Skip to comments.No electricity, but plenty of fireworks at Lawndale bank
Posted on 03/07/2004 3:57:58 PM PST by CoolGuyVic
No electricity, but plenty of fireworks at Lawndale bank
March 6, 2004
BY TAMMY CHASE Business Reporter
Ministers and protesters converged on the Community Bank of Lawndale on Friday to object to the bank's sale to the Chinese-American-owned International Bank of Chicago, but were met with a power outage at the West Side bank that kept it closed and wouldn't allow protesters to withdraw their money.
The 1-1/2-hour protest became a war of words, with protesters accusing the bank of staging the outage and questioning why the largely African-American community's only bank wasn't in black hands.
A spokesman for ComEd said the bank was without power until 2:30 p.m. Friday because of a ComEd equipment failure.
Minister Marvin Hunter yelled at International Bank attorney Chris Welch outside the bank because Hunter said he was told he would get to meet International's owners, who weren't present Friday.
"They cannot represent . . . the black people," he said. At another point, he yelled, "This isn't what the Rev. [Martin Luther] King would have wanted."
Welch said many of the pastors don't bank at Lawndale and don't live there; Hunter said that was untrue. Welch also said Hunter has resisted overtures by the bank to create an advisory board and offer scholarships to local youth.
Hunter and others are angry about last November's sale of the bank -- which until then had been owned and run by blacks -- arguing the new owners should not "handle our money." He mentioned King, he said, because the bank was created to revitalize the neighborhood after the riots that followed the civil rights leader's 1968 assassination.
Hunter vowed to "go to Congress" to try to get the bank back into black ownership.
The former owners, Sable Bancshares, sold the money-losing, underfunded bank because regulators last year threatened to take it over.
A supporter of the new owners, the Rev. James Bevel, said a well-run bank would better serve Lawndale. "A lot of this is emotional fervor," said Bevel, who marched with King in the 1960s. "It's not a question of black ownership, it's a question of banking."
Added Charles Koen, director of United Front Inc.: "These ministers should be praying for this bank, praying for this board. They should be thanking the board for saving people from losing their money."
Welch said the owners are willing to meet March 18 and told protesters that International Bank has to invest in Lawndale because of the bank's federal designation as a Community Development Financial Institution. That means it gets tax money to redevelop neighborhoods.
I didn't realize our banking system operated under what the Rev. King would, or would not, have wanted.
Besides, Minister, that's a horribly racist statement.
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