The 10th largest African American-controlled bank in the United States announced it has appointed a new chief executive.
Kenneth Kelly, selected by the board of directors in 2017, will be responsible for leading the bank’s financial operations and assets, policies and regulations as well as overseeing the company’s management infrastructure.
“As chairman and CEO, Kenneth brings deep and experienced business leadership to First Independence Bank. His knowledge, relationships, and expertise will be extremely valuable in leading the bank’s growth opportunities in Detroit,” said Linda Forte, board member and chairwoman of the Human Resources Committee. “The bank is fortunate to have Kenneth at the helm.”
Kelly, a seasoned businessman, has held several positions at Alabama Power, Georgia Power, and Southern Power leading negotiations for solar projects totaling over $3.4 billion in partnership value. In 2012, while employed at Southern Power’s Business Development group, Kelly negotiated Southern Bell’s first $500 million solar facility in the state of California.
For his leadership contributions in Birmingham’s five-county metro area, Kelly was awarded the the Mervyn Stern Award from United Way. He is a founding member of the Hands-On Birmingham (HBO) program, whose mission is to connect people with organized and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Kelly has been included in the Birmingham Business Journal‘s Top 40 Under 40. He was one of the 100 Black Men in Atlanta and has been recognized for his leadership in Georgia by the Henry County Chamber and Council for Quality Growth. In 2017, his peers from the National Bankers Association awarded him the Team Player of the Year Award.
A graduate of Auburn University, Kelly established an endowment for minority students from his hometown of Eufaula, Alabama, to study engineering at his alma mater. He earned an executive MBA from the University of Alabama.
First Independence Bank is a community development financial institution dedicated to making dreams become realities for its community, citizens, and businesses. Founded in 1970 out of necessity as a result of the racial climate of that time, First Independence Bank of Detroit remains one of 28 black-owned banks in America. It is the 11th largest black-owned bank in the United States with three local locations.
Last year, in order to accommodate its growing customer base, the bank moved its main branch and headquarters into a new location to midtown Detroit.
“One of the big issues that we’ve had downtown is that while we are centrally located in the downtown area, we don’t have access to parking,” Richard Zamojski, First Bank’s chief operating officer told the Michigan Chronicle. “So, a lot of our customers are challenged by the issue of parking around here because not only are there no curbside spots, there are no free parking spaces in the general area.”
Kelly is married with two children.