By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky
Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic” or the “Bank”) announces a new banking division and an expanded executive team with the addition of Rolandas Byrd as SVP, Director of Community and Multicultural Banking. In his new role, Byrd will lead the division in supporting businesses that serve minorities and multicultural communities across Metro Louisville. This new division will report to Chief Community Development Officer William Summers and will benefit from the community connections already created.
The new division was designed with input from community leaders and business owners who understand the unique needs of underserved populations, particularly in banking and finance. According to Byrd, the Bank will continue to have listening sessions in order to better serve the community.
“What sets our new lending division apart is our intention to listen and build trust with people who may at times feel less visible to traditional financial institutions,” said Byrd.
Byrd brings nearly 20 years of experience to Republic Bank, with a focus on community lending. Most recently, Byrd served as Vice President and Senior Commercial Relationship Manager for Eclipse Bank.
“Being a community bank means investing in all areas of our community, which includes identifying opportunities for economic development in our underserved areas,” said Andy Powell, EVP and Chief Lending Officer at Republic Bank. “Our intention is to build a team that understands and responds to the needs of the diverse members within our community. Rolandas’s deep background in commercial lending and community enrichment makes him uniquely suited to lead this new division with this mission in mind.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, this new division comes at a time when experts expect banks to be pulling back on lending. However, Republic continues to focus its lending on building lasting relationships first. Beyond lending, this new division includes treasury management and full banking services with businesses who desire to make a lasting impact.
“Nearly any bank can offer a range of products to help customers grow existing businesses or start new enterprises,” Byrd said. “We are listening first, with the goal of learning how we can help these groups succeed in a way that helps build wealth for our entire community.”
This announcement builds upon other significant lending and investment initiatives by Republic Bank and its Foundation to support underserved communities.
In September 2022, Republic was one of just seven banks to earn the prestigious 2022 American Bankers Association (“ABA”) Foundation Community Commitment Award for its leadership in uniting nine community banks to complete funding for the Louisville Urban League Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center. Republic’s initiative was called out by the ABA as an example for banks nationwide of how to make a difference in their communities. Other efforts include the $3 million Community Loan Fund, launched in 2020 to support small businesses and promote business development and job creation in low-to-moderate income communities.