A Price Hill-based bank achieves a community milestone

In 1893, three businessmen in the booming Cincinnati neighborhood of Price Hill saw a need for a community bank to serve the residents with home mortgages, savings accounts, and business loans. They called it Warsaw Federal after the bank’s location on one of the neighborhhood's main thoroughfares, Warsaw Avenue.

For 130 years, Warsaw Federal has stayed true to its roots as a neighborhood bank, with only two branches and a longstanding commitment to the communities of East and West Price Hill. It recently achieved a milestone in its history, being designated by U.S. banking regulators as a minority depository institution, the first in Cincinnati.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency made the official designation, classifying Warsaw Federal as a community-based bank committed to providing financial services, tools, and education to promote economic opportunity and financial equity, and help community members invest in the community's success. To achieve the status, a bank must be governed by a board in which the majority of members are minorities, or be at least 51% owned by minority individuals.

The bank says it will continue to provide its same services and products, and will improve its deposit and lending products, as well as provide other resources to improve the financial well-being of its home communities of Price Hill and Sayler Park.  

President and CEO Robie Suggs says the designation is “an impactful tool in breaking the generational poverty cycle and offering opportunity for economic equality for all those in the communities we serve.” Suggs was appointed CEO in June. She was formerly chief lending officer for the Cincinnati Development Fund and before that was an executive at First Financial Bank and PNC Bank.

The bank also has a new board of directors that is majority-minority. It is lead by chair David Evans, CEO of Tessec, LLC., a manufacturer based in Dayton, Ohio.

Warsaw Federal is a mutual company, meaning it is not owned by shareholders, but by its depositors and borrowers.  

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.