Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicago Civil Rights-Era Bank Weathers Financial Storm

EDIT 10/1/12 The video version of this story is available at Seaway Bank's website!

If you saw the Tweet or the status on the Facebook page then you were already aware of this piece on FOX Chicago Friday night. In fact, you probably should have been able to tune in for that segment when it aired.

Anyway, here's some of the history of Seaway. I urge you to watch the video above or read the whole write-up (updated link no video though)!
The banking bias of the mid-60s is what inspired the founders.

The major banks had all left the neighborhood as blacks moved in. Businessman Ernest Collins went to a downtown bank and applied for a $25,000 loan.

"The loan officer informed him, ‘Well you can put up $25,000 and we'll loan you $25,000,” said Walter Grady, president of Seaway.

Grady said Collins turned that disrespect into a business plan.

"You needed a million dollars in order to apply for a charter," Grady recalled.

“I think to begin with, our first cost of a share of stock was 20 bucks or something like that,” Dickens added.

The founders got the charter in 1965, and embarked on a mission to prove black money is green and small money can grow.

While the average account balance may be much smaller than the major banks, loyalty adds up. Seaway’s bottom line has never been in the red in its 45 years of existence. And the deposits now add up to nearly $400 million.
You know I've always admired the history. The bank's founders sold shares door to door. If only I was that bold!

BTW, it was noted that a $20 share of Seaway stock would be worth $1000.

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