Digital banking group Varo Bank announced on Thursday an extensive engagement with Russell Westbrook, nine-time NBA All-Star, NBA MVP, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and designer. Varo Bank reported that Westbrook is now an investor as well as an advisor. He will have direct input into the future direction of Varo’s impact programs inclusive of communities of color and African American communities.
Varo Bank further revealed that Russell Westbrook Enterprises, who was exclusively advised by Jefferies LLC in this transaction, led the digital bank’s latest investment round that raised $63 million.
“Varo was created to make a measurable impact on financial inequality and address issues of access, fairness, and fees that have often had a discriminatory legacy. Varo has been designed from the outset to deliver premium, affordable banking services to all Americans. This founding ethos inspired Mr. Westbrook to engage directly with Varo, with the goal of advancing this cause in underserved communities and communities of color.”
Speaking about his involvement in Varo Bank, Westbrook stated:
“The banking system has ignored or underserved a large portion of the American population – particularly communities of color. I’m passionate about making lasting social change and creating a stronger and more inclusive system. I am excited and ready to work with Varo to be a part of an economic revitalization for those who never had the access they deserved.”
Colin Walsh, Founder and CEO of Varo Bank, then added:
“The Varo team is thrilled Russell is joining us on our trailblazing journey as the only all-digital, mission-driven national bank in the country. We both share a view that banking can be – and needs to be – a force for good. Russell is a visionary and his energy and passion for design, product excellence, and community impact will help propel Varo’s next phase of growth. “Working together will accelerate our efforts to reimagine banking for all of us.”