By: Chelsea Daivs-Bibb, Ed.D.
Founded in 1927, Texas Southern University is known to be “one of the nation’s largest historically black universities” (Texas Southern University). Texas Southern University currently serves 9,700 students under the leadership of President Crumpton-Young.
Although the 150-acre campus has over 100 programs, there was one program that was missing, a banking program. John Scroggins, who has 40 years in banking and finance, saw a great need for the program after a conversation with some executives who wanted more diversity in the banking field. However, they felt as if there was not a lot of talent to choose from. Scroggins took note of this, did some research, and found that there was not a banking program at any of the historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). He found that all other schools like Texas Tech, and Sam Houston State University just to name a few, had banking programs, but not any HBCUs. Scroggins expressed, “I am going to do something about it,” so he founded The Future Bankers Leadership Program in August of 2021.
One challenge that came about when starting the program was funding. Many universities who have a banking program are state supported. Because of this challenge, money for the program would have to be raised. Scroggins did not back down from this challenge, but spoke with some industry people who could help, and the program has raised “4.2 million dollars today.”
The program is sanctioned by the Risk Management Association (RMA), which administers the RMA Credit Essentials Certificate Course (Fin 419) and exam. It is “the gold standard course that is used for certification of college students to perform in banking and be successful.” Scroggins made it known that schools like Texas A & M and Sam Houston State University use this model, and if you can pass this exam with an 80 or higher, you’ll get a certification. This means that if students pass this exam, they have “passed one of the toughest standardized tests in the industry for undergraduates going into banking.” According to Scroggins, RMA agreed to help the banking program at Texas Southern University and would give it to them free if they used it as a model for other HBCUs. For the first sitting of the exam, the students who took the exam passed it 100% on the first try. “It has never been heard of,” expressed Scroggins. Every one of them had an 80 or higher, with two of them scoring a 100, and one student scoring a 97. “It blew us away. It blew the whole industry away,” Scroggins stated.
The Future Bankers Leadership Program has had an immense amount of support, including the support of Jamie Dimon, who is the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. According to Scroggins, Mr. Dimon came down in person, dressed in jeans and Nike tennis shoes, during a press conference at TSU to see the program in person. His support brought a million dollars to the program. In addition, Scroggins discussed how the program prepares their students well for a career in banking and provides them with opportunities. Two students from the program will travel to New York this upcoming summer with Mr. Dimon and will have a career at JPMorgan Chase because they passed their exam. “This is what the program has done. It is unbelievable,” Scroggins expressed.
This program has had great success thus far, and it will continue in the Spring of 2022, and going forward, this program will be the blueprint for other HBCUs across the nation. The program is endowed, and is a donor driven program that is designed to last in perpetuity. Scroggins stated, “The Future Bankers Leadership program was my vision, but “took a team effort to make it successful.”