Ethiopian American Community Bank to Open in DC

An Ethiopian American Community bank called Marathon International is in the process of opening in Washington, DC. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

January 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Plans are under way to open a bank in the Washington, D.C. area that will cater to the Ethiopian American community in the United States. Ethiopians are one of the largest, most educated and affluent African immigrant populations in America.

According to American Banker, a resource for the U.S. banking and financial services industry, an application was recently submitted to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to establish a bank called Marathon International in Washington D.C.

“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,” states the news release by American Banker citing Marathon International’s application. The report also notes that Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat, who previously worked at PNC and Bank of America, will serve as the bank’s first president.

The American Banker also reports that “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.”

The announcement adds: “Organizers also plan to market to Ethiopian-Americans through targeted advertising, referrals, affinity relationships and sponsoring local Ethiopian-focused events, the application said. Marathon will also offer an education program that will target underbanked or underserved Ethiopians to bring them into the banking system.”

“Marathon International Bank is an Ethiopian American Community bank with a wide shareholder base capable of guiding the bank’s operations, growth, and its long term trajectory,” Zekarias Tamrat describes the venture on his Linkedin page.

“Our vision is to help transform the Ethiopian community into a far more economically engaged, creative and vibrant member of the wider and diverse US community,” Zekarias says. “To become a differentiated provider of financial services by leveraging our understanding of the unique financial needs of the Ethiopian American Community.”

Steven Lanter, the lawyer who is handling the application for Marathon, told American Banker that “The organizers’ passion for this application and proposed bank is unmatched. For some of the organizers, to create an insured financial institution that caters to the Ethiopian-American community, and the broader market, will be a dream come true.”

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