Urban Partnership Bank announced Thursday it would open a branch in a Wal-Mart slated for Chicago's Pullman neighborhood.
The $1 billion-asset community development bank has spent the last few years opening "micro-branches" that seek to target poor and traditionally underbanked communities with more accessible offices. The scheduled opening date for the new branch has not been announced.
Pullman, named after railcar tycoon George Pullman, is among Chicago's most historic neighborhoods. It is attempting a revitalization after years of decline and crime.
"We're excited about this opportunity to participate in the revitalization of Chicago's historic Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods," William Farrow, president and chief executive of Urban Partnership, said in a press release. "This area has a remarkable past and a promising future, and we want to do our part to act as a catalyst for its continued rebirth."
Rebirth is something Urban Partnership should understand well. The bank was created in 2010 to buy ShoreBank, a longtime community development bank that had collapsed from problem loans, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
It was capitalized with $140 million of money originally pooled by former Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig, who is now chief executive of Promontory Financial, with the intent to save ShoreBank. Its backers include American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), BMO Harris Bank, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), other financial services firms and major foundations.
Urban Partnership announced earlier this week that it had been designated as a minority depository institution. The designation reflects the bank's ownership and the fact that more than 50% of its board members are minorities.