One of the last surviving black-owned banks in Chicago was rescued from its loan-related woes by a Ghanaian-American family.
The $101 million-asset Illinois Service Federal Savings & Loan completed its sale to the Nduom family on April 28, family members said in an interview with American Banker on Thursday. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, a former partner at Deloitte & Touche, and his wife, Yvonne, made a $9 million equity investment in the bank, which was under a consent order from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to raise capital.
"All [outstanding] shares have been issued to the members of the Nduom family, so we control 100% of the institution," said Chiefy Nduom, vice president and general counsel at Groupe Nduom, the family's holding company for various business enterprises.
Illinois Service will remain a black-owned bank, he said, and there are no immediate plans to shutter any of the bank's offices or branches.
Established during the Great Depression to assist Southern blacks who migrated to northern cities for better economic opportunities, the black-owned financial institution suffered from mortgage-related deteriorating loan portfolios following the 2008 financial collapse. The OCC confirmed Thursday that it approved the acquisition last week.
The first order of business now is to shore up credit quality. "Really one of our … priorities are making sure that we understand their portfolio, make sure that we're doing the right things that we need to do to improve its quality," said Nana Kweku Nduom, vice president of business development and finance at Groupe Nduom.
Ultimately the new owners plan to beef up mobile banking services and take more steps to attract younger customers, Crain's Chicago Business reported this week.
Ghana-born Papa Kwesi Nduom moved his family from West Africa to Milwaukee during the 1970s, eventually settling in the Washington D.C. area. Most of the family returned to Ghana in 1991, but some family members still live in the U.S., and its business interests are based in Washington.
Groupe Nduom invests in industries that include tourism, media, sports, hospitality, real estate, and investments and financial services, primarily in Ghana.