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Unity National Bank receives major investment from JPMorgan Chase

Written by on September 30, 2021

To advance racial equity in Houston and help close the wealth gap, JPMorgan Chase is making a multi-million-dollar investment in Unity National Bank (“Unity”) to strengthen the independent, Black-owned bank.

The capital infusion will help Unity increase its support of small businesses and its mortgage lending.

In addition to receiving an immediate capital investment, Unity will now offer JPMorgan’s money market funds to institutional investors through the firm’s Empower share class – which has surpassed $5 billion in assets under management.

“This investment is a transformative event for Unity and is indicative of JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to strengthen our bank and our community. I truly believe that JPMorgan Chase’s mentorship, guidance, and partnership will assist us in moving community banking into the 21st century and enable Unity to enhance and support economic development in underserved communities,” said Dr. Kase L. Lawal, Chairman, Unity National Bank.

Founded in Houston 58 years ago, Unity is the only African American owned banking institution based in Texas. For half a century, Unity has provided financial services to Houston’s underserved communities.

JPMorgan Chase’s total investment of more than $100 million is part of the firm’s broader $30 billon initiative to help close the racial wealth gap. Chase – the largest bank in Houston and Texas – has more than doubled its original $50 million pledge made one year ago by investing in 14 diverse-led financial institutions across 18 states and the District of Columbia.

“Working together, Unity Bank and JPMorgan Chase will create more opportunity for Houston’s underserved community,” said Kisha Porch, Regional Director for Chase branches in Houston, San Antonio and El Paso. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial inequalities in Houston and across the nation, putting an even greater strain on local families. Our collaboration with Unity will have a meaningful impact to create a more equitable future.”

Investments in Minority Deposit Institutions (MDIs) and diverse-led Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) are focused on strengthening the financial foundations in cities across the nation.

In addition to equity investments, MDIs and CDFIs working with JPMorgan Chase will also:

  • Become J.P. Morgan clients, connecting them to the firm’s expertise, solutions and network
  • Gain access to more than 16,000 of the firm’s ATMs—beginning November 1, 2021, Chase will not charge a fee for participating MDI and CDFI customers who make a withdrawal at a Chase ATM
  • Receive customized training and advisory support from the firm’s Advancing Black Pathways Fellows and Service Corps programs

Unity National Bank is a participant in J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Empower money market share class, which connects MDIs and diverse-led CDFIs with institutional investors to create new income streams and has surpassed $3.9 billionin assets under management since launching in February. Other MDIs participating in the program include The Harbor Bank of Maryland, Liberty Bank and M&F Bank.

JPMorgan Chase’s investment in MDIs and CDFIs is one of the firm’s initiatives to help close the racial wealth gap. Other initiatives include the recently announced $350 million, five-year global commitment to grow diverse-owned small businesses and help create a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which encompasses $42.5 million to help scale the successful Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF) program. CLICK HERE to learn more about how JPMorgan Chase is working to advance racial equity and bridge the racial wealth gap. 

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