Major League Soccer is following up with its 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion iniatives. On March 10, MLS announced that it will leverage a historic $25 million loan from a syndicate of Black banks. This will be the first time any sports league has completed a major commercial transaction exclusively with Black banks.
The MLS is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. The league is composed of 28 teams — 25 in the U.S. and three in Canada.
The deal involves the National Black Bank Foundation (NBBF), a nonprofit network of Black-owned retail financial institutions, which organized a syndication team led by two Black-owned banks, Atlanta-based Citizens Trust Bank and New York-based Carver Federal Savings Bank, The Boardroom reported.
According to King, the partnership was her idea.
King, daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., added, “I brought MLS and NBBF together because I saw an opportunity to create a partnership with the power to transform lives in Black communities and change hearts and minds throughout our nation. This deal undoubtedly marks an important moment in the continuing struggle for civil rights in the United States.”
NBBF co-founder and general counsel Ashley Bell agreed. “Major League Soccer has raised the bar for corporate America with this transformative partnership,” said Bell. “Suppose other leagues and major corporations follow the MLS model. In that case, lives of Black families all across this country will change for the better because their local Black bank will have the capital resources to approve historic numbers of home and small business loans.”
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