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Austin Residents Struggle as Businesses Leave the Community

Just a few banking options are scattered across the city’s most-populated community area, and after next week, Austin residents will

5610 W. Lake St. Chicago, IL 60644 773-287-7658
5610 W. Lake St., Chicago (Wikipedia)

have one less if a branch that’s closing its doors doesn’t relocate within the West Side community.

The U.S. Bank office at 4909 W. Division St. is slated to close Nov. 16, and while a spokeswoman says they’re looking for a new location in Austin, the news has caused quite a stir among leaders already struggling to keep businesses in the economically-disadvantaged community.

“I’m definitely concerned about them leaving,” Robbie Wilkerson, executive director of the Leaders Network told AustinTalks. “They leave a tremendous void in our community.”

The news of the bank’s closing came just as Wilkerson said community members and leaders have been working on a plan to replace another important West Side business. The Austin YMCA closed its doors early last month.

Like the lack of easy access to banking, community centers

and youth programs are desperately needed in Austin, Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), told AustinTalks last month.

“There’s too many kids on the street,” Mitts said during an interview to discuss the community’s greatest challenges.

In July, Crain’s Chicago reported the neighborhood’s difficulties keeping businesses due to crime and violence.

When Mitts learned U.S. Bank would be the next business to go, she was angry its owners didn’t tell her the news, and in a story by WBEZ last month, she accused them of ‘redlining’ the community.

“The money is good but they don’t want to be in the neighborhood,” she told WBEZ reporter Chip Mitchell. “That’s redlining.”

Click here to read more about the bank’s closing at our sister site, AustinTalks.



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