MLK’s Daughter and Black Investors Purchase White-Owned Bank in Utah — First Time in History


Dr. Bernice A. King and Ashley D. Bell are leading a group of Black investors in the purchase of Holladay Bank & Trust, which is located near Salt Lake City, Utah. They are the first Black American investors to purchase a bank that was formerly owned by white people. Furthermore, after the transaction is completed, it will be the only Black-owned bank west of Texas and the only one in the whole Mountain West region of the United States.

The investors, who include former NFL star Dhani Jones, are making the purchase through their Redemption Holding Company, which is situated in Atlanta. Jones will join King, the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, and Bell, a former White House Policy Advisor, on the company’s advisory board.

The historically woman-led white-owned bank has been in operation in Salt Lake City, Utah, which has one of the lowest Black populations in the country, since 1974. With regulatory approval, the investors intend to rename the firm Redemption Bank, with a concentration on internet banking services and small business loans, particularly in underprivileged communities.

“Black banks make the American dream possible for all Americans by deploying resources that uniquely address the financial realities of communities that have been systematically excluded, overcharged, and under-capitalized for hundreds of years,” Bell told The Hill.

“In my father’s last public address on April 3, 1968, he preached the imperative to accelerate the financial inclusion of Black Americans by supporting mission-driven Black banks — something he called a ‘bank-in movement,'” King said. “More than half a century of struggle and incremental progress later, we’re making good on daddy’s call to bank in by creating new centers of opportunity for people of color, starting with this Black-led bank acquisition. Redemption is just that: delivering families from the cycle of unjust financial exclusion and intergenerational poverty.”

With this acquisition, there will now be 17 Black-owned banks in the United States. That represents less than 1% of all FDIC-insured banks. According to CNBC, however, between 1888 and 1934, there were as many as 134 banks across the nation that were owned and operated by African Americans.

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