Liberty Bank recently received a $10 million investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co., as part of the firm’s recently announced commitment to advancing racial equity. The investment will strengthen the independent, Black-owned bank, increase local lending and promote market expansion.
“This infusion of capital will allow us to scale up our efforts to support small businesses, increase our mortgage lending and help refinance predatory lending products, which will result in significant cash flow enhancements for our most challenged communities,” said Liberty Bank President and CEO Alden J. McDonald Jr. “We appreciate the confidence JPMorgan Chase has placed in our ability to understand our customer base and offer financial services that build wealth in our communities.”
Based in New Orleans, Liberty Bank has provided banking services to underserved communities to help them reach their financial needs and goals for nearly 50 years. Today, Liberty serves customers throughout America and has branch locations in nine states. Liberty is one of the largest African American-owned banks in the country.
The announcement is part of a broader initiative by JPMorgan Chase to strengthen the foundations of vital Minority Deposit Institutions (MDIs) and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) in cities across the nation. These new initiatives are focused on supporting diverse-led financial institutions by providing additional capital, connections to institutional investors, specialty support for Black-led commercial projects, and mentorship and training opportunities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the racial inequalities in the U.S., which puts a strain on families’ economic mobility and impedes the continued growth of our economy,” said Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase. “We know these crucial institutions create lasting change for Black and Latinx families and we hope our support will help uplift the people and businesses that are the backbone of our local economies.”
Liberty and JPMorgan Chase forged a close relationship under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bank Mentor Protégé Program. The program provides a platform for large banks to help small banks further address the banking needs of their respective communities. This past summer, Chase – through the Bank Mentor Protégé Program and in collaboration with its Advancing Black Pathways Summer Apprenticeship program – positioned 75 college students to partner with Liberty executives to identify new areas for potential growth and expansion.
“For more than 30 years, JPMorgan Chase and our predecessor banks in New Orleans have enjoyed working closely with Liberty Bank. Our organizations share many qualities, including a commitment to make our communities better, more equitable places for all,” said Greg Rattler, Executive Director and a Market Leader for JPMorgan Chase in New Orleans. “We look forward to forging an even deeper relationship that will benefit communities around the country. This is a business investment in a strong, successful bank, and we could not be more proud.”
In 2019, Liberty and JPMorgan Chase also worked together with other partners to help expand the local Mobilization Fund. The $5 million BuildNOLA Mobilization Fund was co-created by New Corp CDFI and the City of New Orleans, with support from The Kresge Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The effort provides critical access to capital for entrepreneurs of color and women seeking to participate in public infrastructure projects, creating more jobs and grow the New Orleans economy.
As communities recover from the COVID pandemic, JPMorgan Chase continues to create greater economic opportunity in cities around the world through programs like AdvancingCities, a $500 million investment in solutions to spur economic growth in the world’s cities. New Orleans and Baton Rouge were each awarded $5 million Advancing Cities grants in 2020.