By: Ayesha Hana Shaji, Texas Metro News Staff

UNT Dallas and Texas Capital Bank have teamed up to offer students a Commercial Lending Certificate Program, providing a pathway for diverse students to find career paths in the financial services industry. Students will also have the opportunity to network with Texas Capital Bank officers, including their talent development and university recruiting teams. On Thursday, March 30, UNT Dallas welcomed Texas Capital Bank to their campus, officially launching their partnership and the program. UNT Dallas President Bob Mong, Effie Dennison, Managing Director of Texas Capital Bank, along with other executive members spoke at the event.

With the program already underway, the partnership aims to equip students with the tools and skills necessary to compete in a highly competitive field while exposing them to Texas Capital Bank’s culture and career options, said Marci MacKay, executive director of talent management at Texas Capital Bank. The program is an opportunity for students to obtain American Banker Association’s Commercial Lending Certificate at UNT Dallas.

It targets students and sets them up for success. A student who is in the program will have access to resume reviews and interview tips as well, MacKay said. Students who take the program will also be taken into consideration for internships with TCB. Effie Dennison, managing director of corporate responsibility at Texas Capital Bank said, the program targets diverse students and makes banking arenas more accessible to BIPOC students. TCB is currently present in three other HBCUs.

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“When you look at this composition of [UNT Dallas] campus and their ability to want to incorporate this into their overall educational curriculum, it was just a no-brainer for us,” she said, adding that in typical HBCUs, careers in banking are void and students don’t know what it looks like. “We didn’t grow up with commercial bankers sitting next to us as a family friend, I can talk to us about it,” she said. “We’re planting the seeds for them to be able to not just be a banker, but to have a career path to excel in banking by having the tools this is the foundation right here…early in their careers.”

The program has been under the pipeline for two years and has 22 students enrolled currently. Mujtaba Zia, assistant professor and finance programs coordinator at UNT Dallas said, the Credit Analysis Program is available to UNT students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and can be completed as a track within finance, business and accounting majors. Zia said it covers fundamentals of banking, technical writing in banking, financial statement analysis, credit analysis, commercial lending and many more skills.

The program aims to level the playing field for students who are competing with universities that have schools of banking programs, Dennison said. This collaboration will provide students with the tools they need to compete on the same level, including the ABA certification that is highly recognized in the industry.

Mireya Cortez, a senior majoring in Finance and a program participant, said the program is helping her grow into the financial field, showing her all the possibilities of her degree. She said she’s grateful for the opportunity and being able to represent her school in a positive light. “I like to learn new things every day,” Cortez said. “It’s so interesting to learn, you know, all these new things related to banking.” Every bank is looking to scout top talent but being able to help cultivate, invest and grow that particularly diverse talent is even better, McKay said.

Ayesha Hana Shaji is a 2022 graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where she was on The Shorthorn staff. Email: