Union-established bank celebrates 100th anniversary

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago launched by clothing workers union in 1922 to meet workers’ banking needs

OPENING DAY – July 1, 1922 the first union bank in America opens its offices in Chicago. Originally known as the Amalgamated Trust and Savings Bank, today the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago provides a wide range of financial services to unions and union members across America. – Amalgamated Bank photo

One hundred years ago, unionized workers did not have ready access to traditional banking and financial services.

In the early 1920s, famed Labor organizer, Sidney Hillman – along with other leaders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (now known as Workers United) – decided that it was time that hardworking individuals and their family members were able to gain access to the same quality and affordable banking services that wealthy individuals and big businesses enjoyed.

To that end, in 1922 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union formed one of the country’s first union banks – Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC).

Also in 1922, ABOC took out its first newspaper advertisement identifying the Bank as “Chicago’s Labor Bank” and highlighting its ownership by the members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union which further showcased the Bank’s strong ties with the working community.

This year, ABOC is celebrating 100 years of continuous service in assisting working people and union members while meeting their union’s financial needs.

With significant union ownership to this day, ABOC remains one of only a handful of U.S. banks dedicated to the Labor community. Today the Bank has a branch in Chicago’s financial district on LaSalle Street, as well as in Warrenville, Ill. Just as in 1922, ABOC is here to help serve the unique financial needs of the Labor community and their families.

While ABOC has deep roots in the Chicago Labor community, the Bank also wanted to foster a relationship with the strong St. Louis labor community.

As a result, in 2004 ABOC formed the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Labor Advisory Committee of St. Louis. The St. Louis Advisory Committee is comprised of St. Louis Labor leaders that provide ongoing ideas and feedback with respect to products and services designed to best support the St. Louis Labor community and beyond.

ABOC offers its union customers support by way of the ABOC’s Union Advantage Program, which provides a wide array of deposit services specially designed for union members including Union Economy Checking and Union Exclusive Savings Accounts. Union Advantage Members can quickly and easily open checking and savings accounts and can conveniently make withdrawals from thousands of ATMs around the country. Union members can also automatically deposit paychecks and receive competitive rates on auto loans.

In addition to traditional banking services, ABOC is committed to providing practical banking solutions and financial tools for union workers through the ABOC Financial Literacy Program.

Statistics show that 76 percent of U.S. adults live paycheck-to-paycheck and that one-third of those individuals are distracted by their financial situations at work. ABOC recognizes that the more secure a person is in their finances, the safer they will be on the job site.

Financial literacy is key to building a strong financial core. ABOC works with assisting customers to gain a solid understanding of important financial concepts around mortgages, higher education financing, overdrafts, credit card terms, building and maintaining strong credit scores, and much more.

ABOC is pleased to provide financial literacy services free of charge and is always seeking new ways to support union needs.

As ABOC enters its second century of service and looks to the future, the Bank is excited to continue its long tradition of assisting with the financial needs of union members and their unions, both in ABOC’s Midwestern roots and beyond.

ABOC President Jim Landenberger, states, “We are excited to be growing and expanding our services beyond the Chicagoland area.” Amalgamated Bank of Chicago is honored to share a rich history with its union and public fund clients and is grateful to have the opportunity to continue providing quality products and services.



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