approximately 300 Black people killed.
The new Greenwood Bank, according to Killer Mike, wants to duplicate the longevity of the Black dollar that once circulated in the Black community of Tulsa. He said today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community, but only six hours in the Black community.
“Greenwood will be banking in the palm of your hand,” said Killer Mike. “Many things are going digital for African Americans. African Americans use their phones for banking, paying bills and other things more than other groups of people. Greenwood is perfect and fit for the time in terms of how we move around and bank. As brick and mortar banks are pulling out of our community, Black people still need access to banking as an alternative to check cashing places. Greenwood is the alternative. It’s perfect for our community.”
While the Greenwood Bank is interested in serving all age groups, Killer Mike wants a big presence from Black and Latinx in Generation X (individuals born between 1961 and 1981) and Generation Y or Millennials (individuals born between 1982 and 2004).
“I’m personally taking the challenge to get young people,” Killer Mike said. “My belief is that young people should be flocking to Greenwood the same way that our grandparents flocked to Black banks. Whether people live in Chicago, Detroit, D.C., Los Angeles, or Compton, I believe that we can do it in all those places. Greenwood gives them the ability to do their banking with the phones right in our hands. This is our time to take back control of our lives and our financial future.”
While Greenwood won’t open officially until January 2021, the bank, since launching its website on Oct. 9, has amassed a sizable list of individuals wanting to open a Greenwood Bank account.
Opening an account will have other beneficial factors to impact Black and Latinx communities. According to Greenwood’s website, for every customer that signs up, the bank will provide five free meals to a family in need. With each swipe of a Greenwood debit card, it will prompt a donation to UNCF for education, or the NAACP to support civil rights initiatives. And every month, Greenwood will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx small business owner that is a Greenwood customer.
“The work that we did in the civil rights movement wasn’t just about being able to sit at the counter. It was also about being able to own the restaurant,” said Young. “Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering Black and Brown people to have economic opportunity.”
To sign up for a Greenwood account or learn more about the bank, log on to www.bankgreenwood.com.