Black Banks Partner with JPMorgan Chase in U.S. Treasury Protégé Program - Black Enterprise

Black Banks Partner with JPMorgan Chase in U.S. Treasury Protégé Program

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Alden J. McDonald, Jr. (left) president and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust Co in Black Enterprise Magazine, June 1997

Two black banks—The Harbor Bank of Maryland and Liberty Bank and Trust Co.—have been chosen to work with JPMorgan Chase & Co. as part of The Financial Agent Mentor Protégé Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

JPMorgan will mentor both The Harbor Bank of Maryland and Liberty Bank. The alliances will allow The Harbor Bank of Maryland and Liberty Bank to deepen existing relationships they have with JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, and potentially help them generate new business.

The mentor program brings together large banks that now serve as financial agents to the Treasury (as mentors) and small, highly capable banks (as protégés) to expand the options the Treasury has to execute programs. Mentors foster learning and development to help prepare the new generation of financial institutions to succeed in responding to the dynamic and diverse requirements needed when working with Treasury, according to a news release.

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury is committed to promoting inclusion in all of its business activities. The Financial Agent Mentor Protégé Program is an important part of this effort. We applaud industry leaders for sharing Treasury’s commitment by working to enhance the capacity and expertise of these historic financial institutions that have provided banking services in their respective communities for generations,” Dr. Lorraine Cole, director, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, U.S. Department of the Treasury, stated in a news release.


JPMorgan Chase has a close working relationship with both Harbor Bank of Maryland and Liberty Bank and Trust, two regional black-owned banks, as part of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Detroit and the Greater Washington, D.C. region. Both Liberty Bank and the Harbor Bank of Maryland are on the  BE Banks list of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. 

Alden J. McDonald Jr., president and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust Co., says the partnership will allow his bank to do business in new markets on a competitive basis.

Specifically, he says the partnership with JPMorgan Chase will allow the New Orleans-based bank to offer more services to bigger institutions. McDonald added that Liberty will now be able to bid on larger contracts with various government agencies, something it could not do before.

Another benefit of the protégé program is Liberty will gain access to new proprietary software, boosting its capacity to generate fresh business with larger clients.

“The partnership could help Liberty boost fee income and total assets,” McDonald says.

The Baltimore-based Harbor Bank of Maryland also expects to benefit. “I am delighted The Harbor Bank of Maryland was selected to participate in [the] Treasury’s innovative economic stimulus program, stated Joseph Haskins Jr., chairman, president, and CEO at The Harbor Bank of Maryland. “The goals align perfectly with Harbor Bank’s founding mission to provide financial products and services to the underserved. Our community bank size limits the extent to which we can do that.”

He added, “The partnership with Chase, a multinational conglomerate, allows us leverage to invest more in the businesses and entrepreneurs who are creating opportunities, driving our economy. We could not be more excited and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership.”

Eva Robinson, head of Treasury Services Public Sector Sales for North America, J.P. Morgan, stated, “We’re excited about the opportunity to help black-owned community banks expand their capabilities through this program.” This initiative is consistent with our efforts to help consumers and entrepreneurs of color get better access to credit and working capital, and ultimately ignite wealth creation in low- and middle-income communities.”

Additionally, JPMorgan Chase announced Advancing Black Pathways, earlier this year, furthering the firm’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity for black Americans and creating new opportunities in the areas of education, careers and wealth.