Ward 8 Business Profile: Industrial Bank

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Originally created through the foresight of its co-founder, Jesse Mitchell, Industri­al Bank has become deeply committed to helping both citizens and businesses thrive throughout all areas of Washing­ton, DC–including the Ward 8 commu­nity. What started in 1934 as a single bank on U Street, NW, with six employees and $192,000 in assets is now a multiple-branch operation with over 150 employ­ees and more than $333 million in assets. However, despite this sustained growth, Industrial Bank has not forgotten that its central purpose is to provide access to capital and credit for those who have been historically denied by traditional lending institutions.

Vice President and Director of Marketing for Industrial Bank, Hermond E. Palmer, Jr., said they “want to be the fuel that helps members of our community to realize their dreams.” Besides mak­ing commercial and residential loans, Mr. Palmer says that the bank is also very com­mitted to helping improve the financial literacy of all DC residents—especially for those who have become so intimidated or confused by financial matters that they fail to create their roadmap to a more secure future. To that end, Industrial Bank con­tinues to sponsor their informative Money Matters series of financial-related “nug­gets” on MAJIC FM 102.3 twice a week, and they also run a companion piece in the Washington Informer on a monthly basis.

When asked what DC citizens can do to improve their own financial outlook, Mr. Palmer offered the following tips:

• Understand the difference be­tween personal wants and needs: Impulse buying tends to be overly expensive and also counterproductive to establishing a solid, consistent savings plan.

• Begin to invest in a 401(K) plan immediately and regularly, following this easy tip: Whenever one receives a sal­ary or wage increase, they should devote half of those additional weekly or monthly earnings to this type of savings plan. 1 to 2% of earnings are enough to get started, and many employers will match the em­ployee’s contribution.

• Start an investment club with friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers: Each member of the club can re­search a different investment category or opportunity, in order to increase the over­all financial literacy of the group—having fun while building a network of investment partners at the same time.

• Generate multiple income streams: Rental properties are a great place to start, of course, but landscaping, snow removal, or waste management business­es can also require a similarly moderate upfront investment.

• Financial planning can and should begin before the onset of marriage and raising children: If someone starts saving and investing with their first job, then they can create a larger nest egg much more easily than if they wait until their 30s or 40s (or 50s) to start securing their financial future.

Furthermore, Mr. Palmer says that Industrial Bank has partnered up in recent years with organizations such as DaVita, and local celebrities like Chuck Brown, in an ongoing effort to connect with the Ward 8 community in ways that go be­yond the financial. He said, “You can’t really be empowered financially unless you’re empowered holistically, and that means you have to take care of your overall health as well as your financial health.” Mr. Palmer stresses the impor­tance of being equally vigilant about maintaining a good health status as well as one’s good credit status, and he goes on to say that, “Industrial Bank is commit­ted to the ongoing development of Ward 8, because we can’t thrive unless our entire community is thriving—we believe that financial empowerment is an inalien­able right for all citizens of DC. Serving the residents of Southeast DC goes back to the mission of our founder, because he was most concerned with addressing the needs of an underserved community. We want to help us invest in ourselves.”

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