CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Coalition for Community Banking, which formed on Chicago’s west side and near west suburbs in response to the closing of its community bank, has joined in partnership with U.S. Bank. This partnership will include a comprehensive set of initiatives to ensure continued and enhanced community banking services and reinvestment in communities previously served by the Park National Bank.
Richard Hartnack, vice chairman of consumer banking and small business at U.S. Bank, said, “U.S. Bank had a small presence in these communities before the acquisition of Park National Bank, and now that our presence has expanded, we are committed to also growing as a community partner for the west side and near west suburbs. Our partnership with the Coalition for Community Banking will provide the capital and critical financial support that these communities need to rebound from the recession and foreclosure crisis.”
Coalition co-founder and leader of the Westside Federation, Reverend Randall Harris, said, “We are gratified to reach this accord with U.S. Bank after holding a real dialogue. We have found ways to be real partners and bring hope and stability to our communities.”
U.S. Bank and the Coalition are launching an innovative initiative designed to help local nonprofit developers revitalize neighborhoods hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis. The “Community Restoration Fund,” announced today, is a unique program designed to provide capital to smaller, nonprofit developers working on the west side and near west suburbs to enable them to purchase, rehabilitate and resell foreclosed properties to qualified borrowers. U.S. Bank will also provide mortgage loans to the buyers from the communities to purchase the homes that the local nonprofit market.
U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (7th Congressional District), who supported the formation and advocacy of the Coalition from its inception in November 2009, praised the partnership stating, “We all recognize that efforts to stabilize our communities in the face of the recent foreclosure epidemic have fallen short. With this new community banking partnership, we will break new ground in developing solutions to reclaim the vacant homes now blighting our neighborhoods and put families back into decent housing.”
As a companion to the Community Restoration Fund, U.S. Bank and the Coalition also crafted a Community Benefits Agreement. This agreement provides further support to neighborhoods in need including:
- Commitment of a financial support for affordable housing and community economic development in Chicagoland, with specific support to Chicago’s west side neighborhoods (Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale) and the near west suburbs (primarily Maywood).
- Commitment to work with local nonprofit organizations engaged in workforce development and job placement, to link qualified community residents with employment opportunities with the Bank.
- A progressive partnership to assist housing counselors in identifying servicers for foreclosed properties.
- Mortgage modification events, with the first of these events on March 18-19th at the Maywood Community Center. The U.S. Bank-Coalition partnership is planning the event, targeted to distressed homeowners from the west side and near west suburbs. Other servicers will be invited, and U.S. Bank’s loss mitigation team will be on hand, to assist distressed homeowners behind on their payments.
- Commitment to a “second look” process for small business loan applicants that may have been turned down and options to ensure all alternatives for a business are considered.
- Joint efforts to increase low-moderate-income families’ access to credit and financial services at affordable rates.
“It’s been a long journey,” declared Jacqueline Reed of the Austin neighborhood’s Westside Health Authority, “considering we started out on Capitol Hill, at a Congressional Hearing expressing our distress about the loss of a great community bank. U.S. Bank stepped up and honored the prior community investment commitments made by Park National. Today we stand here as partners, looking forward to the work we will do together to revitalize our communities.”
Bob Vondrasek of the South Austin Coalition, another co-founder of the Coalition for Community Banking, said, “U.S. Bank’s commitments announced today send a powerful signal to other banks and mortgage servicers. We’re already working on bringing other major banks to the table to join this partnership and at least match what U.S. Bank has pledged to do.”
Lisa Glover, senior vice president and director of U.S. Bank community affairs, added that U.S. Bank and the Coalition will work together to coordinate and expand existing community programs that promote financial literacy and foreclosure prevention, with an added special focus on pre-purchase counseling and credit repair services for the families hoping to buy houses reclaimed through the Community Restoration Fund. “This holistic and coordinated approach will advance the economic well-being of Chicago’s west side and near west suburban communities.”
Sarah Lira of Maywood’s Housing Helpers, and Chair of the Coalition’s Foreclosure Committee added, “We are thrilled that the first Mortgage Modification Fair will be in Maywood, and we’re working hard to reach people from our neighboring Chicago’s west side communities to come to the event. We all want stable, healthy communities.”
The Coalition for Community Banking
The Coalition for Community Banking formed spontaneously as the “Coalition to Save Community Banking” in a grassroots groundswell after the FDIC seized Park National Bank and its deposits and assets were acquired by U.S. Bancorp. The Coalition is a diverse alliance of community, faith-based, and business groups from Chicago’s west side neighborhoods (Austin, Garfield Park and North Lawndale) and the near west suburbs of Oak Park and Maywood. The Coalition is dedicated to promoting access to affordable credit and quality financial services for low-income families and communities and small businesses; and to advocating for significant community reinvestment to revive our neighborhoods’ ”Main Street” economy and housing in the wake of the Recession and mortgage foreclosure crisis. For more information please contact the Coalition’s Communications Coordinator, Pastor Cathy Palmer at: 312-543-6430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $308 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2010, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,031 banking offices in 24 states and 5,310 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com