City National Bank Balancing Profit and Serving Community
Preston Pinkett III, chairman and CEO of City National Bank, one of the pioneer financial institutions founded and run by minorities, talks to Steve Adubato about balancing the need to make a profit but also keeping true to the original mission of serving minority clientele.
"Welcome to New Jersey Capitol Report. I'm Rafael Pi Roman. And I'm Steve Adubato. Recently, Steve spoke with Preston D. Pinkett III, chairman and CEO of City National Bank, a Newark based bank that has made it its mission to educate members of the community about their finances. Steve spoke with Mr. Pinkett about the ever changing needs of Brick City. Here now is that conversation. Welcome to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Jim Wise Theatre. I'm Steve Adubato. More importantly, I'm pleased to welcome back, after too many years, in a new role, Preston D. Pinkett III, the third chairman and chief executive officer of City National Bank. Good to see you Preston. It's a pleasure to be here with you Steve. Talk about City National Bank. What is it? And why does it matter so much to the history of this city? Well, City National Bank started more than 40 years ago here, right downtown. Concerned minority community members said, "We need a bank that serves the minority community," and City National Bank is what they came up with. It took 'em a little while to get it started, but you know, early 70's in response to the social unrest of the 60's, they formed a bank to make loans when the big banks wouldn't, you know, this was all before the Community Reinvestment Act required banks ti make loans to minorities when redlining was the standard of the day. And it was a bank that set out to make loans available to people who otherwise wouldn't have choices. How did you become the leader? Well, I was minding my own business and the bank ran into a little difficulty, and they needed somebody who understood the banking business and who understood how to raise capital and was willing to try to turn it around. It was always a lifelong dream to be the head of a minority bank, an African American bank, it's part of, you know, the culture of giving back, and one of the things that I talked to my parents and grandparents about as a kid. So when they called me and said, "Hey, would you be interested in taking this risk?" I said, "absolutely." Tell folks your background in banking before this, because that's how we came to know you. Sure. Because you've been a top executive in the banking industry for many years? Right, way back when we were younger, I worked at Chemical Bank in New Jersey. I worked for PNC in New Jersey. I worked at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and then at Prudential, and so I have a wide array of experience in finance and development..."