Urban Partnership Bank: Making a difference in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit


Let’s face it every bank in the country says that they make a difference in their local community. You could even say that, to a degree, this is true. Ever since Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977,  every bank is expected to help borrowers at all income levels in their local communities.


But there is a big difference between complying minimally with the regulations set forth by regulators (including the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC and OTS) and making community involvement a core mission central to a bank’s philosophy.


We found one bank that takes community involvement very seriously and backs it up in three major metropolitan cities.


Urban Partnership Bank is an FDIC-insured, full-service community development bank that was chartered in August of 2010.  It has $1.4 billion assets and the bank has stated that they have a singular focus:  “to build vibrant urban neighborhoods and to promote economic and environmental sustainability in urban neighborhoods of Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, and Detroit, MI.”


Brian Berg is the Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications at Urban Partnership Bank . He outlined to Green Bank Report the bank’s unwavering commitment to the local communities where the bank has branches. He also talked about an exciting new concept being developed at Urban Partnership Bank. One of the goals of the bank is to create new micro branches that will help bring banking to the underbanked and young adults who are just entering the workforce. Micro branches will be able to handle all the financial and technological needs of customers in a more efficient manner. Instead of having to drive to a nearby branch, micro branches will be positioned at strategic locations to help commuters bank on the way to or from work. The micro branches will also be less intimidating than typical bank branches, but will have more service options than ATM machines.


In March, Urban Partnership Bank announced plans too open new retail micro branches in Chicago’s Loop and Austin neighborhoods.  Look for more announcement in the near future of new micro branches in Detroit and Cleveland. By placing a micro branch in a high-traffic area in a less intimidating environment, the bank hopes to attract new customers who may be using non-bank alternatives right now.




The goal of bringing the underbanked segment into the banking industry could have a big impact. Today, millions of Americans who fell on hard times during the economic recession  forced to use expensive and inefficient non-banking services to transfer money. Those non-banking alternatives can include:


  • Payday lending
  • Pawn shops
  • Check cashing companies
  • Money orders
  • Auto title loans


Interest rates and service fees are astronomical for many of these service. For the unwary, the services can also border on predatory.


By creating visible micro branches in urban settings it is possible to bring a higher percentage of the population towards traditional banking services that can build credit and restore confidence quicker. This mission of Urban Partnership Bank is an important one. Taxpayers can end up bearing much of the cost of keeping the underbanked in economic distress. The more people brought into the banking system, and away from expensive non-banking alternatives, the better we will all be.


If you live in Chicago, Cleveland or Detroit you can easily bank with Urban Partnership Bank and support their mission. If you live elsewhere and want to bank with a socially responsible bank, you can still be part of the mission. Urban Partnership Bank offers a very attractive money market account that is available online.  The money market rate even comes with a 3-month guarantee. Keeping money at a high-yielding money market account at a socially-progressive bank is a great way to bank green.




Urban Partnership Bank: Guaranteed money market special


  • Minimum opening deposit of $10,000 required to earn the promotional rate of 1.00% APY.
  • Guaranteed bonus rate of 1.00% APY for 3 months
  • Balances between $0 to $2,499 earn 0.15% APY,
  • balances between $2,500 to $9,999 earn 0.40% APY,
  • Balances between $10,000 to $49,999 at 0.65% APY,
  • Balances between $50,000 to$99,999 earn 1.00% APY
  • Balances over $100,000 earn 1.00% APY
  • Accounts FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor.




2 Responses to “Urban Partnership Bank: Making a difference in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit”
  1. Amy says:

    Are the branches in Chicago downtown? What street?

  2. Stephen says:


    According to their website, one new branch will be a 55 E Jackson. That should be near Wabash

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