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Ghanaian Company Invests $9M in Failing Black Chicago Bank, Urges Africans and African-Americans to Help One Another

Groupe Ndoum of Ghana which recently acquired a Black-owned Illinois bank. Photo courtesy of

Groupe Ndoum of Ghana recently acquired a Black-owned Illinois bank. Photo courtesy of

A Ghanaian firm stepped in right on time as a Black-owned Bronzeville bank was on the verge of collapsing.

Groupe Nduom of Ghana invested a whopping $9M into the failing Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan Association, now known as ISF Bank, Ghana Web reports. The bank was in search of capital to revive its struggling operations.

“Our mission is to be a viable, growing, community development financial services institution responding innovatively to our primarily underserved and minority constituency with customer service which ensures each customer feels they are our only customer,” the bank’s website reads.

The firm acquired ISF Bank in May, a representative from the financial institution told Atlanta Black Star.

According to Chicago Business, Groupe Nduom of Ghana operates out of West Africa and the United Kingdom, employing over 3,000 people. The firm’s businesses and social enterprises include entities in the tourism, financial services, media, cross border trade, and media industries.

Company president and chairman Dr. Papa Kwesi Ndoum called the ISF Bank acquisition a “major step for Africans,” pointing out the new opportunity for Ghanaians to start businesses in the Black community.

“In the Jewish community, they find a way to help each other, and they have moved on,” Ndoum explained at a town hall meeting of Africans and African-Americans in Chicago. “The Chinese start with little and move on, and the Koreans also come here and move on,” he noted. “So, we have this idea: What is it about African-Americans, Africans, specifically Ghanaians?…. The African has talent, the African-American has talent, the Ghanaian has talent; the problem is a lack of opportunity.”

The company president said he hoped the new acquisition would inspire Africans and African-Americans to work together for their mutual benefit, Ghana Web reports.

The firm presented an award to senior pastor of the Oasis Group of Churches, Rev. Dr. Isaac Paintsil, who was the first Ghanaian to open an account with the bank. Ebenezer Nsiah, president of the Ghana National Council, followed suit, pledging to withdraw $10,000 from the council’s current bank and deposit it into the ISF Bank.

“Our mission is to support businesses in the community, and this bank is a Ghanaian business,” Nsiah said. “If it is successful, it will have an impact on us. This is our opportunity to give support to Ghanaian businesses to be successful in Chicago.”

Outgoing CEO Norman Williams, left, with new chairman Paa Kwesi Nduom. Image courtesy of

Outgoing CEO Norman Williams, left, with new chairman Paa Kwesi Nduom. Image courtesy of

According to Atlanta Black Star, the Black bank has played a vital role in funding Black entrepreneurs, businesses and institutions, as well as sustaining the Black community and individuals in tough times. For example, the Freedman’s Savings and Trust company, established by Congress following the Civil War, was created to help newly emancipated Blacks.

Black-owned banks were also crucial during the Jim Crow era, as African-American communities across the country struggled to achieve economic growth and development, ABS reports. The Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Black Wall Street, is one of few examples of African-American communities that achieved economic success.

Between 1888 and 1934, there were over 130 Black-owned banks in the U.S., according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That number plummeted to 48 in 2001, with only 22 remaining today.

Noting past efforts to form partnerships that would foster progress for Black people, activist and president of the Metro Area Black Trade Council, Rev. Dr. Al Sampson, called for renewed efforts to create businesses and organizations that link African-Americans, Ghana Web reports.

The longtime reverend likened the new bank’s efforts to link Africans and African-Americans to the 1957 meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and first president of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

According to Joy Online, ISF’s former Chairman and CEO, Norman J. Williams, happily welcomed the bank’s new proprietors.

“This marks a new chapter in the life of the bank, which will enable it to sustain the rigors of financial stress that have plagued many communities in Chicago and continue to provide much-needed banking services and access to credit,” Williams said. “Given the current climate in our country, the bank is needed more than ever to provide financial services and drive redevelopment in our market.”

According to the bank’s website, the new main office is located at 4619 S. King Drive Chicago, IL 60653.

What people are saying

18 thoughts on “Ghanaian Company Invests $9M in Failing Black Chicago Bank, Urges Africans and African-Americans to Help One Another

  1. Shawn Mc says:

    9 million is pennes for a bank, the company will liqudate the bank in the near future

  2. Yaw'll are Africans first then Americans right? So come back to Africa and make Africa great again!

  3. Steven Lemon says:

    Teshna Brown My goodness! Such vitriol towards someone you don't know and who makes a valid point. If $9M is all it takes to acqire a bank, one SHOULD wonder how long it will stay afloat. How it turns out is how they run it, and if they keep present management, us "house Negroes" will have a better argument than you do.

  4. Steven Lemon says:

    Well, I never been to Africa, but I'm an American first.

  5. Steven Lemon says:

    Why do thees folks keep reporting there are 22 Black owned banks in the U.S.? There have not been that many for years and the list just got smaller. The latest list I saw did not reflect the fact that

    Covenant Bank of Chicago 02/15/2013 Taken by Black owned bank
    First Tuskegee Bank 03/16/2016 Taken by Black owned bank

    NORTH MILWAUKEE STATE BANK March 11, 2016 Taken by Whtie Owned Bank
    Capitol City Bank and Trust February 13, 2015 Taken by Whtie Owned Bank
    Highland Community Bank January 23, 2015 Taken by Whtie Owned Bank

    Axiom Bank (Savings and Loan) not a bank but listed anyway
    CITIZENS TRUST BANK Not previously included on any list
    CITY NB OF NEW JERSEY Not previously included on any list

    So, MY revised list has One S&L and sixteen banks.
    LIBERTY BANK & TRUST COMPANY, after taking over First Tuskegee and Covenant Bank, leapfrogged OneUnited Bank as the Black owned bank with the most assets.

    I previously reported that only two Blckowned banks offered stoc to the public, but my research last night turned up a cople more that MAY have stock for sale.

    I fired off an inquiry last night requesting information but thus far I have not received a repsnse from either of them.

  6. Steven Lemon I'm human and black first, son, brother, uncle, but not an African depsite my genetics and not an American despite my country of origin. I see no reason to be loyal to the US. That's just me, though.

  7. I'm an African who happens to be in America. Regardless of being borned in America. I plan on visiting Africa soon. It'll be my first trip out of America

  8. With all the weath of knowledge and expertise gathered since the 16th century, I think African Men and Woman especially in America has a destiny that is still yet to be fulfilled. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I believe that finding your identity and returning to your Motherland will become more and more popular. Africa needs you

  9. Kam Koro says:

    9M dollars is the amount invested in the bank not to acuire the bank buddies. 9M is enough to get bank opperations running especially for community based banks, microcredit,…

  10. Kam Koro says:

    It doesn't matter whether taken by Whites as long as it still serves the interests of the black community.

  11. Shawn Mc says:

    Kam Koro for how long ?

  12. I am a bit surprised at the negative comments. But then….

  13. Raven Venus says:

    Doing something is better than doing NOTHING. Don't let fear paralyze you with inaction

  14. Raven Venus says:

    Shawn Mc You read where it says Asians started with little then moved on? That's what they're trying to do!

  15. Steven Lemon says:

    Kam Koro Agre 100%, but why call it a BLACK OWENDBANK?

  16. Steven Lemon says:

    Teshna Brown You have got some nerve, calling ME names when You probably have to keep your job as "Founder & CEO at Self-Employed" with government assistance (AKA welfare).

  17. Steven Lemon says:

    Michael Mancow McCluskey If you know a better place, let us all know. Meanwhile, I'm good.

  18. Steven Lemon says:

    Jumannah Abrahams But I also have Native American ancestors. Can I have two motherlands or is it more important where you are going than where you never were?

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