A newly renovated South Shore branch of JP Morgan Chase Bank opened Thursday with a renewed commitment to improving racial equity.
The refurbished building on 6650 S. Stony Island Ave. is the first of over 300 in the Chicago area to feature a new, community-inspired model that offers free resources like skills training to local residents and financial support for Black and Latino entrepreneurs.
Minority-owned suppliers and contractors were hired from across the city to work on rebuilding the branch, said Lawrence Bailey, Chase’s head of community and business development. The company’s $30 billion “Path Forward” builds on existing investments to grow Black and Latino-owned small businesses and address the country’s existing racial wealth gap.
“We are doing work in the community with people from the community, and that was intentional,” Bailey said. “This is the first step — a big step — for us to take that journey to really make a lasting impact in this community.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the remodeled South Shore bank office will allow the city to ensure all residents have access to the capital and resources necessary to build wealth, no matter their circumstances. Communities like South Shore, she said, are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to systemic inequities like the lack of access to credit, capital and homeownership.
The bank’s redesign builds upon the city’s “Together We Rise” initiative, which Lightfoot said aims to rebuild the economic foundations of communities hit hardest by COVID-19 and ensure they receive the necessary resources to not just recover, but thrive.
“If we are truly to become a more equitable and prosperous Chicago, we must seize this moment as an opportunity to foster inclusive economic growth across our city, especially in those areas that need it most,” Lightfoot said.