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Seaway Bank Marks 50th Anniversary

Deborah Bayliss | 1/7/2015, 4:24 p.m.
Seaway Bank and Trust Company, Chicago’s largest African-American owned bank, marked the New Year with its 50th anniversary celebration that ...
(L-R) Eli H. Washington, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chesterfield Community Council and Veranda L. Dickens, chair of Seaway Bank’s Board of Directors– this organization has been with Seaway since 1965. Seaway Bank celebrates its 50th Anniversary this month.

Seaway Bank and Trust Company, Chicago’s largest African-American owned bank, marked the New Year with its 50th anniversary celebration that included customers, city officials and other supporters who gathered at the bank’s 645 E. 87th Street location on Friday.

Veranda L. Dickens, chair of the board, thanked the customers, many whom have been with the bank since its early days.

“This obviously would not be possible if it were not for you – the customers,” said Dickens, who was elected chair following the death of her husband, Jacoby Dickens, in 2013.

Seaway Bank and Trust Company serves families, nonprofits and businesses in diverse neighborhoods and was established in 1965 to counter discriminatory lending practices and today has more than $500 million in assets and 250 employees.

The bank originally opened at 8555 South Cottage Grove in 1965, operating there until its headquarters was completed at the current site on East 87th Street.

Bank officials announced the start of an anniversary raffle for $500 to be held each month.

While much of the celebration reflected on the institution’s rich history, Dickens and other leaders stressed the importance of the bank’s strong and bright future.

“It’s not so much about the last 50 years. It’s about the next 50 years,” Dickens said.

“The number of minority-owned banks in this country is dwindling, but I can assure that that is not going to happen to Seaway Bank. Seaway Bank will be here another 50 years and beyond.”

One of Seaway Bank’s many supporters, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, (6th Ward) was on hand for the celebration event.

“This is a Black-owned bank. We need to support our Black-owned and women-owned institutions, so that we maintain what we have and expand it,” Sawyer said.

With the expansion of Seaway, Sawyer said he hopes to see more access to capital for emerging community businesses.

Darrell B. Jackson, Seaway Bank’s President & CEO, said Seaway will launch new products and services in the coming months to service its current group of aging customers and expand its base.

“We’ll be offering more products for those who are in retirement, and we will also be enhancing access through technology,” Jackson said. “I am so honored to be here to help us go forward into the next 50 years,” he said. “I look forward to you all continuing to go with us on the journey. We don’t forget about you who brought us to where we are today.”

Nona McCall was among the many customers assembled for the commemoration on Friday. She and her husband became Seaway customers in 1965.

“I appreciate being among the first,” McCall said. “I’ve been a customer all these years, and I am happy to be here.”