In a historic move, Michigan-based First Independence Bank has opened new locations across Minnesota, becoming the first-ever Black-owned bank in the state.
Since 1970, First Independence Bank has been serving the financial needs of the community while addressing social and economic inequalities in the Metro Detroit area. Its newest bank in Southeast Minneapolis marks the first time the bank has opened a location outside Michigan.
Damon Jenkins, senior vice president and Twin Cities regional market president of First Independence Bank, will serve as the head of the new location. As a southside native and also a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Jenkins said he is looking forward to helping people in his community.
“This is a real opportunity to really say how do we think differently. It really gives us a chance to serve different and really bring access to communities that have been cut out of banking but cut out of resources for some time,” Jenkins told Fox 9 News.
First Independence first location in Minnesota was also made possible with the support of Wells Fargo, Bremer Bank, Huntington, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank.
“I still pinch myself because you have five large banks that are competitors parking their shields at the door to get in the same room and then they bring in another competitor, a Black-owned bank,” Jenkins said.
Moreover, Jenkins hopes it is just the start of many other Black-owned bank ventures. In fact, a second South Minneapolis location is set to open later this year.
“We’re Black-owned, but we’re not Black-only. And so we’re hopeful that we can have relationships to not just consist of BIPOC communities or Black communities, but all communities even beyond the twin cities, I’m hopeful that we can establish relationships across Minnesota.” he added.