After transformation, Cincinnati shared bank gets MDI classification

A 130-year-old shared bank serving Cincinnati’s East Price Hill area has actually been designated as an minority depository organization by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Denny Riffert/Dennis –

A 130-year-old neighborhood bank has a makeover. 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has actually designated the $96.6 million-asset, depositor-owned Warsaw Federal Savings & Loan, which serves East Price Hill, a mixed-race Cincinnati area, as a minority depository organization.

Robie Suggs
Warsaw Federal CEO Robie Suggs, who signed up with the bank in April, is appealing ongoing modifications at the 130-year-old organization.

Tasha Pinelo Photography/Tasha Pinelo Photography

Announced Tuesday, the OCC action happened 5 months after Warsaw Federal retooled its board, leaving African American directors as most of the 10-person group. The board’s brand-new majority-minority structure integrated with the varied footprint certify Warsaw Federal as an MDI under standards the OCC initially presented in 2013, a company representative stated. 

Warsaw First will be contributed to the list of OCC-supervised minority depository organizations once it is upgraded to show fourth-quarter information, the representative included. 

Depositor-owned MDIs are not brand-new. Over the years, nevertheless, the number decreased as shared organizations transformed to equip ownership and the banking market combined. By the start of the 2020s, just one shared MDI, the $27.8 million-asset Columbia Savings and Loan Association, headquartered in Milwaukee’s Amani area, stayed. Columbia is monitored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 

That decrease has actually stopped over the last few years. Tioga-Franklin Savings Bank, a $73.4 million-asset shared serving the Fishtown district in Philadelphia, transitioned to MDI status in 2022. Now, Warsaw Federal has actually done the exact same and more might follow, according to Tom Fraser, CEO at Warsaw Federal’s business moms and dad, the First Mutual Holding Company in Lakewood, Ohio. 

“We think it’s a model that’s replicable in other communities,” Fraser stated in an interview. “I think it’s natural that mutuals and MDIs marry up. … A mutual bank should be reflective of its local neighborhood.”

Warsaw Federal’s course to MDI status extends back about 4 years. Its board, under the management of previous chairman Rick Flynn, started speaking with regional neighborhood leaders to establish how the organization might much better serve underbanked citizens. “There must have been a dozen meetings where we concluded a mutual bank as an MDI would be the best form to bridge that gap,” Fraser stated.

With a strategy in location, Flynn managed a reorganization procedure that led to a board made up of 7 African American and one Hispanic director. Prior to the transformation, less than half the board’s members had actually been minorities. At approximately the exact same time, in April, Warsaw Federal employed a brand-new CEO, Robie Suggs, who signed up with the bank from the Cincinnati Development Fund, where she functioned as primary providing officer. 

The modifications at Warsaw Federal aren’t restricted to the conference room and senior management ranks, Suggs stated. She prepares to look for extra capital and revamp the item set. 

“This time next year, we’ll look a lot different,” Suggs stated. 

Community groups, city authorities and regional companies have actually reacted favorably to Warsaw Federal’s MDI shift, all of which bodes well for the bank’s potential customers getting in 2024, according to Fraser. “We expect it will have success in generating deposits, which can be redeployed directly into loans, but also, too, in raising capital next year,” Fraser stated. 

Warsaw Federal ends up being Ohio’s 2nd minority depository organization. Adelphi Bank, a $34.8 million-asset Black-owned de novo bank, opened its doors in Columbus in May. Nationwide, there were 148 MDIs since Sept. 30, according to FDIC. 


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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