Urban Partnership seeks buyer: Report

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Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago is considering selling itself.

The $484 million-asset bank has hired Sandler O’Neill to determine possible interest from buyers, Crain's Chicago Business reported on Thursday. David Vitale, Urban Partnership's chairman, told the publication that the bank, which has shrunk over the past seven years, would benefit from being part of a better capitalized entity.

The bank's core capital ratio was 7.9% at Sept. 30, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Urban Partnership didn’t immediately respond to an American Banker request for comment.

Urban Partnership is designated as a minority bank because more than half of its directors are considered minorities. The bank, formed in August 2010 to buy the failed ShoreBank, was backed by roughly $140 million in capital that the $2.2 billion-asset Shore had raised from big institutions, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

Urban Parternship isn’t considering a sale because of pressure from shareholders, Vitale told Crain’s. Rather, the board determined that it needed to examine the bank’s long-term plans after cleaning up many of Shore's problem loans.

The company earned $3.2 million in the first three quarters of 2017, reversing a $12.5 million loss a year earlier, according to FDIC data. Still, more than 8% of the bank's loans are considered noncurrent.

Urban Partnership launched a capital raise in 2016 but it was called off last July after the bank’s auditor and the FDIC couldn’t agree on financial statements, citing accounting issues tied to the initial valuation of Shore’s loan portfolio, Crain's reported.

Vitale told Crain’s that Urban Partnership could also stay independent; a decision is likely this spring.

"We've got a profitable little bank that's serving its community well,” Vitale told the publication.

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