Killer Mike Launches New Black-Owned Bank, Gets ‘Tens Of Thousands’ Of Account Requests In Less Than 24 Hours

Written by Ann Brown
Killer Mike
Killer Mike’s Launches New Black-Owned Bank, Gets ‘Tens Of Thousands’ Of Account Requests In Less Than 24 Hours Photo: Hip Hop artist and activist Killer Mike speaks during a rally with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Morehouse College, on Feb. 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Traditional Black-owned banks continue to struggle but hip-hop artist Michael “Killer Mike” Render has helped come up with a unique way to cater to Black and Latinx  bank customers.

Greenwood Bank will be the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx business owners and consumers.

Killer Mike teamed up with entrepreneur Ryan Glover and Andrew Young, the civil rights activist and former Atlanta mayor, to launch the Greenwood Bank. They secured $3 million in seed funding in June, CNN reported.

The goal of the bank is to help close the wealth gap by providing a vital financial resource.

“Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community,” Killer Mike said in a press release. “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.”

Killer Mike started the Run The Jewels hip-hop clique with rapper-producer El-P. In 2013, they released their self-titled debut studio album as a free download, to critical acclaim.

“All are welcome to bank #Greenwood! It’s for the culture!!!!! Love and Respect! GM Y’all!” Killer Mike tweeted.

The response was positive. “I’ll have an account there”, one user tweeted.

Glover is the founder of the Bounce TV network, which he sold in 2017 to TV station owner E.W. Scripps for $292 million, according to Deadline. Glover said he came up with the idea for Greenwood in 2018 after noticing his son and daughter did all their banking online.

The bank doesn’t open until January, but the company launched its website on Thursday and there is already a waiting list for those who want to open a Greenwood account.

“I will say we’re in the tens of thousands,” Glover told CNN on Friday. “That number is increasing by the day.”

Glover said he believes digital banking is the wave of the future. “Not just something that’s popular now,” he said. “In order to build wealth, you need bank capital.” 

It’s no secret that traditional banks have failed the Black and Latinx community, Glover told Black Business. “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.”

A Twitter user responded, “Wonderful. I mean, this is the best news I’ve seen in quite a while. Thanks to you and your partners!!”

Greenwood will be targeting Black entrepreneurs and businesses, Glover said. “We will identify qualified entrepreneurs, business owners and creatives to equip them with the capital needed to make their dreams a reality,” he told Complex.

The new bank is much-needed, according to Young. “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.”

The bank is about empowering Black and brown people, Young said.

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

The bank’s name is a nod to the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known in the early 1900s as Black Wall Street because of its thriving community of wealthy Black entrepreneurs. The community was burned down and nearly 300 Black people killed by an angry white mob in 1921 during the Tulsa Massacre.

Greenwood will offer savings and spending accounts along with black metal debit cards to customers who sign up before the end of 2020, Complex reported. The bank is also compatible with Apple, Samsung, and Android pay features, has mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers, virtual debit cards, and free ATM usage in more than 30,000 locations.

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Additionally, Greenwood is giving back by donating five free meals to a family in need for every new customer that joins the bank. And every use of a Greenwood debit card will result in a donation to the United Negro College Fund, Goodr, and the NAACP as well as a monthly $10,000 grant to different Black or Latinx customers who own small businesses.