Skip to Content

Media Release Archive

Self-Help to Acquire Selected Branches of Former Seaway Bank in Chicago

Mar 13, 2017

Contact: David Beck, 919-956-4495,

Chicago, IL — Self-Help Federal Credit Union (Self-Help) has reached an agreement with the State Bank of Texas (SBT) to acquire selected branches and deposits of its recently acquired Seaway Bank, headquartered in Chicago’s South Side.

Once the largest African-American owned bank in the Midwest, Seaway had served communities in south and west Chicago as well as Milwaukee for many years. Financial losses caused by the foreclosure crisis and recent recession led the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to take control of the bank in late January and sell its assets and operations to SBT.

Self-Help now has an agreement with SBT to assume management of a subset of Seaway's branch network and deposits, effective May 1, 2017. While plans for the organization are still under development, Self-Help is committed to preserving Seaway's legacy and continuing its mission. "Seaway built a long history of financial service to families and businesses of modest means. We seek to carry Seaway's torch forward," said Self-Help CEO Martin Eakes.

Self-Help is one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions, with a 36-year history of creating and protecting economic opportunity in communities underserved by traditional financial institutions. Seaway will operate as a division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union and will be led initially by Al Bass, a Self-Help Executive Vice President and former senior executive with two African-American banks in North Carolina. Currently, Self-Help's Second Federal division serves over 12,000 members in the Little Village, Archer Heights, and Cicero communities in Chicago.

"Self-Help's experience of serving people in Chicago's West Side suggests that they will be able to continue Seaway's work of providing banking services in the South Side," said Norman Williams, retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan (ISF Bank). ISF Bank has served African-American communities in Chicago since 1934. "Our neighborhoods were severely impacted by the economic recession, and I hope Self-Help can partner with others in the community to bring about the much-needed recovery."

Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time. The transaction is subject to approval by banking regulators and certain closing conditions, and is expected to close on May 1, 2017.

See below for additional information about Self-Help, Seaway Bank, and the State Bank of Texas.


# # #

About Self-Help

Founded in 1980, Self-Help is a $2 billion community development financial institution, whose mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all.


  • To date, Self-Help has provided over $7 billion in financing to more than 120,000 first-time homebuyers, small businesses, nonprofits, community facilities and schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects. This includes $477 million in loans in the Chicago area.
  • Through its two credit unions and 40+ branches, Self-Help offers a full range of financial products and services to almost 130,000 members in North Carolina, California, Chicago and Florida.
  • Self-Help's Center for Responsible Lending advocates for policy solutions that encourage responsible lending and an end to abusive financial practices.
  • For more information, visit and

About Seaway Bank

Seaway Bank and Trust Company was a Chicago-based community bank serving families, nonprofits and businesses in diverse neighborhoods.

  • The bank was established in 1965 to counter discriminatory lending. Its founders, a group of local businessmen, sold shares door to door throughout the community to raise the $1 million in capital needed to secure a federal bank charter. By the end of its first year, Seaway's assets had climbed to over $5 million. When SBT purchased it in January 2017, Seaway had approximately $361 million in total assets and $307 million in total deposits.
  • Like many other small banks and credit unions, Seaway was forced to close after being hit hard by losses from foreclosures and the housing crash. From 2006 to 2012, home prices in Chicago plunged 39% and have only recovered about half of their value since then.*

About State Bank of Texas

SBT is a full-service commercial bank based in Dallas, Texas that specializes in lending to the hospitality industry.

  • Chan Patel founded the family-owned bank in 1987 to serve the immigrant community, especially those in the hospitality industry.
  • For more information, visit

* Based on S&P Core Logic Case-Shiller Chicago Home Price NSA Index from November 2006 through December 2016, available at


About Self-Help

Self-Help is a leading national community development financial institution headquartered in Durham, NC. Since 1980, Self-Help has provided over $8.5 billion in financing to 150,000 families, individuals and businesses. It helps drive economic development and strengthen communities by providing responsible financial services; lending to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits; developing real estate; and promoting fair financial practices across the nation. Through its credit union network, Self-Help serves over 150,000 people in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit Center for Community Self-Help is the umbrella organization for the Self-Help family of nonprofit organizations, which includes Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Responsible Lending.