- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Robert L. Johnson’s Urban Trust Bank is scheduled to open its first Washington-area branch inside a Wal-Mart today. The branch is in the retailer’s Landover Hills store, which Wal-Mart said will spur development in the neighborhood.

Urban Trust is aggressively going after sites both in the Washington area and in Wal-Mart stores, said Kathy Boden Holland, senior vice president of business development at Urban Trust Holdings. This site does both.

“We felt it was a very important location for us to go to demonstrate our commitment to expanding in the Washington metro area,” she said.

The ribbon on the Landover Hills branch — Urban Trust’s second in the Washington area — is scheduled to be cut today at 11 a.m. The Landover Hills store, on Annapolis Road, is Wal-Mart’s only location inside the Beltway.

Landover Hills was selected as one of 10 communities across the country that Wal-Mart said it would help revitalize with its store and programs for nearby small businesses, including minority-owned businesses.

Urban Trust Bank was founded last year in Bethesda to focus on minority savings and investment opportunities.

“This opening in a Prince George’s County Wal-Mart store has significant meaning for us,” said Henry Hall, Urban Trust Bank’s vice president for in-store banking. “It clearly supports our national business expansion strategy and solidifies our partnership with Wal-Mart, whose customers and employees can benefit from our services. And it means we’ve taken another step to fulfill our mission to help people in diverse urban communities become homeowners, entrepreneurs or just better provide for themselves and their families.”

Urban Trust has nine branches — the rest are in and around Orlando and Tampa, Fla. — with plans further for expansion next year. Ms. Boden Holland declined to elaborate.

Urban Trust Bank is just one of the many business ventures of Mr. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television. He also owns the Charlotte Bobcats professional basketball team, hotels, restaurants and private equity funds.

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