First Independence Bank, a 51-year-old Black-owned bank based in Detroit, announced that JPMorgan Chase has made a long-term equity investment in the bank as part of its larger support of Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). The actual investment amount was not disclosed.
The announcement comes as part of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity. First Independent Bank will be strengthened by the investment through additional capital, connections to investors, tailored support, mentorship, and training opportunities.
“This is a perfect example of synergies aligning. Both First Independence and JPMorgan Chase see the need to strengthen communities like ours. This investment positions our bank to be able to build better bridges for outreach to our community, to address the documented need,” says Kenneth Kelly, First Independence Bank chairman and CEO.
First Independence recently announced that it has filed an application to expand its operations into the Minneapolis market. The bank was invited to assist with community development as part of that city’s recent focus on improving racial equity.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) designates a federally insured depository institution as an MDI when more than half of the voting stock is owned by minority individuals, or when the majority of the board of directors and the community served are minority. These institutions require additional capital to provide vital financial services to underserved communities.
The bank will use the investment to impact branch operations and services and continue its focus on providing financial literacy, promoting financial wellness, and building community wealth. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor reports than one in four Detroiters is unbanked, owning neither a checking nor a savings account.
“We’re focused on creating lasting change to help close the racial wealth gap across the country,” says Byna Elliot, head of advancing black pathways for JPMorgan Chase. “Providing additional access to capital and offering mentorship and training opportunities for these institutions is a critical piece in driving economic inclusion in our communities. We’re exceptionally proud to support First Independence Bank and provide vital financial services to more Detroiters.”
First Independence Bank is the seventh largest Black-owned commercial bank in the U.S. IT has three locations and offers banking solutions — including managing accounts, personal loans, mortgages, and more — online through its mobile app.
“We are proud to partner with JPMorgan Chase to strengthen the individuals and families in our communities through financial investment. This Tier I support allows MDIs such as First Independence to build upon decades of community development expertise,” says Dimitrius M. Hutcherson, First Independence Bank’s executive vice president, chief administrative officer/chief technology officer.
“This investment will fund branch service expansion and increase our capacity to serve customers, the unbanked and underbanked in product areas including investment education, home ownership pathways and small business loans.”