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Urban Partnership Bank Selling South Shore Branch

By Wendell Hutson | December 18, 2013 7:29am
 Urban Partnership Bank is selling its South Shore branch at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd.
Urban Partnership Bank is selling its South Shore branch at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

SOUTH SHORE — Urban Partnership Bank is leaving South Shore.

The 3-year-old financial institution has agreed to sell its three-story, 46,000-square-foot branch at 7054 S. Jeffery Blvd. to Monroe Investment Partners for an undisclosed amount, bank spokesman Brian Berg said.

The bank has eight other Chicago branches, including one at 7936 S. Cottage Grove Ave. and one at 4659 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Berg said the building is in disrepair and has been underutilized for years. He said there were no more than eight employees working at the building and that the branch would close in March. Banks are required by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to give customers a three-month notice before closing a branch.

Before the bank was founded in August 2010, the building belonged to the shuttered ShoreBank, whose holding company had occupied the site since its 1982 founding as a community bank.

The branch closure has Teyonda Wertz, executive director of the nonprofit South Shore Chamber Inc., worried about the future of the local economy.

"This closure is devastating to the community. We are already losing Dominick's next week, and now to have another big business close shop is too much to handle," Wertz said. "I am most worried about our seniors who have not yet grasped the whole technology thing, like online banking, and prefer to handle their financial business in person."

But Berg said the bank is not totally leaving South Shore.

"After the branch closes, Urban Partnership Bank still intends to maintain a presence in South Shore by incorporating a site for its ATMs and kiosks into the development plans [by Monroe Investment] or finding an alternative location," he said.

And Berg said earlier this month it launched a mobile app for customers to use on their smartphones.

William Farrow, president and CEO of the bank, said redeveloping the building for retail use would benefit the community more than a bank would.

“We’re excited about the possibility of a new retail center at the old South Shore location," Farrow said. "The opportunities and benefits for the entire community created by a new retail center would far exceed the benefits of a single bank branch on a large corner block."

Tom Brashier, a spokesman for Monroe Investment Partners, did not return calls seeking comment.

One redevelopment idea Wertz had for the bank building was a grocery store.

"Now that Dominick's is closing, we need another full-service grocery store, and that corner building would be ideal for one," she said.