Unity National Bank of Houston, the only Black-owned bank in Texas, announced Bank of America has acquired approximately 5% of its common equity.
According to a Thursday release, the investment will facilitate benefits to the communities Unity serves through lending, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and other banking services.
“Unity remains committed to the vision of providing banking services to historically underserved businesses and individuals during these trying times. Bank of America’s investment in Unity will strengthen our core community banking philosophy especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Unity’s Board Chairman Dr. Kase L. Lawal said in a statement.
The investment is part of Bank of America‘s pledge to direct equity investments in Minority Depository Institutions as part of a broader $1 billion, four-year commitment to address the racial and economic inequalities that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Bank of America allocated $300 million to Black businesses and Black banks last month.
“Across the country, African Americans are disproportionately suffering from the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout and have struggled to access federal aid programs designed to mitigate the damage. Bank of America’s investment in Unity is a huge push to drive tangible progress in making systemic changes and reforms that address economic and racial disparities,” Unity’s Chief Executive Officer Laurie A. Vignaud said.
Unity National Bank was founded in 1963, chartered in 1985, and is based in Houston. Unity National Bank also partnered with Citi earlier this year to help Black businesses acquire PPP loans during the height of the pandemic.
Black citizens and businesses have struggled to get funding to make it through the pandemic and to keep employees. Hong Ogle, Houston Market President of Bank of America, said the investment from Bank of America will create more opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, people, and communities
“The investment Bank of America is making in Unity, as well as other MDIs, is part of our commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity as we work to create more pathways to employment and provide more support for minority entrepreneurs,” said Ogle. “We remain committed to helping support further lending to Black, Hispanic-Latino, and other communities of color.”