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Showing posts from April, 2022

Greenwood Bank Opens

According to a March 25, 2021 press release, "Greenwood, the digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners..announced it has closed $40 million of Series A funding from six of the seven largest U.S. banks and the top two payment technology companies: Truist, Bank of America, PNC, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo (Its still time to Clean House at Wells), Mastercard, and Visa."  The Greenwood online fintech platform (not a bank) officially opened its virtual doors for business on April 26, 2022.  The website notes that "Greenwood is not a bank. Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank , Member FDIC. The Greenwood Debit Card is issued by Coastal Community Bank pursuant to a license by Mastercard International." It is significant to note that Coastal is not Black-owned, but they do have a significant social impact portfolio. We have no doubt that Greenwood attempted to enlist the aid of a Black bank, but, in addition to being small


While multiple reports have shown rising interest in financing Black-owned small businesses, a new study shows an underlying problem still remains. According to the “State of Minority Business, March 2022” report by Creative Investment Research , there has been less understanding of the core issues small Black-owned firms face in gaining funding to start or grow enterprises. The analysis pinpoints why Black-owned firms continue to experience under-performance in accessing capital across the nation’s financial services-industry. William Michael Cunningham, an economist and owner of Creative Investment Research in Washington, D.C., says those factors include elevated discouragement when applying for financing, low-profit margin industries, and a reported undercount by the U.S. Census Bureau of the number of black owned businesses. He says potential discrepancy can lead to less funding from federal, state, and local agencies to support to those ventures. Cunningham swears the lack of fin

Yellen at American University on Crypto

On April 8, 2022, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed digital assets and regulation at American University’s Center for Innovation. She started with the executive order signed by President Biden mandating the creation of a government approach to cryptocurrency. Yellen noted that digital assets have grown from a $14 billion to a $3 trillion market cap in five years. Digital Currency Market Cap In her talk, the Secretary highlighted a number of factors: o  Recognizing the role that technology played, she stated that the broad adoption of the internet paved the way. Smart phones are also one of the reason digital currencies have been able to grow so rapidly. Number of Internet Users o  Disintermediation is a key function of digital assets like cryptocurrency. We have not heard much, at least by banking regulators, concerning the role cryptos play in eliminating middlemen and banks from transactions. o  The role blockchain plays in facilitating peer to peer transactions that prevent

March FOMC Minutes: Federal Reserve Policy Errors Continue

We note that, according to the minutes of the March 15-16 2022 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the Federal Reserve Board "reached consensus..that they would begin reducing the central bank balance sheet by $95 billion a month, likely beginning in May. There also were strong indications that half-percentage point, or 50 basis point, interest rate increases are ahead." This action is consistent with past policy errors: on July 15, 2015, Janet Yellen, then Chair of the Federal Reserve stated that "the Fed's concerns about inflation limit its ability to address high African-American unemployment."  This is indicative of the continuing inability of Fed policy makers to successfully balance social and financial policy when social policy goals do not serve the interest of non-minority, non-wealthy populations. As the Fed itself noted "the..balance sheet has grown to $8.9 trillion from $8.1 trillion in July, reflecting continued net asset purchases of

New and Improved Annual Business Reports by the Census Bureau. Kalel Carkeek, Impact Investing Intern, American University.

  The Census Bureau The Census Bureau’s purpose is to collect data about people and the economy.   Most people know it as that survey in the mail every 10 years that gets the population count. The survey is used to determine the appropriate number of congressional seats for each state. It is also used for school district assignments and legislature districts.   In addition, it is used to “distribute $675 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year” (Census). This money goes to education, transportation, public health, neighborhood, improvements and much, much more. Problems With Census The Census taken every 10 years has been using methods similar to those used decades ago.   Filling in the census paper sent by mail, if you don’t answer, a census worker will appear at your door to get the information. Even with this personalized approach, there are still many problems like natural disasters that may cause people to miss responding. In the 2020 tally

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