Wells Fargo is investing in five Black-owned banks, including two in Georgia, the company said Tuesday.
The company has pledged to invest up to $50 million in minority-owned institutions. As part of that, Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta and Carver State Bank in Savannah will receive capital injections. A spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to say exactly how much.
Wells Fargo said the institutions will have access to its experts in finance, technology and product development.
Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, last year had revenues of about $18 billion.
“We want to be a partner to these important institutions and, in turn, have a positive effect on local communities,” William Daley, vice chairman at Wells Fargo, said in a written statement.
Wells Fargo said the number of minority-owned banks has declined over the years, but that they are important for the community.
The typical white family has eight times the wealth as the typical Black household, according to the Federal Reserve.
Last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. launched a marketing campaign aimed at the roughly 7.1 million American households without a bank account. Officials said the FDIC education efforts are focused on Atlanta and Houston, where research shows Black and Latino households are disproportionately “unbanked,” that is, without either a savings or checking account.
Among Black households nationally 13.8% have no bank account, while 12.2% of Latinos have no bank, according to the FDIC. That compares to 2.5% of white households that are “unbanked.”
Bankers are aware of the problem, according to Chad Cunningham, senior vice president at Bank of America.
The bank has a program called Better Money Habits aimed at improving a person’s financial literacy.
Last month, Rapper Killer Mike and his business partners said they had raised $40 million to support their new Atlanta-based digital bank Greenwood. Among investors in that venture are Truist Financial, Bank of America and Visa.
Greenwood plans to offer checking and savings accounts this summer, and to start lending money until next year.