Deloris Sims started her banking career as a part-time teller for Firstar Bank in central Milwaukee, where she had lived since the age of five. Over 28 years, she rose up the ranks to become a vice president and a business banker, developing five Firstar banks in the city. All the while she watched as her own neighborhood, a low-income minority community, steadily deteriorated.
In 1999, she teamed up with two other minority women, Margaret Henningsen and Shirley Lanier, to found Legacy Bank. Their goal was to give the area's poor residents a stake in their neighborhood by financing small businesses and home purchases. The three women raised $6.9 million, bought the former Firstar building where Sims had worked for most of her career, and got to work with Sims as President and CEO.