When it comes to the empowerment of disenfranchised communities, rapper and activist Killer Mike puts action behind his words. Last year the lyricist—whose real name is Michael Santiago Render—unveiled plans to launch a Black and Latinx-owned banking platform, and CNN recently reported the fintech startup has secured $40 million in investments.
Cognizant of the racial inequities that persist within the realm of banking and the ever-growing racial wealth gap, Render and his business partner Ryan Glover joined forces to develop a solution designed to address the economic barriers faced by communities of color. They created the Greenwood platform which has a namesake that is derived from the historic Tulsa, Oklahoma-based business district that was an epicenter for Black entrepreneurship. The digital financial institution, which has been coined by its creators as “modern banking for the culture,” has an array of initiatives centered on social responsibility that were developed to align new entrepreneurs with the financial tools needed to cultivate a solid foundation for success and help legacy businesses navigate the everchanging economy.
The bank was founded with a $3 million investment and has now been backed by several financial corporations that include Truist Bank, Banco Popular, PNC, Visa, Wells Fargo, Soft Bank and Mastercard. Individual investors include NFL player Alvin Kamara and actor Jesse Williams. Venture Capital firms TTV Capital, Quality Ventures, FIS and Lightspeed Venture Partners have invested in Greenwood well.
“The challenge of the racial wealth gap can only be effectively addressed by a coalition focused on the mission of financial equity,” Render wrote in a statement, according to CNN. “Greenwood’s Series A funding round is a major step towards economic empowerment to Latino and Black individuals, families, and businesses by assembling multiple parties in finance and financial services to act in concert.” Glover says the plan is to remain majority Black and Latinx-owned adding that element of their business is “part of our DNA.”
The rapper previously explained why he said he believes that Greenwood will be instrumental in the creation of generational wealth within communities of color.
“Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the Black community,” Killer Mike said back in October when he and the other leaders in Atlanta launched the digital bank. “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.”
Investopedia reported there are less than 100 Black-owned financial institutions in the United States.