South Central Bank was established in 1966 as a community bank servicing the near-south-side area of Chicago. In 1966, after urban renewal changed the original home area of the bank, there was a need for banking services to be re-established in the new community. The new community was primarily a commercial district, many of the old residents had moved elsewhere. It also became the home of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) established in that same year.
The bank has grown beyond a single office in one community. We now have five locations in the near south and near west sides of Chicago, our South Loop main office, plus the West Loop, West Town, Bridgeport, and Chinatown branches. All offices are new and updated, and have been established new in the past ten years or less. All locations feature adequate off-street parking, and four locations have drive-in banking. We are investing for the future.
All five Chicago locations are now among the fastest growing residential, commercial, and industrial areas in Chicago. No areas are more exciting than the South Loop and West Loop, and the other three areas feature expanded real estate and development activity of all sorts. It is an exciting time to be in our part of Chicago.
Because we started as a commercial bank, we have business relationships with more than 1000 small businesses. Many long-term relationships and others have relocated elsewhere, but have maintained their banking with us. With technologies, like remote capture for deposits, ATM networks, and online banking services of all kinds, location is not as critical to many business relationships as it once was.
More than two decades ago, South Central Bank recognized that small and medium sized businesses wanted to earn interest on excess deposits, while making sure the funds were available when needed. Sweep Accounts, with various options, solve many concerns for the larger business depositor.
South Central Bank was one of the first Small Business Administration (SBA) Preferred Lenders in Northern Illinois, enabling the bank to make SBA 7A small business loans with delegated approval authority. We have made SBA loans throughout the years since the bank was formed, and are well-known to the local SBA office as an active participant.
The original ownership of South Central Bank included some same people here today, was very familiar with Home Improvement Lending. Our bank is one of the leading providers of financing for home improvement contractors and their consumer customers in fourteen Midwestern, Mid-South and Middle Atlantic states. The bank is a leading provider of HUD/FHA Title I home improvement financing in our home state, and several adjoining states. In the past, our bank has assisted in the legislative process in the U.S. Congress to foster responsible home improvement lending programs throughout the United States. With the addition of our Remodel Loan Direct program, we now serve directly to homeowners in several states who are remodeling with their own choice of contractors.
The most important part of our history is the continued and consistent financial stability of South Central Bank. On July 1, 2003 our bank, originally state chartered, received a new charter from the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank. Our bank, despite financial upheavals in the economy, has been profitable every year, operating with a fine relationship with our regulators. The bank has always been highly capitalized as defined by regulators, and meets all the standards of the Community Reinvestment Act.
The history of our bank is important to our existing customers, and to new customers. Equally important is the future. Because we see the demand for a wider variety of financial services, and because many of the traditional banking services are so automated, we are devoting more energy and resources to develop other financial products for you. The future for us and for our customers will be providing Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, non-bank Investment products, Casualty Insurance, Personal Life Insurance, and Annuities.