A year after the death of Seaway Bank and Trust Co.'s long-time majority owner, his widow has taken control of Chicago's largest black-owned bank and made significant changes.So the new Chairwoman of the bank made sure to note this in the case of bringing in new investors:
Veranda Dickens, the wife of the late bank chairman Jacoby Dickens who inherited his majority stake in Seaway, was named bank chairman earlier this month and moved promptly to appoint an outside consultant to the newly created role of chief restructuring officer.
The bank also will seek to raise capital to shore up its finances following a year in which it lost 30 percent of its book value to unanticipated losses tied to recent failed-bank acquisitions in Milwaukee and west suburban Maywood. Seaway is in the process of selecting an investment bank to find investors and hasn't yet settled on how much it will try to raise. Observers expect the bank to seek $10 million or more.
And Ms. Dickens has recruited three prominent African-American business people to join Seaway's board. They are Gwendolyn Butler, president of Chicago-based commercial real estate investment manager Capri Capital Partners LLC; Eric Reeves, general counsel and managing director of Duchossois Capital Management; and Challis Lowe, recently retired senior vice president of human resources at St. Louis-based Ascension Health.
The moves come after $552 million-asset Seaway posted a $4.4 million loss in 2013, the bank's first annual loss in more than 30 years. At the end of 2013, Seaway's equity was barely above the threshold needed to be considered "well-capitalized" by regulators.
Asked about potential investors, Ms. Dickens said in an email, "We will be looking at a diverse range of potential investors as this process progresses and have no plans to sell Seaway."I suppose we'll have to find out what else we can expect from Seaway Bank. Also a press release from Seaway about the appointment of Ms. Dickens as Chairwoman is posted to the bank's official website.