(Milwaukee)—Port Washington State Bank (PWSB) has become the first corporate contributor to help Wisconsin’s only Black-owned financial institution modernize its technology and extend its reach to more low-to-moderate-income families seeking to become homeowners. Port Washington State Bank contributed $10,000 toward Columbia Savings & Loan Association’s Centennial Fund.
Columbia Savings & Loan Association announced its Centennial Fund in February, Black History Month. Headquartered in Wisconsin’s poorest zip code, Columbia designed the Centennial Fund to help the 99-year-old bank defray the costs of overhauling its technology and implementing online and mobile banking for its customers. Financial technology, often referred to as fintech, is one of the largest administrative expenses for banks.
Milwaukee’s African-American population has the second-lowest homeownership rate among the nation’s major metro areas. “Columbia Savings & Loan Association has been at the forefront of helping families of color become homeowners,” stated Ernest Jones, Board Chair. “Contributions from Port Washington State Bank and other corporate partners would enable Columbia to use technology in expanding access to capital for those families we cannot reach today.”
“We are proud to support Columbia Savings & Loan Association and its mission to make homeownership a reality for more Milwaukee families,” stated Port Washington State Bank President & COO James Schowalter. Schowalter went on to challenge other banks and corporations to match his financial institution’s lead contribution. He remarked, “We all believe in the American Dream, and want to enable more families to realize that dream. By coming together and contributing to Columbia’s Centennial Fund, we can all be a part of substantially increasing equity and inclusion in underserved areas of the community.”
Columbia Savings & Loan Association Executive Vice President Will Martin explained homeownership is not simply about a place to live. “Homeownership is the first step toward generational wealth, and home equity is an important source of capital for starting a business,” Martin said. “Thanks to Port Washington State Bank and Centennial Fund contributors to come, Columbia will have the technology needed to launch a new century of service to future homeowners and small business entrepreneurs.”
Columbia’s Centennial Fund goal is to raise $1.5 million by December 2024. Other corporate contributions are currently pending.
About Columbia Savings & Loan Association
Founded in 1924 and responsible for $25 million in assets, Columbia Savings & Loan Association is not only Milwaukee’s only Minority Depository Institution, it is also the Milwaukee’s only bank to be designated as a Community Development Financial Institution. To learn more about Columbia Savings & Loan Association and how corporations can support its Centennial Fund and partner, please contact Will Martin, Executive Vice President, at WMartin@ColumbiaSLA.com, or 414-374-0486. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender: NMLS ID: 810969.
About Port Washington State Bank
For more than 120 years, Port Washington State Bank has been a full-service, locally owned and operated community bank. Headquartered in Port Washington, the bank is principally owned and led by the third, fourth and fifth generation descendants of its founder Clarence Hill. The bank has locations in Port Washington, Saukville, Cedarburg, Grafton, Mequon, Thiensville, Belgium and Fredonia. With assets of $952 million as of 12/31/22, it ranks in the top 15% of banks as to size in Wisconsin. Visit www.pwsb.bank for more information. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS ID: 46028