PDA Q&A: Kenneth Kelly

The E-Interview, CEO and Chairman, First Independence Bank, Detroit
Kenneth Kelly
Kenneth Kelly

DB: Where are you?
KK: I’m at home, but in constant contact with our team.

DB: How’s the bank doing?
KK: We’re in very good shape. We have remained open during the COVID-19 crisis. We serve a vulnerable customer base that needs access to their funds and financial services. Our team has gone through extreme hygiene measures, and our goal is to be a force of stability in this crisis.

DB: What has the response been?
KK:  We’ve seen a decline in the number of people coming into our offices and branches. We’ve increased access to ATMs from other banks free of charge, including TCF Bank, Chemical Bank, and Fifth Third Bank. That has been in place, and we’re highlighting that to our customers.

DB: Are you in contact with other bank leaders?
KK: Yes, very much so. We’re all sharing best practices. I’m chairman of the National Bankers Association in Washington, D.C., which was founded in 1927 to serve as a voice for minority banking. We represent Asian-American, Hispanic-American, African-American, Native-American, and women-owned banks. There are no credit unions. We are a 501(c)(6) trade association.

DB: Has your background working in the utility sector helped with
the crisis?
KK: I have a degree in electrical engineering and an executive MBA. When I was in the utility industry, our respective teams dealt with natural disasters like Hurricane Andrew in Miami. I saw firsthand the destruction there. We must remain calm. We will recover. We must work as a team. Our tellers are on the front line of this crisis, and our office team is working from home. There are lots of unsung heroes that drive success, and I want to highlight their work.