First Boulevard Bank: the pioneers of alternative Fintech
2020 was a tipping point for humanity, as many recent events changed the face of this Earth, both socially, and culturally. Amongst some of them we can find a rather notorious one, COVID-19, and another one that was the fulcrum for the commencement of a massive social movement, which was the killing of George Floyd.
The deed perpetrated by the former police agent Derek Chauvin was the last straw that broke the camel's back. The need for equality, and unity led both Donald Hawkins, and Asya Bradley to create a medium for the Black community to gain financial power— generating financial independence. Thus, First Boulevard was born. In this article we are going to talk about what First Boulevard is? What features does First Boulevard have? And, more importantly, how First Boulevard can help you control your finances better.
What is First Boulevard?
First Boulevard (or First Blvd Bank) is a digital bank that is aimed primarily at the black community. It is a new completely digital bank service with top-notch technological tools that will help its customers manage and stretch their money more efficiently.
How does this First Boulevard work?
The overall function First Boulevard is as follows.
It does not operate as a traditional bank, with a physical place, but through a virtual platform that provides people with up-to-date elements that make their banking incredibly intuitive and much simpler.
Some of those features are:
- Cash Back for Buying Black™ (a Black marketplace with monetary rewards of up to 15% for buying from Black-owned companies, or businesses)
- Automated technologies
- Free-fee debit cards
- Financial education
- Money market accounts
- High-yield savings accounts
- Early access to wages (in some cases up to two days upfront)
- Budgeting tools
- Round-up saving systems
Potential clientele and service users
A breakthrough novelty within the community, First Boulevard is a game changer. Sign ups are beginning to grow with a waiting clientele of more than 100,000. Users that are eagerly waiting to make access to the company’s services. The beta launch of First Boulevard is scheduled to be released by the late 2021.
In regards to the creators, their marketing and overall finance experience has helped them target the potential customers - and key demographic segments - that can thoroughly benefit from the usage of the First Boulevard platform.
What is First Boulevard’s mission?
As it is known, COVID-19 led to the shutdown of many businesses, particularly African-American community-oriented ones, leading the founders to find a way to give back to the community, and a means to manage their money.
One of the reasons why First boulevard - formerly known as Tenth - rose to existence is the need for the African American community to have a Fintech that suits their needs. The Black community has a buying power of $1.4 trillion dollars, according to a study performed by Catalyst.org.
Yet, it is distributed only amongst 19 black owned banks, all of them keeping a “meager” total of $5 million in assets. And each lacking up-to-date digital tools. Like online financial tools that cater to the needs of this particular segment.
First Boulevard mission and vision is strongly oriented to fulfill the needs of the Black community as a whole, as well as bestowing it with key financial literacy principles --- including the importance of wealth accumulation First Boulevard arms is clients with the necessary know-hows needed to lead an economically responsible life, and giving them the tools to materialize this.
In the words of Asya Bradley, co-founder of First Boulevard and COO (TechCrunch, 2021):
“[...] First Boulevard understands the unique needs of our community so we provide early access to wages, round up savings features, plus targeted financial education, and budgeting tools to improve livelihoods and build generational prosperity for Black America"
People behind the project
Robust venture companies, such as Barclays Investment Bank, Point72 Ventures, and Anthemis Group are behind First Boulevard founding. It’s portfolio is also filled with investors like John Buttrick, Jamere Jackson, and Hollywood actress Gabrielle Union.
As of August 12th, 2021, the company has raised funds of over $20 million dollars, with the $5 million-dollar seed capital poured into their coffers by Barclays Investment Bank on February 26th, 2021. Most recently, Point72 Ventures, invested the sm of $15 million dollars via a Series A round.
In regards to the founders, and braintrust, we find some heavy hitters.
- Donald Hawkins has vast experience in the realm of banking. He helped create the company Griffin Technologies, dedicated to marketing and analytics, with a focus on providing solutions for the community.
- Asya Bradley has vital expertise in the field. She is also a pivotal figure in the Fintech community --- having personally overseen the creation of Synapse, a company whose aim is to unite the unbanked outsiders with banks by the utilization of banking APIs.
What does the future hold for First Boulevard?
Future certainly looks bright for First Boulevard, as they have entered into a partnership with Visa. It is going to be the first Fintech to manage Visa’s cryptocurrency endeavors through its APIS. Making it possible for people to buy, and trade different digital assets, and cryptocurrencies. This is not only a massive advantage for the Black community, but a tempting draw for all types of people regardless of their race. Their premier Debit Card is set to make its debut as well in the near future.
First Boulevard, a force to be reckoned with
Given their current assets, their structure, their investors, their shareholders and the bevy of future services, it is more than certain that First Boulevard will attract its fair share of clients -- not only within the black community but from all kinds of niches.