Urban Partnership Bank Sells Its South Shore Branch and Will Close in March
Deborah Bayliss | 2/26/2014, 2:52 p.m.
Urban Partnership Bank (UPB) is selling its South Shore banking center at 7054 S. Jeffrey and will close March 22 to make way for much needed retail development in the area as it shifts from a bricks and mortar to an online and mobile application strategy.
William Farrow, President and CEO of Urban Partnership Bank, announced the closure in Dec. describing the property sale in a press release as a way to bolster the bank’s commercial banking business and reposition its branch banking services.
“We’re excited about the possibility of a new retail center at the old South Shore location,” said Farrow. “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.”
Urban Partnership Bank, which has $1 billion in assets, reached an agreement with Monroe Investment Partners LLC (MIP) to acquire its South Shore financial center and its nearby motor bank and parking lot for an undisclosed amount. The bank will close those facilities March 22, to allow MIP to proceed with plans to create a new retail center and bring much needed services and amenities to the neighborhood. MIP recently developed the 83rd Street Market in Chatham.
Tom Brashler with Monroe Investment Partners was not available for comment.
Brian Berg, UPB’s communication’s director, stressed that the UPB South Shore branch closure is not a “Dominick’s (grocery stores) moving out of the community” kind of thing.
The decision to close the South Shore Financial center, he said, was based on the potential positive impact from new development at that location, the changing banking landscape with the increasing use of mobile and online banking, and the high cost of operating the distressed 7054 S. Jeffrey building.
“There were eight people working in the 40,000 square-foot building. Even though we’re selling the property we’re still very much invested in the South Shore community,” said Berg. “We intend to continue to have a presence in South Shore after the financial center closes, whether at the new development site or within an alternative option in the neighborhood. And we continue to invest in South Shore by making loans for small businesses, nonprofits and quality housing in the neighborhood. In fact, we just started offering fixed-rate mortgages to help with home purchases in the South Shore community. We think we have a great solution and a win, win for everyone.”
Levoi Brown, Chief Banking Officer at Urban Partnership Bank said, “Commercial lending is the catalyst for urban communities. These funds create development opportunities that lead to new jobs and they transform abandoned and vacant homes into quality, affordable housing. When you do those things, you lay the foundation for a stronger community and create an environment conducive to (generating) additional investment,” added Brown.
UPB announced its upbAnywhere Online/Mobile Banking platform and mobile app that was designed to make banking easier for its customers as Urban Partnership Bank moves away from the big branch model to smaller financial centers.
“The retail banking landscape is changing dramatically, and we have to change with it,” said Brown. “Experts predict the number of consumer interactions through physical branches to fall significantly in the coming years. At Urban Partnership Bank, we’ve already seen a steady decline in teller transactions and customer branch visits over the last few years. This shift requires us to reconfigure our branch structure and focus our approach on other channels, like ATMs, online banking and kiosks that conveniently serve customers in the way they want to be served.”
In light of Dominick’s departure from the area, Urban Partnership Bank feels redevelopment of the bank property is crucial to the community’s long-term success.
Urban Partnership Bank will direct South Shore customers to its new Greater Grand Crossing financial center at 7801 South State Street and other nearby locations in the Kenwood and Chatham neighborhoods.