Whites dominate the banking industry in America, while some persons of color have made significant inroads in recent years. Today, there are over 20 black-owned banks in America serving the banking requirements of disadvantaged communities.
According to this news release, Sati Smith is the latest Black woman to break down boundaries in the banking world. She is the first Black woman CEO of Diversified Members Credit Union (DMCU), situated in Detroit, Michigan.
She succeeds Kathie Trembath, the company’s former CEO. Trembath has been Smith’s mentor for nearly two decades and has worked for the credit union.
“Sati’s promotion marks the beginning of reaching new goals and heights in her career and is also the start of a new chapter for DMCU,” David H. Brooks III, Diversified Members Credit Union Board Chair, said in the news release. “The board of directors is proud of Sati’s accomplishments. We know she’ll be an outstanding mentor and role model, and we look forward to her leadership and innovative initiatives to come.”
Commenting on her elevation, Smith said it’s a major accomplishment, not only for her and her family but for the entire community. “It sends a strong message to women and other minorities that we can break glass ceilings,” she noted. “We can accomplish what we want to accomplish. My sincere hope is that this will inspire others.”
Diversified Members Credit Union, which was founded in 1929, has almost 30,000 members. According to the news announcement, it has $500 million in assets and employs around 100 team members at its offices in Detroit, Clawson, and Novi.
Smith does not have to work hard to become the first Black woman CEO of Diversified Members Credit Union (DMCU). In an interview with Fox-2 in Detroit, she discussed how she overcame her terrible upbringing.
“I was on welfare, I was a single mother,” Smith told the outlet. “You just have to continue to work hard and utilize the passion, have that drive — and you will succeed. Don’t ever give up.”
She formerly worked as a teller at Kemba Financial Credit Union. Prior to her current role, she worked at DMCU as a data processing clerk, IT manager, branch manager, operations manager, and chief operating officer.
Smith does not have a high school diploma, but after receiving a GED, he pursued a college degree. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Social Work and an MA from Ashland Theological Seminary.