News and Commentary

America’s First Ever ‘Gay Bank’ Approved By Michigan
Attendees wave rainbow pride flags during a Stonewall Inn 50th anniversary commemoration rally in New York, U.S., on Friday, June 28, 2019.
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

America is set to get its first ever “gay bank.”

On Monday, the state of Michigan approved a charter for Superbia Credit Union, which will offer products and services specifically designed to meet the financial needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers, a demographic that has an increasingly appealing buying power for financial institutions.

“As the world’s only LGBTQ profit-for-purpose provider, Superbia is here to force the needed systemic change in banking, insurance and healthcare and install a new paradigm in funding LGBTQ social equality,” the credit union’s founder Myles Meyers announced on LinkedIn.

“Superbia Credit Union will offer products which are often outside the scope of a more traditional lender, such as loans for transgender people in the process of transitioning, said Myles Meyers, founder of New York-based Superbia Services Inc., which created the credit union,” Bloomberg‘s Jeff Green reported Monday.

Michigan’s decision green-lights the new LGBT-focused credit union to form a board and begin hiring executives. The financial institution plans to begin offering online services to customers in early 2020. Superbia, said Meyers, also plans to expand beyond the credit union, offering products such as health care and insurance and services like wealth management geared to meeting the needs of LGBT individuals.

Green notes that there’s an increasing financial incentive for banking services to target LGBT customers, a demographic which a 2017 study by Witeck Communications estimated to have nearly a trillion dollars in collective buying power.

While corporate America has largely embraced the LGBT community, often advertising that support, and “hundreds of companies have signed on to support federal and state laws to give equal protection to the community,” Green writes, some studies have found that same-sex couples “are less likely to be approved for a loan,” and “pay more for the financing” if approved.

Meyers is making the perception that members of the LGBT community face discrimination in financial services a key component of Superbia’s pitch to customers.

“I was inspired to start Superbia by the sheer lack of needs and equal treatment of the LGBTQ being addressed and provided for in banking, insurance, healthcare and other fundamental services,” Meyers writes on his LinkedIn page. “Obvious and harmful misses are the access to quality LGBTQ-designed products and the delivery of services within an affirming experience guaranteed to be free of intolerance and discrimination.”

Like Green, Meyers also stresses the buying power of the LGBT community, which he estimates at nearly two trillion. “I firmly believe that the LGBTQ community of 10-15 million, can (and should) organize in ways like never before — to unify our voice, the nearly $1.7 trillion in economic power and our extraordinary resilience, to our own full benefit and advantage,” says Meyers.

“Superbia is a first-in-the-world. Superbia uses a unique structure of commercial and social entities designed to unify the community, deliver banking, insurance, healthcare and other services that actively address, solve and service the needs of LGBTQ individuals, families and businesses,” he writes. “Superbia affirms you as an individual and elevates the LGBTQ community as a whole. We do this through the undeniably LGBTQ focused experience, products and services and through our authentic commitment to use Superbia profits in the sustainably funding of our equality and advancement of the LGBTQ community.”

Related: Extensive Study: No ‘Gay Gene’; ‘Effectively Impossible’ To Predict Sexuality