Black-owned Redemption Holding Company to acquire Utah-based Holladay Bank & Trust
An investment company operated by prominent Black Atlantans became the first minority investors to buy a white-owned bank, which would convert it into a Black-owned one.
Redemption Holding Company, which includes investors Ashley D. Bell, a former White House policy adviser, and Bernice A. King, the daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King., announced the deal to acquire Utah-based Holladay Bank & Trust, a woman-led bank that’s operated one branch in Salt Lake City since 1974.
Another partner in the investment group is former NFL player Dhani Jones. The Atlanta investors plan to rename the institution Redemption Bank, and they want to target financial services to Black communities, which are historically underserved by financial institutions, focusing on online banking services and small business loans.
The transaction is pending regulatory approval.
Bell will serve as Redemption Holdings’ CEO. He previously worked in President Donald Trump’s administration. Bell said that growing the number of Black banks in the U.S. is critical to providing equal access to financial services that allow for wealth generation.
“This system has offered no grace and no mercy for Black people in our country,” Bell said. “We think that having a bank called Redemption, where grace and mercy will be bountiful for people who need it, is important.”
Bernice A. King said acquiring a non-minority bank helps reverse a trend of Black banks dwindling in numbers over recent years. In 2001, there were 48 Black owned banks insured by the FDIC, but that number has shrunk to roughly 20 now. Two of those are based in Georgia — Citizen’s Trust Bank in Atlanta and Carver State Bank in Savannah.
King said, “In my father’s last public address on April 3, 1968, he preached the imperative to accelerate the financial inclusion of Black Americans by supporting mission-driven Black banks — something he called a ‘bank-in movement. ” King said in the press release on the announcement, “More than half a century of struggle and incremental progress later, we’re making good on daddy’s call to bank-in by creating new centers of opportunity for people of color, starting with this Black-led bank acquisition.”
Redemption Holding’s board and investors consist of “a growing number of Black doctors, lawyers and business leaders from across the country,” the release said.
Bell said, “We’re in this city … talking about an acquisition in the Rocky Mountains that is going to be able to affect the entire country and Black people across America.”