First Boulevard, formerly Tenth, is a virtual bank that is targeting the black community across the United States. The aim of the bank is to empower the black community to have control over their finances. It is looking to invest in the black community and help them build wealth.
Black America has been fighting the same systemic issues for generations, yet the wealth gap is worse now than ever. For our community to succeed, we’ve got to control our finances.
Early this year, First Boulevard raised $5 million in seed funding from Barclays, Anthemis and a group of angel investors such as actress Gabrielle Union, Union Square Ventures’ John Buttrick and AutoZone CFO Jamere Jackson. It is co-founded by Donald Hawkins who is the CEO, while Asya Bradley is the COO. Hawkins is the founder of Griffin Technologies, a company that provides technology to banks and credit unions. Bradley was a founding member of Synapse that connects fintech platforms to banks.
The idea to start First Boulevard was after the death of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020. There was massive protests, especially from the black community to condemn the act. Following his death, the First Boulevard CEO Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley got to talk about issues affecting the Black community, the main one being finance. It is then the idea to empower the Black community came through. The big banks do not address the needs of Black Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement has raised concerns that there is a massive wealth gap in the U.S.
Opening an account with First Boulevard is easy. They do not run credit checks and therefore you can open an account even with poor credit score. To open an account, you need the following documents:
- US social security number (SSN)
- US residential address (Not P.O. Boxes)
- A smart phone
First Boulevard has partnered with Visa to carry out a pilot study of its crypto APIs. Crypto API was unveiled to help retail customers to purchase and trade in cryptocurrencies with merchants. Visa will attempt to assess how it can help financial institutions that do not have infrastructure to access cryptocurrencies. Visa will be the first to launch First Boulevard debit card.
The partnership between Visa and First Boulevard aims at investing in the Black Americans by helping them access the crypto assets. It is a great way to help them grow their wealth and make them financial independent.
First Boulevard has some perks that the black community can enjoy. They include:
- Earn while you spend. The bank aims at giving 15% cash back when their customers make purchases at businesses owned by blacks. This is a great deal to promote black businesses while ensuring that you are earning.
- Get your salary 2 days in advance. You can set up direct deposits so that you can be getting your paycheck 2 days before the payday.
- No hidden fees. First Boulevard has eliminated overdraft fees, monthly fees and minimum balance requirements, thereby maintaining minimum expenses.
- Free ATM withdrawals across the US. First Boulevard gives customers 2 free ATM withdrawals every month. You can make ATM withdrawals even when there is a network outage from any location within U.S.
- Greater control on savings. You can save towards a particular cause or goal.
It is safe to open an account with First Boulevard. Your account is entitled to up to $250,000 deposit insurance coverage from the FDIC through their issuing bank, Choice Financial Group. Moreover, the bank maintains the security of your information and assets. It uses 256-bit TLS encryption, passcodes and multi-factor authentication for optimum security.
First Boulevard is a digital bank for the Black American community. However, you can still join the bank even if you are not a black. Its motive is to invest in the Black community by empowering them to have control over their money.