Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thinking about the significance of Shore Bank

The following post was supposed to have been posted around June 21 of this year. While not quite as timely, it is still relevant as we just had a "Shop Local Day", and Urban Partnership, which has replaced Shore Bank as a corporation, still has many of the same staff and the same local attitude that made it a vital institution in our neighborhood.

This is a comment Worlee made on the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council blog, also note that Worlee made similar comments posted last month (May) on this blog.
While to most, this is just another bank failure but if Shorebank fails it will wipe away over 40 years of history and progress of the Chatham community.

ShoreBank started as South Shore Bank was started by a multicultural group of individuals to address the lack of capital available to individuals in South Shore as the community changed from being a primarily White Jewish community to African American.

Independence Bank was started at 79th Cottage Grove by a group of African American business men who decided they would control their destiny by creating a bank that would serve African Americans.

In the mid 80's these two banks merged together to create ShoreBank as we know it today.

The combined entities continued to carry out its mission of giving access to capital to those who traditionally were denied access. This access has allowed our community based organizations, social service agencies, churches, real estate investors and homeowners to help build our community.

Although we now have several commercial banking organizations entering the community, the loss of a true "community bank" like ShoreBank which makes decisions based on what is best for its customers and the community, would be a major blow we can ill afford to imagine.

The financial situations of Illinois Service Federal, Seaway and Highland Bank are questionable and the takeover of ShoreBank by an institution with no history in the Chatham community or commitment to serving Chicago ’s urban neighborhoods is sure to lessen the likelihood of an inclusive economic recovery.
I thought these comments were very significant.

What are your experiences with community banks such as Shore Bank and others?

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