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  • Writer's pictureLauren McCann

Revitalizing Black Banks in America

Our founder, Lauren McCann, is working closely with King Center CEO Dr. Bernice King, actor Hill Harper, ESPN’s Ryan Clark, first African mayor of St. Louis Tishaura Jones, Aspen fellow Yolanda Daniel, and National Bankers Association Chairman Robert James on a new innovative model and approach to revitalize and strengthen Black banks. How? By pooling their interests into syndicates and educating Americans about the impact of community banking on underserved populations.

The mission of the National Black Bank Foundation (NBBF) is to ensure communities of color can access capital and build wealth through a robust Black banking sector. Black-owned banks are often the primary source for fair, non-predatory lending in minority-majority zip codes. For every dollar of Tier 1 capital invested in Black-banks, it allows the Black-banks to lend 10 dollars into the communities they serve. Every time you do a transaction with a Black bank, the revenue they earn turns into capital they can lend to small businesses, churches, small farms, and households in undercapitalized communities.

In December 2020, the Atlanta Hawks, in partnership with the National Black Bank Foundation, announced a historic transaction to refinance a $35 million construction loan for a practice facility underwritten entirely by 11 Black-owned banks that were pooled together into a syndicate. Through this transaction, Black banks were able to compete and 25 communities across the country were positively impacted. This was the first time a professional sports franchise had underwritten a significant loan using Black bank credit. The Atlanta Hawks were able to secure an attractive loan and support a vital anchor in the Black community. Simply put, these banks just want to compete and together, through NBBF, they have the strength and opportunity to do so.

Read NBBF co-founder Ashley Bell and Dr. Bernice King’s op-ed on, “How businesses can heed Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to support Black banks,” for an engaging look at how NBBF’s model, grounded in good business, is a market-based solution to close the racial wealth gap by targeting underinvested communities of color.

Lauren is currently serving as chair of the Corporate Advisory Board and helped recruit NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett, New Orleans Saints NFL Player Demario Davis, and hip-hop mogul Cortez Bryant to join the effort.

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