Magazine article American Banker

Group Plans Washington Bank with Ethiopian-American Focus

Magazine article American Banker

Group Plans Washington Bank with Ethiopian-American Focus

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Davis

A group has applied to form a bank in the nation's capital that would focus on the Ethiopian-American community.

Organizers of Marathon International Bank have filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to open a bank in Washington, near Silver Spring, Md.

While Marathon would offer loan and deposit products to a broad range of individuals, along with small and midsize businesses, it will have "a particular emphasis on serving the banking needs of U.S. residents of Ethiopian origin," the application said.

The Washington area has 45,000 residents of Ethiopian descent, the proposed bank's organizers said, citing 2015 Census Bureau data. "Anecdotal evidence would suggest that the actual population of the Ethiopian Diaspora in the Washington area greatly exceeds this estimate," the application added.

Gregory Garrett is expected to serve as the bank's CEO. He previously served as president and CEO of Platinum Bank in Lubbock, Texas. Zekarias Tamrat, a former banker with PNC and Bank of America, is set to become the bank's president.

Several prominent Ethiopian-Americans are expected to serve on Marathon's board, including Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former managing director of the Development Bank of Ethiopia who is set to serve as chairman.

The bank plans to raise $22 million to $25 million by selling common stock. It has already posted a job listing looking for people who are fluent in Amharic, a language largely spoken in Ethiopia. …

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