Community protesters have stepped up their efforts to derail the sale of Indecorp Inc. to Chicago's Shorebank Corp., even though one regulator has given its blessing to the deal.
The Federal Reserve Board last week gave the go-ahead for the acquisition of the nation's largest black-owned bank company - whose aging management has been looking to retire - and denied protesters' request for a public hearing.
The $254 million-asset Shorebank still needs approval from Illinois regulators and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The bank must also raise $15 million for the deal, which it expects to complete by yearend.
Some community leaders have criticized Shorebank's lending record - an ironic development in view of the company's national reputation for community development lending. They also want the two banks of $226 million-asset Indecorp to remain in minority hands.
Mark Allen, who heads the coalition of community leaders protesting the deal, said in a statement that his group will file an appeal by Nov. 17 and will escalate its efforts to block funding for the sale.
"The African-American community worked too hard and too long to build these black institutions to let them go without a fight," Mr. Allen said, adding:
"One of the main issues coming out of the Million Man March was the concept of retaining and strengthening black economic power. It is ironic that this decision to give away the black community's largest financial holding company would come down now."
Already one previous investor in Shorebank, LaSalle National Bank, has decided against investing more at this time.
Joan Shapiro, Shorebank's executive vice president, would only say that fundraising is "going well."
She said the protesters have a "right to pursue that agenda," but that the deal also has support from many African-Americans.
In its approval, the Federal Reserve Board said Shorebank has been effective in meeting the credit needs of its community, including low- and moderate-income minority neighborhoods. "Shorebank has committed that, following consummation of this proposal, it will implement policies and programs to improve the CRA performance records of the Indecorp banks," the agency said.