Watchen Bruce headshot picture IMG-20220626-WA0008


Watchen Harris Bruce is the President and CEO of Baltimore Community Lending. Ms. Bruce has over thirty-five plus years of banking, development finance, small business lending, economic development, international development, affordable housing, and leadership experience. She has extensive development finance experience, both nationally and internationally. 

Prior to joining BCL, she was the CEO of Africa New Frontier, Inc., an entrepreneurship, and financial inclusion company, and she served as Chief of Party/Country Director of the USAID-funded project “Investing for Business Expansion” (IBEX) project, access to finance and business development project in Liberia for five years. She also served as Deputy Chief of the Party for another USAID-funded project “Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity” for 3 years. 

On the national level, Ms. Bruce was Vice President of Community Development for Fleet Bank in Boston. She also served as Vice President & business banker and business development officer with the leading U.S. Commercial banks, including PNC Bank, JP Morgan Chase Mortgage, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and Bank of America. She was a Sr. Financial Management Consultant for Affordable Housing @ NeighborWorks America. She also served as Senior Project & Finance Manager of Affordable Housing for the City of Boston. And she has served as a Grant Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Treasury CDFI Fund for over 10 years. 

Ms. Bruce is pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Development & Leadership through Grand Canyon University & she has completed all the requirements except the dissertation. She holds a Master’s in Business Management from Cambridge College in Massachusetts, and Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Planning & Management from the University of Massachusetts, and a BA in French from the University of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. She is a certified PNC Women in Business Lender & Certified Trainer & Coach with the Nehemiah Project International Ministries. Watchen was honored as one of the 100 Top Women Leaders in Baltimore and was a graduate of Leadership Boston and is a recent 2022 graduate of Leadership Baltimore. 

Ms. Bruce is a member of the African American Alliance CDFI CEOs, a Board member of Maryland Community Development Network, and a Board member of Morning Star Baptist Church Five Star Community Development Corporation.