CapitalOne Makes Debut in Shreveport’s MLK Neighborhood

By Kameko Thomas

SHREVEPORT–“This is a really big deal,” said Ronald Mason, president, Southern University System. “This is a story about how America is supposed to work. This is a rare example of America working for us.”

The “big deal”, as it turned out, was CapitalOne Bank’s move into the MLK neighborhood, opening both an ATM and a new branch inside of the SUSLA business incubator.

The Southern University facility is the only bank branch within a five-mile radius of the MLK neighborhood.

Members of the MLK community, local and state politicians, and regional representatives of CapitalOne Bank alike were on hand to celebrate the event that was, for many, a long time coming.

U.S. Congressmen John Fleming and Charlie Melancon, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, Sen. Lydia Jackson, members of the Shreveport City Council, and other community leaders were on hand to help the community celebrate the event.

“This is community banking in the truest sense,” said SUSLA Chancellor Ray Belton.

Belton said he felt the residents of the Cooper Road neighborhood would now feel as if they counted, too.

Other special guests in attendance included Donald Cravins, Jr., former state senator and current Staff Director and General Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, who said that he’s toured business incubators all across America, and there was “No incubator in America better than Southern University’s”.

Cravins also extended heartfelt congratulations on behalf of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, who pledged her support to the incubator and made it a point to communicate that if there was anything she could do to help, “just let her know”.

But it was Senator Lydia Jackson who received the lion’s share of the praise for her efforts in getting CapitalOne to open its arms to the residents of the MLK area.

“A year ago, we had serious conversation about this location,” Jackson said. “This one was a challenge, because of the size, but we just thought it was such a perfect fit: the incubator system, and an underserved community…”

Jackson said, “Once I brought Keith Bergeron (CapitalOne Bank Shreveport Market President) to the building, he said ‘If I’m building a new branch in Shreveport, I want it here’”.

When asked what the CapitalOne/SUSLA Incubator meant to him as an African American, James Jackson, CapitalOne Mid-Atlantic Regional President, said, “I grew up in a low economic area as a child. I remember, when I was selling newspapers, having to go inside banks to sell them. So, I’ve always seen the importance of banks, particularly in the areas that, traditionally, have not been focused on.”

He said, “Part of the thing that attracts me to CapitalOne is the value system around this notion of investing for good. We have to be in the business of making money, but we also understand that we are local, and we are part of a community, and we understand that for communities to be healthy, banking can help enable that…it helps us to help communities become stronger.”

In keeping with the desire to help the MLK community grow stronger, the Caddo Parish Commission, along with ACCION Texas-Louisiana, deposited $100,000 to help celebrate the grand opening.

CapitalOne has approximately 1,000 branches located in Louisiana, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Kameko Thomas is a Shreveport-based freelance writer who covers education, politics, business, economic development, arts, culture, as well as travel and tourism. Thomas is a contributing writer for Jozef Syndicate. She can be reached at kamekothomas@yahoo.com.
 

 

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