Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu today presented a full-service community national bank charter to Agility Bank, N.A. in Houston.
The woman-owned and -led bank is the first new minority depository institution (MDI) national bank in 15 years. Typically, MDIs serve economically challenged communities traditionally underserved by the banking industry and other businesses.
“MDIs like Agility are critically important for communities that have limited access to capital, credit, and responsible financial services,” said Acting Comptroller Hsu. “Today marks a small, but important step in increasing diversity in bank leadership and ownership. My hope is that today’s event marking Agility’s success in obtaining a national bank charter inspires others to follow in founder Lauren Sparks’ footsteps.”
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) works to promote and revitalize MDIs through various initiatives. The OCC’s Project REACh, or Roundtable for Economic Access and Change, has a workstream focused on revitalizing MDIs and strengthening their ability to improve their customers’ access to capital and meeting their broader banking needs. Twenty-five large and midsize banks have signed the Project REACh MDI Pledge and are providing MDIs with direct investments, technical assistance, business opportunities, executive training, and other resources. The agency also has a Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee, which advises the OCC on issues and opportunities facing these institutions.