One of the nation’s largest black banks — Detroit-based First Independence Bank — will be the recipient of a U.S. Bank mentorship that’s part of the Bureau of Fiscal Service Mentor-Protégé Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
During the three-year commitment, U.S. Bank will provide First Independence Bank guidance and insight alongside First Independence’s trajectory to become a financial services provider to the Treasury. The Treasury launched the mentor-protégé program to broaden the capacity of small and community banks. By establishing relationships between the largest commercial banks and small protégé banks. The Treasury aims to expand networks within the financial services industry and to facilitate the inclusion of a broader range of financial institutions in its business opportunities.
“With the mentor-protégé program the Treasury Department intentionally recognizes the importance of small banks in our economy, banks that have historically and traditionally served mostly their local communities,” said Corvelli McDaniel, Assistant Commissioner of Revenue Collections for Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, stated in a news release. “Now, through a period of preparation and mentorship, small banks will have an opportunity to serve the nation.”
First Independence Bank is on the BE Banks list of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest bank in the country, according to its website. Kenneth Kelly, chairman & CEO at First Independence Bank, says the partnership will help his bank grow. “We consider this a high honor and grand opportunity to serve as financial agents to the U.S. Department of Treasury as a U.S. Bank mentee in the Bureau of Fiscal Service Mentor-Protégé Program,” Kelly stated in a news release. “First Independence Bank keeps its customer’s needs at the forefront at all times, so an opportunity such as this, positions us for continued growth in areas that will allow us to better serve new and existing customers at an expanded level locally and nationally. It will be our goal to demonstrate with U.S. Bank, and the U.S. Department of Treasury that mentorship in business is a benefit to all.”
First Independence Bank has been serving Detroit, its surrounding communities and beyond for over 49 years.
Russell Zint, senior vice president and division manager of Federal Banking for U.S. Bank, stated, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with First Independence Bank, leveraging our 30 years of experience as an innovative, trusted advisor and financial agent of the U.S. Treasury. He added, “First Independence Bank’s values align with ours and we believe our collaboration will lead to broader minority involvement in U.S. Treasury business and greater economic development in our communities.”
In May 2019, two other black banks — The Harbor Bank of Maryland and Liberty Bank and Trust Co.—were chosen to work with JPMorgan Chase & Co. as part of The Financial Agent Mentor Protégé Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Both Liberty Bank and the Harbor Bank of Maryland are also on the BE Banks list of the nation’s largest black-owned banks.