Focusing on Black History for one month each year is not enough, says Liberty Banker Lawrence J. Jeune Jr. The events of the past year have changed the conversation.
“I think to myself ‘Why can’t we all try to learn from each other and attempt to understand each other?’ That is a dream for me.”
Lawrence, Vice President and Branch Manager of Liberty Bank’s Amity location, focuses on lifting people up through his role at the bank and in the community.
“As a Black man, I try to live my life in a way that shows Black youth they can accomplish any goal that they put their mind to,” said Lawrence. “I grew up in a world where the dream was to be a professional athlete or a musician. The kids that did not have those abilities didn’t have many other opportunities available to them, and often ended up in trouble. I was lucky to have had the support from people who showed me there are other options.”
Lawrence decided to go to school and start a career in the financial industry so he could help others. He started as an intern in high school and has remained in the industry for 20 years, working his way up to Vice President and Branch Manager. Lawrence takes great pride in helping his customers take their next big step, from buying a home to starting a business. In his role at Liberty, Lawrence is tackling one of the biggest issues affecting Black-owned businesses and startups: access to capital.
“From my experience, a lot of small business owners in the Black community feel like they do not have the same opportunities as others,” he said. “In my role, I will do everything in my power to help.”
In his free time, he’s going above and beyond as well, volunteering with numerous community organizations including: West Haven Youth Soccer League, where he coaches his daughter’s team; Community Action Agency of New Haven, where he teaches credit building and financial literacy; and Urban Community Alliance, where he serves as a Board Member.
“Because of my upbringing, when I look at the people that we are helping, I can relate to them one way or another,” Lawrence says. “Liberty Bank and our teammates do so much for the community. Seeing the impact of our time and effort gives me a sense of purpose. When I go to certain neighborhoods and tell people where I work, they say they’re happy to see a Black man in my position at Liberty Bank. That is meaningful to me.”
Photo 1: Lawrence delivers surprises to first responders to thank them for their selfless efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo 2: Liberty Bankers volunteer with Habitat For Humanity. Please note, this photo was taken prior to COVID-19.