CHATHAM — Next year when Seaway Bank and Trust Co. celebrates its 50th anniversary it will do so without Walter Grady as its president and chief executive officer.
Seaway Bank Chairman Veranda Dickens announced Wednesday that Grady will retire July 31 after more than 30 years at the South Side financial institution. He will be replaced effective Aug. 1 by Darrell Jackson, a former Northern Trust Co. executive.
“We look forward to a seamless leadership transition to Darrell, who brings incredibly relevant experience and superior leadership skills,” said Dickens.
Seaway Bank, 645 E. 87th St., is the city’s largest black-owned bank based on $555 million in assets it had as of Dec. 31. It also has four other South Side branches and an international branch at O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport.
Grady helped Seaway Bank grow its assets from $40 million to over $500 million and several programs were created during his tenure including a home ownership program that allows qualified buyers to purchase a home by putting down only 1 percent of the home’s value.
“We’ve been able to help deserving people obtain the American dream of owning a home without altering our sound business principles,” Grady said.
The bank’s Community Development Corp. unit was also started during Grady’s tenure, which buys dilapidated properties, rehabs them and then sells them to low and moderate-income individuals at affordable prices.
Shortly after Seaway Bank opened in 1965, TailoRite Complete Clothing Care Co., 8459 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Grand Crossing, was among its first business clients. Owner Joseph Caldwell said he needed $3,500 to install a gas line for a new clothing press but was turned down for a loan by several big banks before he went to Seaway Bank. These days TailoRite is grossing over $1 million in sales and Caldwell said he continues to use Seaway Bank as a lender.
The bank also provided a $4 million loan in 2006 to the Rev. Cody Marshall, pastor of Freedom Temple Church of God in Christ, which allowed him to expand the church building at 1459 W. 74th St. in Englewood.
In a statement, Jackson, who worked in banking for more than 30 years, said he plans to continue the legacy Grady help start at Seaway Bank of making capital more accessible to black consumers and businesses.
“Seaway is an iconic brand and plays a vital, distinctive role in the Chicago banking landscape,” said Darrell Jackson. “I look forward to working closely with Seaway’s outstanding board of directors and my new colleagues to complete the process of strengthening the bank’s financial position and help propel it to even greater heights in the years ahead.”
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: