One Of The Largest Black-Led Banks In America Launches National Search For CEO

Carver Bancorp Inc., the owner of one of the largest Black-led banks in America, is launching a national search to find a new president and CEO.

The holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank announced the transition as the bank’s current president/CEO and board member Michael T. Pugh will leave effective Sept. 30, 2023. He is departing from Carver to pursue professional and philanthropic interests nationally.

The news is a big deal as Harlem, New York-based Carver is among the nation’s most prominent, Black-led banks. The bank had about  $600.4  million in deposits and around $723.2 million in assets as of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. Carver was third on the BE Banks list of the nation’s largest Black-owned banks in 2018.

The bank recently expanded its online presence to include consumer checking and savings accounts across nine states, stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia, and Washington, DC. It has seven traditional branches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in New York City.

According to banking analyst William Michael Cunningham, Carver’s new CEO will face a challenging business environment, including the impact of AI on banking and new potential capital rules that will require the CEO to raise capital immediately.

Further, he says the CEO will have to manage the impact of the potential elimination of all minority business programs due to the fallout over affirmative action programs, which could affect Carver’s business base.

“I think a younger person will be better able to deal with these issues, but this tends to go against tradition in the banking industry,” Cunningham says.

Pugh is only the fifth CEO in Caver’s history. It opened in 1948 to serve African American and Caribbean-American communities in New York City with limited access to mainstream banking services and business capital.

He leaves a legacy of operational excellence, strengthening regulatory controls, growing the bank’s loan portfolio while maintaining asset quality, and deepening community relationships. He joined Carver in 2012 as chief revenue officer. Pugh was named president and chief operating officer in 2013, succeeding Deborah Wright as CEO in January 2015.

In an email to employees about his departure that was shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Pugh reflected.

“It is bittersweet to share this news with you, as the past 10+ years at Carver have been the highlight of my professional career. Carver remains well-positioned to continue succeeding as a community bank of choice in the Greater NYC area for many years to come,” he said.

Pugh added that there is much more ahead for the bank.

“Looking ahead, we have much to do, including our 75th annual shareholders’ meeting, finalizing our cash management product expansion, and achieving our goals strategic and capital plan goals for this fiscal year,” he noted. “Let’s continue to drive change in our communities and remain an industry-leading community bank!”

Carver Board Chairman Lewis P. Jones III thanked Pugh for his efforts in expanding Carver.

Jones stated, “The Carver Board thanks Michael for his outstanding contributions to Carver’s mission to promote economic empowerment and support the banking needs of diverse communities throughout the New York City area. We wish him the best as he begins the next chapter of his professional career.”

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