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Bloomberg: How Greenwood Became the Most Hyped Startup in Black America

Bloomberg, April 8, 2022, How Greenwood Became the Most Hyped Startup in Black America

Over the past year-and-a-half 700,000 people have added their names to the waiting list of a financial startup named Greenwood as if it were a sneaker drop.

Greenwood is part of the subset best described as neobanks, apps that offer banking services but aren’t actually banks… Ultimately it wants to become the singular financial destination for the Black and Brown middle class.

“Black people don’t trust banks in a lot of cases for very good reasons,” says Jesse Van Tol, chief executive officer of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

It was a rare feat for a Black-owned startup to raise so much so fast and to have so many major rival banks as partners. But the reality was, for just a few million dollars each, the big banks could align themselves with a hot new Black startup with cultural cred that’s trying to solve the problems they’d largely propagated. “Hopefully,” says National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s Van Tol, “it’s not used as an excuse for banks to wash their hands of making loans and banking with Black people.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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