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Urban Partnership Bank receives federal funds to spur urban economic development

Chicago-based Urban Partnership Bank is looking forward to continuing its mission of spurring economic development in blighted neighborhoods with the help of a federal Bank Enterprise Award announced earlier this month.

UPB announced it had been selected to receive a $355,000 Bank Enterprise Award from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund this October, The Chicago Citizen reported. Officials at that time said the bank had issued 243 loans totaling over $200 million since 2012. Those loans had helped create approximately 2,400 new jobs.

Levoi Brown, chief banking officer with UPB, told the Daily Whale on Thursday that the bank places its borrowers into three categories of community influencers – commercial real estate developers, small business owners and nonprofits. The bank primarily issues loans to entities on the city’s South and West sides, but it has lent to some borrowers in the suburbs and Detroit.

“The most precious commodity that currently does not exist in a lot of our communities is capital,” Brown said. “We use debt capital to fill the void to ultimately provide jobs, provide housing and improve the overall quality-of-life in these areas.”

Brian Berg, Urban Partnership’s director of corporate communications and marketing, said UPB has been particularly focused on helping to revitalize real estate on Chicago’s South and West sides, which include some of the neighborhoods most adversely affected by the housing crisis of 2008.

“When people drive down the street and they see somebody working on a home, they say, ‘People are invested here,’” he said. “That typically spurs additional investment.”

UPB is set to receive proceeds from the award on Jan. 1.

-Tom Butala