Billionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is making a $1 million deposit in Chicago’s last remaining Black owned bank.
As we reported earlier this year, Chicago’s Seaway Bank & Trust failed, leaving Illinois Service Federal Savings as the last Black owned bank left in Chicago.
Pritzker hinted towards the investment earlier this week during a radio interview and his campaign team confirmed shortly after, saying the deposit is part of Pritzker’s commitment to improve economic conditions in hard hit communities and neighborhoods.
“J.B. has made expanding access to capital for small business and entrepreneurs, and making investments in the communities hardest hit by Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership and manufactured budget crisis a top priority for him as governor,” a spokesman said in an email.
Not the first $1 million deposit at a Black Bank
Pritzker’s idea isn’t original though. He’s actually doing what his opponent already did years ago.
In 2014, Bruce Rauner, a then Republican candidate for governor, deposited $1 million in a South Side credit union.
“I would have done what we’ve done today irrespective of the campaign,” Rauner said at the time.
The Pritzker campaign says the deposit is “part of a broader effort to revitalize minority neighborhoods.”
Others say $1 million is nothing a man who made hundreds of millions as part of the leadership at Superior Bank, a subprime mortgage and auto loan provider that eventually failed during the 2008 financial crisis.
The bank was described as “One of the nation’s largest bank failures in a decade.”
A former small business owner remembers waiting outside one of the bank’s branches the week after its closing with dozens of other depositors worried about their money.
“It looked like a soup kitchen,” he said. “And the Pritzkers made money on the deal.”
So, how do we feel about this deposit now? Is it a ploy to buy favor from Black voters?
My hope and prayer is that somehow there will actually be families and business owners that benefit for this. Hopefully, among them will be those who got shafted during the 2008 financial crisis.