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Killer Mike’s bank has to postpone its launch again to catch up to high customer demand

By Chauncey Alcorn, CNN Business

The grand opening for rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render’s Greenwood banking platform has been postponed a second time, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

In March, Greenwood co-founder Ryan Glover told CNN Business that the Black and Latinx-owned digital banking company’s planned early 2021 launch date was pushed back to July due to unanticipated high demand after its website was unveiled in October. Greenwood’s leaders say ensuring the digital platform can handle the influx of anticipated customers is also the cause for the latest delay.

Greenwood Chief Marketing Officer David Tapscott said the fintech company’s leaders now anticipate everyone on its waiting list will be able to open accounts before the end of this year, and the platform will be available to the general public in early 2022.

The company’s leaders stopped purchasing ads asking users to sign up for its waitlist earlier this year, shifting their focus to rolling out services to those who already signed up to open accounts.

“Adding [more] people onto a waitlist just delays how long it’ll take us to get through it,” Tapscott told CNN Business on Wednesday. “Our first commitment is to deliver the best product possible to the marketplace and we’re not going to rush that. We believe our customers have enough confidence in what we’re doing that they will stay with us on that journey.”

Glover came up with the idea for Greenwood in 2018. The company’s leaders said in March that Glover couldn’t have anticipated the overwhelming demand Greenwood would receive following the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the nationwide Black financial empowerment movement that erupted in its wake.

That movement motivated more than 500,000 people to sign up to open a Greenwood account before the company officially opened for business, according to Tapscott.

Greenwood recently hired fintech leader Dylani Herath to serve as its new VP of engineering to ensure the company’s software can handle all its customers and expedite the rollout process. Herath has spent the last four months serving as technology partner at JPMorgan Chase, where she executed strategy for the company’s small business banking platform to help it develop and deliver products to market more quickly.

Prior to joining Chase, Herath spent 11 years working as director of engineering at FIS, the world’s largest payment processor, where she spearheaded the launch of the company’s Digital One banking platform suite while leading its global engineering team.

“Ryan [Glover] felt it was important to have a dedicated focus to get to market faster. That’s why I was hired,” Herath told CNN Business.

Greenwood has gained powerful allies in the financial services industry since Glover and Render first shared their vision for the platform last fall. In March, the company said it raised nearly $40 million in Series A funding from investors including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and lead investor Truist Bank.

“Six of the seven largest banks in the country were investors in our Series A round,” Tapscott said. “We have not done any additional rounds.”

The company takes its name from the former Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the early 20th century Black business community known as Black Wall Street before it was destroyed by a White mob during the Tulsa race massacre in 1921. Survivors of the massacre and their descendants commemorated its 100-year anniversary in May.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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