Thursday, January 10, 2013

No More Currency Exchanges Wanted - Chicago

A new menace to the community in addition to section 8 or even dollar stores. Well we haven't heard much about dollar stores lately but there were those who wondered if there should be a moratorium on such establishments. To quote one of the other writers here, we hear a lot about what the community doesn't want but what does the community want?
In the Chatham area, there are 10 currency exchanges, according to Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association.

Said Marlon Cooper, 63, a retired construction worker, "We don't need 10 currency exchanges in Chatham."

"This is a working-class community, not some low-income area like Englewood," Cooper said.

Chicago historian Timuel Black described Chatham as a black, middle-class community made up mostly of public servant and white-collar employees. There are nearly 64,000 people living in the 60619 zip code in Chatham, according to census data, and 26 percent are seniors age 55 and up.

Critics say currency exchanges charge higher fees than banks for needed financial services. The industry notes that their fee structure is government regulated.

Kelly said there are six banks with branches in Chatham. They are Chase, Urban Partnership, Bank of America, Illinois Service Federal, PNC, and Seaway Bank & Trust Co.

She would prefer to see more banks.

"I don't have a problem with currency exchanges because they are a business providing a convenient service to a lot of people. But I do have a problem with our community having few banks available," Kelly said.
The quote I placed in bold, OOOF! Here's another criticism of currency exchanges:
Currency exchanges attract negative people who do harm to the neighborhood, contends Valerie Huggins, 41, an office manager who lives in Chatham.

"Currency exchanges cater to a special group of people, usually the unemployed or under-employed but rarely the middle-class," claimed Huggins. "I do not use currency exchanges and think overall they are bad for the community because of the loitering that takes place."
OK other than a concern for the neighborhood reputation although I recognize that this is putting it lightly, there's also a concern about business practices and that using a currency exchange is more expensive than using a bank. Also concern of safety people loitering around.

BTW, I should note that although it may have changed in the past Seaway Bank has sold city stickers so you will see in the article one lady likes currency exchanges for that very reason. Although some banks do sell city stickers, perhaps the issue for her is convenience. In addition to the other services they provide other than cashing checks for example.

Finally the general community has several places to engage in banking services. Let's not that across the expressway you can also utilize TCF whether in Jewel store or even a branch on 87th Street. Go further east on 87th there's a Citi branch. Point is, I'm curious how covered this part of the south side is with banks.

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