fintech stories

Greenwood's promise: «we want to close the racial wealth gap»


Greenwood is a new Fintech that aims, as its board and shareholders have told the press, to close the racial wealth gap. It’s one of the newest and most attractive online banking options available right now. In this piece, we’re going to give you the scoop on what exactly Greenwood is? Who are Greenwood's founders? A bit about Greenwood’s history, and what great features Greenwood has to offer its clients. 

What Is Greenwood?

Greenwood is an online banking platform that allows its clients to have total control over their money and funds via a website or an app. The bank's main goal is to modernize banking for a niche community — it is mainly geared towards African American and Latin customers. 

The name Greenwood is also mired in African-American history, a potent portmanteau that is filled with power and rhetoric. Greenwood branding is meant to honor the historic district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A district that was known as “Black Wall Street” due to its thriving community, its lavish black business-owned companies, and its cultural heritage. The area was one of the most prosperous in the state. 

Greenwood’s fate turned for the worse in 1921 when a false newspaper report spurred one of the nation’s most devastating race massacres. The Tulsa race massacres took place between May 31 to June 1st of that year. White armed, and deputized, mobs attacked black residents and destroyed homes and businesses in the Greenwood area of Tulsa. It is considered the “single worst incident of racial violence in American history.” More than 35 quake blocks went up in smoke and to this date, records are spotty regarding how many lost their lives. The Numbers range from 75 to 300 depending on which commission is investigating the riots. More than 800+ were injured and hundreds lost their livelihood. 

Greenwood banking was made by a group of proud entrepreneurs looking to create a new banking initiative that targets the disenfranchised and the underbanked, particularly people of color or non-white ethnicity. 

Greenwood’s Founders

Amongst Greenwood board of founders and creator 3 stand out above the rest: Michale “Killer Mike” Render, Ryan Glover, and Ambassador Andrew J. Young. 

Andrew Young is a former UN Ambassador and Atlanta mayor that has been diligently striving his whole life to close the divide that is inherent to racial inequality. Ryan Glover is one of Bounce Tv's founders. Mike “Killer Mike” Render is a well-known area rap artist. 

The trio has known each other for years. Both Ryan and Mike have been students of Young, a man known for his mentoring in the community. The bank’s single largest investor is actor and activist Jesse Williams, best known for his starring role as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Wiliams provided Greenwood with over $3 million in seed money in 2020.

The founding trio decided to create a neobank - an institution that offers financial and digital banking services without the need for physical branches - because more than 65% of Americans are now doing all their banking online and that number is expected to rise by 3% annually. 

Greenwood Features and Benefits

Most neobanks offer limited and somewhat restrictive services and products. They mostly have depository accounts and debit cards. Greenwood is shifting that paradigm by offering a full state of service and some rather unconventional give-backs. Offers and services most traditional banks don’t have. 

Their main aim is to have a robust and incredibly flexible infrastructure, one that will encourage all races - not just their target demographics - to open an account with them. They welcome all customers and hope to create a platform that values equality and embraces racial diversity. 

Greenwood’s launch has been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic, nonetheless, they expect to have the platform and the infrastructure ready by the second half of 2021. A platform that will initially roll out with the bare minimum - debit spending and savings accounts - but within a month will expand with new vogue offers. 

Amongst some of the offers they are targeting for that period, clients will find:

  • Two-day early pay for direct deposits. 
  • Apple, Samsung, and Android pay.
  • Virtual debit cards.
  • Peer-to-peer transfers.
  • Mobile check deposits.
  • Free ATM usage in over 30 thousand locations. 
  • No hidden fees. 

The trios are expected to scale their operation to include over 600,000 active accounts by the end of 2021. So far, the bank has raised a total of $43 million in funding over 2 rounds, and has over 16 dedicated highly influential investors, amongst them Mastercard and TTV Capital. 

Greenwood plans, by 2022, to work with brick-and-mortar banks that are owned by minorities, to help them build their infrastructure and strengthen their platform by giving them key resources they now lack.