Note From the Editor: The following is a profile of Broward resident and business woman, Marcia Barry-Smith that recently appeared in Jamaicans.com.
This week we have a conversation with Jamaican, Marcia Barry-Smith (MBS), a senior executive at OneUnited Bank. Marcia has over thirty years of high-level banking experience and is one of the most revered, recognized and influential Power Brokers in South Florida.
Marcia is highly regarded in the national arena as an expert in Community Development and Outreach. Her nationally acclaimed Homeless to Homeowner program has placed 100+ formerly homeless families into home ownership. Here is our interview with Marcia Barry-Smith.
Q: Tell us about your connection to Jamaica? When did you migrate and what are your fondest memories of Jamaica?
I am Jamaican by birth of Jamaican parents. I attended the University of Toronto – majored in Sociology and English – returned to Jamaica for a while, finally migrating to the USA where I’ve now lived for the past 35 years
My fondest memories of Jamaica are myriad but somehow the best ones all have to do with family: Major holidays with the Afro-Colonial rituals and traditions; beach picnics, The Christmas Pantomimes. Growing up in those times you felt free and cherished – not by only your immediate family but by the “Village” and with this came an innate sense of belonging for which there is no substitute.
Q: Recently you were appointed by OneUnited Bank for their CRA Expansion strategy. Can you tell us about this new appointment and the communities it will affect? Currently what is our biggest challenge in this new role?
OneUnited Bank is the preeminent Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the United States, supporting and providing hope of an improved life to the residents of urban inner cities it serves. As the nation’s largest Black-owned Bank, OneUnited serves an Assessment Area that is designated as Miami Dade County in its entirety and operates a full service branch in the 79thstreet corridor that includes, in part, Liberty City. Despite the fact that all of the Bank’s business is conducted in low to moderate income (LMI) communities, and with LMI households, federal law still requires the Bank to comply with certain performance tests and standards: lending, service and investment, as mandated by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).