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Wintrust Bank NLEN Branch

Wintrust Bank, NA (Winner) - Chicago, IL

2022 Community Committment Awards Submission

  • Economic Inclusion
  • Asset Size: Medium

As bank branches close and banking business becomes more digital, Wintrust pursues a unique partnership with the community to open a sustainable branch expanding access to needed financial services. The Wintrust Bank – North Lawndale branch opened in 2021 in collaboration with the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN). NLEN assists North Lawndale residents through innovative employment initiatives that lead to economic advancement and an improved quality of life. Through the NLEN Board involvement of Anthony Scott, Wintrust SVP, Wintrust Bank became aware that NLEN was opening a new multi-use facility on Chicago's West Side. Initially the Bank planned on putting an ATM in the building to serve the residents of the low income North Lawndale neighborhood. As the project developed, Wintrust saw a unique opportunity to make a major impact in the community and partnered with NLEN to open a full service branch in their new facility.

NLEN is able to leverage the onsite resources of the North Lawndale branch to pursue its critical work in the community. Additionally, as a tenant of the building, the Bank acts as a stabilizing agent that is providing revenue for the organization in the form of lease payments to NLEN. The partnership, dating back to 2018, also supports the co-facilitation of MoneySmart Money Management courses with the NLEN Financial Opportunity Center. These sessions cover topics such as financial services and products, budgeting, credit, and protecting against identity theft. Additional financial education workshops conducted through this partnership include sessions on improving and rebuilding credit, preparing to buy a home, retirement basics, and becoming a business owner. The web address below leads to a video summarizing the branch partnership.