Key Takeaways

  • Killer Mike worked with Andrew Young and Ryan Glover to create the first digital bank geared toward Black and Latinx people.
  • The bank received “tens of thousands” of account requests within the first 24 hours.
  • Named for the “Black Wall Street” area of Tulsa, Okla.’s former Greenwood district, the bank will support Black and Latinx causes and businesses.

Rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render has teamed up with civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young and media executive Ryan Glover to create the first digital bank geared toward Black and Latinx people. 

The trio raised $3 million in seed funding for Greenwood, the digital bank they hope will enable customers to more easily support Black and Latinx causes and businesses.

“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… This is our time to take back control of our lives and our financial future.”

Greenwood – named for the “Black Wall Street” area of Tulsa, Okla.’s former Greenwood district that was destroyed by white mobs in 1921 – provides customers with spending and savings accounts, mobile deposits, and peer-to-peer transfers that are fulfilled almost entirely online. The bank also offers a global ATM network, Apple and Android Pay services, and physical and virtual debit cards.

Glover told CNN Business that Greenwood received “tens of thousands” of account requests within the first 24 hours of Thursday’s announcement even though the bank doesn’t open until January.

Greenwood plans to support Black and Latinx causes and businesses in three key ways: 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, Goodr, or NAACP; and every month Greenwood will provide a $10,000 grant to a Black or Latinx Greenwood customer who owns a small business.

The digital bank will also work with brick and mortar minority-owned banks to provide deposits to help strengthen these historically black financial institutions. There are only 23 minority-owned banks in the U.S. today, according to the National Bankers Association. 

“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 founding team hired Reese Giddins, formerly of Bank of America and TD Bank, to help run the bank as president and chief technology officer. Working alongside Giddins is David Tapscott, formerly an executive at Green Dot, as chief marketing officer and Tara Kimbrough as head of recruiting. Andrew “Bo” Young III, son of the civil rights icon, will serve as a board member.

“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,” Ambassador Young said. “Killer Mike, Ryan and I are launching Greenwood to continue this work of empowering black and brown people to have economic opportunity.”