Whether forming business partnerships or serving on nonprofit boards, Victor Branch is known for stepping up to help make a difference for Black Americans in Richmond, Virginia.
He is the first African American president of the Bank of America Richmond region.
As such, Branch oversees nearly 2,000 employees at 25 branches in Richmond and several surrounding counties and cities along with a technology and operations center in Henrico County.
He is a banker with a passion to help others. He has worked for Bank of America for 38 years, having evolved from its entry-level management training program to serving in multiple executive roles. His duties now include managing over $4 million in marketing sponsorships and grants statewide.
Amid February being celebrated as Black History Month, Branch is all about helping Black Americans. For instance, he played an influential role in Bank of America’s decision in March 2021 to expand its five-year commitment to $1.25 billion to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in communities across the country where the nation’s second-largest bank operates.
Branch says the initiative focuses on creating opportunities in the areas of healthcare, jobs and re-skilling, small businesses, and affordable housing. He says the bank is focusing on these areas because they are where persistent, systemic barriers to opportunity exist. He tells BLACK ENTERPRISE he bank has already invested over $450 million across 93 U.S. and global markets. He says most of the funds being delivered are at the local level in communities such as Richmond.
For example, the bank recently committed $1 million in support of Virginia Union University in Richmond to help students at the HBCU prepare for jobs in the financial-services industry after graduation.
“We believe it is also where significant change is required for progress to occur and to be sustained,” he says. “We’re working with community partners, business leaders, experts, and academics to drive progress.”
In Richmond, Branch says the bank has invested in the local Black community through partnerships. He said they include investing to help fund education programs in under-served local communities starting in kindergarten that provide a path for students to earn STEM degrees.
He says the bank’s investment with health partners is bringing mobile health care to historically Black neighborhoods having a hard time finding needed care and treatment.
Individually, Branch has served on boards, committees, and other non-profits around Richmond that promote and support the Black community. He says those include working with Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), a fair housing non-profit geared to erase housing discrimination and offer housing education programs to first-time homebuyers.
He has been off and on the board for over 15 years, serving as the board chair for two terms. He is also the immediate past chair of the Virginia Gateway Region, an economic development organization that attracts companies to the region to bring job opportunities.
Branch says his benevolence is largely driven by the philosophy his parents instilled in him that to whom much is given much is required.
“I’ve been given many gifts and now have the opportunity to help those less fortunate.”