While I’m positive the residents of Philadelphia are proud that City Council ended their relationship with Wells Fargo, as the bank in charge of the City’s $2 Billion payroll, I must ask the question:
Why was the United Bank of Philadelphia (UBP) strategically carved out of applying for the job?
Philadelphia, whose residents are majority African American, has a City Treasurer who is an African American woman and a diverse City Council, that strategically crafted the RFP, making United Bank of Philadelphia ineligible to apply.
Given the fact that last fall Councilwoman Cindy Bass stated she had been pushing for the city to sever their relationship with Wells, why then, wouldn’t the City Council and Treasurer look to local Community Banks in their own back yard? Especially minority owned banks.
Let’s also not forget that this decision came around the same time Rapper Killer Mike made a public call to action imploring the black community to deposit resources into black owned banks. Michael Grant, president of the Washington DC based National Bankers Association said that CEO’s from minority banks were "getting volume that you would not believe, around the country.
Moving assets to a black-owned bank is a concreate way that people can help reverse the tide of economic injustice."
So why Citizen’s Bank?
The RFP was straight forward. Qualifying factors were simple:
- Branch Footprint in the city? Check! (UBP)
- Been in operation for 5 years? Check! (UBP)
- Profitable for last 3 years? Check! (UBP)
- Experience and strong investment in low income minority neighborhoods? Check! (UBP)
- At least $100 Million in deposits? Hmm….
Headquartered in the Center City section of Philadelphia and state-charted, UBP has a long standing, impeccable history in Philly focusing on neighborhoods that have traditionally been underserved, by larger commercial banks. Especially North Philly, West Philly, Renewal Communities and Empowerment Zones.
UBP specializes in community lending, offering short term relief loans for small business facing hardships, SBA lending, lending to non-profits and faith based organizations that provide community services to low income communities. These efforts stimulate economic development help with rehabilitative efforts that stabilize low income housing communities.
The United Bank of Philadelphia met 4 of the requirements in the RFP but unfortunately the $100 Million in Deposits was a very limiting factor.
Even if United Bank of Philadelphia didn’t want the entire $2 Billion in payroll service business, how much internal restructuring would it take the City to allow United Bank of Philadelphia a piece of the pie?
Now, I am not sure that United Bank of Philadelphia wants the job. They might not have the capacity or the infrastructure. But I would be willing to believe with all that they have accomplished and their dedication to the community, they would have been open to being part of the conversation.
I will get off my soap-box for now, but I would like to leave you with this small nugget of information. During an online perusing of United Bank of Philadelphia’s products and services, this sincere statement caught my eye, "Whether you’re a business owner with a big payroll to meet or an entrepreneur with a dream, United Bank offers a full-range of banking services and products to meet your needs."
Sounds like they may be up for the challenge.
CEO – Compliance and Community Consulting, is a regulatory compliance expert specializing in Community Reinvestment, Fair Lending and Consent Orders