Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If ShoreBank fails Chatham fails

It was reported this week at Crain's that the FDIC is soliciting bidders for ShoreBank. ShoreBank was ordered to raise additional capital or risk a takeover by the FDIC. 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 Chatham.

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. For additional information or to assist ShoreBank in its efforts to invest in our communities, visit www.sbk.com.

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