Regions Bank Launches Initiative to Grow Black-Owned Businesses in Birmingham, AL

Regions Bank launched the Birmingham Black-Owned Business initiative, led by Kendra Key, who recently joined the bank as senior vice president in its community affairs division. The initiative is designed to support more Black-owned businesses in Birmingham, AL, where Regions is headquartered.

Key, who previously served as head of minority depository institution engagement for Citigroup, will collaborate with community partners to leverage Regions’ resources and business development experience in ways that support and strengthen Birmingham’s Black-owned business ecosystem. The initiative will specifically aim to reach entrepreneurs throughout the Magic City, including and especially in underserved neighborhoods. Key and a network of organizations will work toward the following priorities:

  • Identifying and amplifying current resources for Black entrepreneurs
  • Addressing gaps where additional resources are needed
  • Building collaboration that focuses on results

“Over the last several years, Regions Bank has focused its community engagement on fostering more inclusive prosperity, and one of the most powerful ways we can build on this commitment is by creating new strategies to support and uplift Black-owned businesses in our headquarters city,” John Turner, president and CEO of Regions Financial, said. “Regions is proud to be based in Birmingham, and we are deeply invested in our hometown. By enhancing our collaboration with community groups and focusing more of our time and resources on the growth of Black-owned businesses, we can address an important need in the Magic City while strengthening the quality of life for more entrepreneurs, families and neighborhoods.”

“We have an entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiastic community partners and higher engagement from the existing business community that recognizes the importance of a stronger Black-owned business climate,” Key said. “I’m excited about this initiative, which is a pivotal step toward a long-term goal at Regions to make a meaningful difference in addressing the plight of Black businesses in Birmingham while helping create a best-in-class Black business ecosystem.”

Key will continue to report to Leroy Abrahams, head of community affairs for Regions Bank and president of the Regions Foundation.

“The deeper collaboration Kendra is building today will create a more prosperous tomorrow,” Abrahams said. “We are deeply grateful for community partners like Prosper and others that share a strong vision for fostering more Black-owned business success. Financial inclusion is crucial to the success of the communities where we live and work, and we know Kendra’s experience and passion will drive tangible results in neighborhoods across Birmingham.”

“Prosper is committed to working with leading businesses, including Regions, and a wide range of community partners to empower more people with crucial resources for business success,” J.W. Carpenter, president of Prosper, said. “We saw through the pilot launch of Prosper’s Magic City Match program that Black-owned businesses are ready to grow, compete and succeed in the marketplace. We appreciate the leadership position Regions is taking and cannot think of a better person than Kendra to lead this work. As a Prosper board member, Kendra has already had a tremendous influence on Prosper’s work, and this has the potential to make a generational impact for entrepreneurs and families across our city. We are excited to partner with her and with Regions.”

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