Kenneth serves as Chairman and CEO of First Independence Corp and First Independence Bank, a minority depository institution based in Detroit, Michigan. He is a respected leader in the banking community. In four years of his leadership the corporation has doubled in book value. In March of 2022, he was selected by the Acting Chairman of the FDIC to service a three year term on the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN). Kelly serves on the Board of Directors of the American Bankers Association, the voice of the nation's $23 trillion banking industry. He was elected as a director of the Michigan Bankers Association in June 2021. He served as chairman of the National Bankers Association 2018-2020 representing minority banks in the US. From 2018-2020, Kelly served on the Federal Reserve of Chicago Bank Seventh District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC). Kelly has also served 2018-2021 as a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman's Advisory Committee on Community Banking which is charged with providing advice and recommendations to the FDIC on community banking policy and regulatory matters. He has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Congressional House Financial Services subcommittee and has provided input to the full committee of House Financial Services during its COVID19 listening session and provided guidance to the White House and Secretary of Treasury.
Kelly served as the chairperson of the Auburn University Engineering Alumni Council. In this role, he works with a successful group of alumni including many CEOs to assist the dean of the college with research and development, fundraising, and academic achievement, where he is the first African American to hold this position. In 2019, the dedication of the new Brown Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center included the naming of the Kenneth Kelly Engineering Academic Excellence Program Reception Area. Kelly was Auburn University's Commencement Speaker on April 30, 2021.
Prior to banking, Kelly enjoyed a 27-year career as an electric utility business leader in numerous roles within Southern Company. His last role entailed negotiating acquisitions of large renewable solar projects valued at $3.4 billion in partnership value. In 2018, Kelly was inducted as the 137th Distinguished Auburn Engineer. In Feb. 2020, he was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. The NYSE honored Kelly through the ringing of the opening bell on Dec. 14, 2020 as chairman of Grow Michigan II. In May 2021, Crain's Detroit named him a Notable Executive in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Kelly is the author of Prepared Before I Let Go, and owner of MyLegacyItems.com, a web based application to manage your last will, healthcare directive, and power of attorney. In October 2021, the FDIC approved First Independence Bank to open a branch in Minneapolis as the only black-owned bank in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul after the death of George Floyd, which opened February 22, 2022.
Kelly grew up in Eufaula, Alabama, received an electrical engineering degree from Auburn University and completed the executive MBA program at the University of Alabama.