Women-owned bank to open in Houston

Agility Bank will open its doors in Houston next week as a Minority Depository Institution primarily owned and led by women.

“This is a historic event for banking, our country, and Houston,” Lauren Sparks, founder, president and CEO of Agility said in a press release. “Our goal from the beginning has been to promote financial parity for women, so they have better access to capital and can have a seat at the table in a world where differences are valued and celebrated.” 

Agility plans to open Monday, having recently secured regulatory approvals from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which was the final step it needed. Agility bills itself as a commercial bank focused on serving local women-led businesses, though it emphasized it will also serve the Houston community broadly.

Banks that receive the MDI designation are eligible for support from government and private-sector backers. To achieve MDI designation, a bank must have 51% minority ownership and board membership. Agility’s board is 75% minority and 54% of its ownership is minority.

Agility, which has a national charter, said it raised more than $35 million in capital, surpassing its regulatory requirement of $30 million to open.

The bank had originally planned to open in late 2020, but challenges imposed by the pandemic delayed its initial efforts to raise capital. It did earn conditional approval from federal regulators  last year, however, and the bank eclipsed its capital targets this year.

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