Jada Grandy-Mock has spent her banking career ensuring that financial resources and opportunities got into communities that most needed them.
In her new role as chief corporate community economic development officer at Fifth Third Bank, she oversees the bank’s investment strategies, compliance, engagement and partnerships through the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). She was instrumental in establishing the bank’s $32 billion community commitment to help increase homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families and ensuring that capital was available for small businesses to thrive.
Her drive stems from a humble upbringing in a public housing community in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and seeing how a lack of financial resources equated to a lack of choices.
She watched her mom work long hours as a dietary clerk at the local hospital to provide for her and her younger brother. Early on, she committed to changing her family’s circumstances and to helping people improve their finances.
Grandy-Mock earned a scholarship to attend college — the first in her family — at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania and says that opportunity changed her life. There, she was introduced to banking through INROADS, a program that provides internship opportunities to minority youth.
An internship at the former Mellon Financial Corp. exposed Grandy-Mock to the role that banks played in the financial ecosystem and how capital helped business owners grow their wealth.
“For me, banking was so much bigger than just the product,” she said. “I thought, what influence can I have to be able to change the trajectory of many of those families who, historically, have been left out of the financial system?”
Grandy-Mock learned the ropes in the early 2000s as a banking officer at National City Bank of Pennsylvania and as a bank examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In 2008, she joined Fifth Third Bank.
Now, she’s excited about Fifth Third’s latest initiatives that focus on supporting businesses owned by Black women.
While the overall number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019, the number of businesses started by Black women grew far faster at 50%, according to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, an annual report commissioned by American Express.
That was until the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States and Black women suffered a double whammy as business owners.
The Fifth Third Foundation pledged $8.75 million to support small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, the foundation announced the grant recipients for the Innovation Meets Main Street: Boosting Black, Woman-owned Businesses program. In partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the program awarded a total of $1.2 million in grants to 63 Black women business owners — including 10 Charlotte-based companies.
Grandy-Mock says that was a big deal because it supported their ability to stay in business throughout the pandemic.
Fifth Third also invested in the Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund led by Black women who are investing in companies owned by Black women.
Grandy-Mock says she’s also personally committed to spending dollars with Black-owned businesses and wants to be part of the bridge creating economic opportunity for others.
“Being able to attract additional investment is so critical to economic mobility and also closing this wealth gap that I’m so passionate about with African Americans,” she said. “I am a firm believer that if I am rising and no one’s coming with me, I am standing still.”