Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago is selling a branch, has launched an online banking platform and has made an unusual offer to customers.
The $1 billion-asset bank has agreed to sell a three-story Chicago property that houses a branch and an attached drive-through banking center to the investment firm Monroe Investment Partners, which plans to redevelop the property. Urban Partnership expects to close the branch in March and transfer the customers to a nearby location, it announced Monday.
Along with the branch sale, Urban Partnership announced the launch of "upbAnywhere," its online and mobile banking platform. It will offer free courses in January to train its customers in online banking and using the Internet, it said.
"We believe these are the right strategies at the right time for our bank," William Farrow, the bank's chief executive, said in a news release. "They better align our structure and business focus with the needs of our customers and communities, and in so doing, position us for long-term success."
Following the sale, Urban Partnership will have nine Chicago branches and one in Detroit. It recently opened a branch inside a Chicago Walmart.
Urban Partnership also announced plans to refocus on small-business and real estate lending, and to participate next year in a foreclosure-prevention program backed by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. It will also begin offering fixed-rate mortgage loans at the start of the year, it said.
Urban Partnership was designated a minority depositary institution earlier this year, which allows it to receive certain technical assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Urban Partnership was founded in 2010 to buy the failed ShoreBank. It is backed by major financial services companies including American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), BMO Harris Bank, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).