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Covenant Financial institution’s trail to failure – Woodland Park Overview



Woodland Park Overview
A hyperlocal information website online dedicated to in-depth reporting on problems regarding Woodland Park, Illinois.
On Feb. 15, the FDIC seized and closed Lawndale’s Covenant Financial institution – a small neighborhood financial institution with large ties to Woodland Park. The failure of the financial institution itself isn’t peculiar. Round 40 neighborhood banks within the Chicago house have failed previously few years.
What’s distinctive about Covenant, whose director and CEO was once Woodland Park mega-church pastor Rev. Invoice Winston, is the collection of traders who’ve been burnt up — round 3,000 shareholders to be precise. Many are individuals of Winston’s Residing Phrase Christian Church, in addition to Woodland Park citizens.
Winston despatched out a letter to shareholders on March 28 clarifying that percentage values have been nugatory.
“Regrettably all of our stocks, together with mine, at the moment don’t have any price ($0),” he wrote.
The entire financial institution’s insured depositors have been coated below $2.1 million of depositor’s insurance coverage, in line with the FDIC. The financial institution reopened on Feb. 16 as a department of New Orleans-based Liberty Financial institution and Agree with Corporate, which assumed all the deposits.
“A regular neighborhood financial institution has a bunch of commercial folks locally they usually make investments better quantities,” stated Chicago Banking Lawyer James Hannon of Gozdecki Del Guidice Americus Farkas, LLP.
“In most cases there are between 100 and 150 traders, they usually’re refined folks, they perceive the dangers,” Hannon stated.
He advised Crain’s Chicago Industry ultimate 12 months that Covenant Financial institution’s capitalization scheme “out of the field.”
“We’re speaking investments of $1000-$5,000,” Hannon stated. “To a large number of the ones folks that was once a vital sum of money, their financial savings, or nest egg or no matter you wish to have to name it.”
On the financial institution’s inception, traders may purchase no less than 100 stocks of commonplace inventory at $10 in step with percentage, or $1,000, defined Kim Clay, a spokesperson for Residing Phrase.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (seventh) was once one of the crucial financial institution’s early traders and a depositor.
“I’ve been seeking to save that financial institution for the previous 30 years,” Davis stated of the financial institution that started within the overdue ’70s as Neighborhood Financial institution in Lawndale. “It was once owned by way of the neighborhood. It was once probably the most distinctive banks since the neighborhood if truth be told owned it.”
Davis was once a supporter for the reason that financial institution was once began by way of Cecil Butler of Pyramid West Construction Company, the use of cash financed by way of the feds when a construction undertaking alongside Roosevelt Highway fell via. Butler were given permission to make use of the cash to begin a financial institution for the world, Davis recalled.
“I began the use of that financial institution [through its various incarnations] from the day it was once began,” Davis stated. “I’ve watched it have its difficulties and issues.”
The financial institution over time has modified management and team of workers. At one time, one of the crucial financial institution’s principals was once Michael W. Scott, former Chicago Board of Schooling president and a pal of Davis.’ Scott dedicated suicide in 2009.
A bunch of international traders owned the financial institution by the point Winston purchased it in 2008.
Davis had hope when Winston in the long run bought the financial institution, which he known as “the delight of the world.”
“I’m an investor,” he stated. “My spouse (Vera) and I purchased $2,000 value of stocks. I used to be very excited and likewise very hopeful. It was once an idea extra than simply an funding. I imagine strongly in neighborhood and folks coming in combination in team spirit seeking to do issues in combination.”
However the world financial system was once about to bitter, leaving residential construction loans in a poisonous state.
Maintaining corporate Covenant Bancshares, Inc. purchased the sick Lawndale Neighborhood Financial institution in March 2008 for $3.1 million by way of investments from 3,002 shareholders. No less than part the traders have been amongst Residing Phrase’s congregation, in line with Safety Trade Fee paperwork.
The financial institution couldn’t have began at a worse time, Hannon stated, with an international monetary meltdown only some months away following the financial institution’s acquire.
Covenant administrators made a number of missteps, together with lending quite a lot of rehab loans to house owners of multi-unit structures at the West Aspect because the housing crash started — loans that quickly defaulted.
“That’s why such a lot of neighborhood banks failed,” Hannon stated. “The marketplace was once in line with the true property type — actual property lending and construction lending. No one did the rest flawed; the financial system simply became on them.”
As the true property crash happened, local people banks were given every other blow.
New state banking accounting regulations went into impact, requiring distressed houses’ mortgages issued to be written down within the financial institution’s accounting to mirror truthful marketplace price. This harm Covenant and plenty of different Illinois-chartered banks. Covenant Bancshares didn’t have the capital to take in those losses.
Because the financial institution’s woes endured, Covenant’s Board of Administrators and best team of workers started to surrender. In 2010, John L. Sorensen, Jr., president and CEO of the Corporate and Senior Mortgage Officer for the financial institution, resigned. Winston then stepped in as intervening time CEO. Director Addie Husbands surrender each the financial institution and protecting corporate in February of 2012.
SEC paperwork filed days ahead of the financial institution was once seized display the financial institution’s auditors, McGladrey and Pullen, additionally withdrew their services and products.
On the time of the seizure, the financial institution’s board individuals integrated Winston and President Belinda Whitfield, who additionally works for Residing Phrase Christian Church. Different individuals integrated Director Jay C. Plourde, a New York founded financier, and CFO Herman L. Davis, who additionally served as treasurer/secretary for the board. Consistent with the SEC, the financial institution hired 25 folks.
Newly-published SEC paperwork expose the financial institution’s downward slide into failure.
Because the financial institution stumbled, Winston himself attempted to prop it up with loans and by way of purchasing stocks of the financial institution protecting corporate, Covenant Bancshares.
Consistent with the SEC, in December 2010, the financial institution crafted the primary of 2 unsecured, year-long debenture loans from Winston to the financial institution. The senior convertible be aware for kind of $230,000 earned 8 % hobby and may well be paid pack in stocks at 1.5 instances the truthful marketplace price. Winston made every other 8 % mortgage to the financial institution in March 2012 for $335,000.
In April of 2011, the financial institution offered $350,000 value of stocks to Woodland Plaza, LLC, an organization managed by way of Winston that owns the Woodland Park Mall. The ones stocks too have been burnt up in February.
In June of 2011, the financial institution was once issued a “Consent Order” from the FDIC and the Illinois Division of Monetary and Skilled Law. The feds and Illinois division demanded that the Covenant board rent an “impartial 3rd birthday celebration” advisor inside of 60 days to evaluate the potential of the financial institution’s control. The order additionally demanded that the board grasp conferences no less than per month and broaden “good enough inside routines and controls” to run the financial institution.
The Consent Order additionally gave Covenant a harder job: carry to no less than 9 % the “capital ratio” quantity of Tier 1 price range to be had to hide losses. The volume required was once over $3 million.
Winston in my opinion started to shop for stocks of the ailing-bank’s shares. On June 30, 2011 he purchased $150,000 value of most well-liked inventory. In October 2011 he purchased $50,000 value of stocks. The next 12 months, he purchased $50,000 value, and in August of 2012 but every other $75,000. That November, Winston injected some $775,000 into the financial institution — all now burnt up by way of the financial institution’s failure. All advised, Winston purchased or managed $1,450,000 value of inventory, and held about $565,000 of unsecured loans made to the financial institution.
Covenant Bancshares was once notified by way of the Illinois division on Aug. 28, 2012 to extend its Tier 1 leverage capital ratio not to not up to 5 %. As of Sept. 30, 2012, the financial institution’s reported Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was once 1.19 %. The financial institution was once suggested below a Stop and Desist order to make no additional uninsured loans.
On Nov. 6, 2012, the FDIC issued a “Instructed Corrective Motion (PAC),” announcing the financial institution was once “seriously undercapitalized.” The federal company demanded the financial institution to boost capital ratio price range, or make itself to be had to be received by way of every other financial institution. The corporate injected $775,000 into the financial institution, in line with SEC information.
However it was once now not sufficient.
In overdue November, State Rep. LaShawn Ford attempted to lend a hand. Despite the fact that indicted by way of the feds himself overdue ultimate 12 months for alleged financial institution fraud, Ford requested the Common Meeting to offer Covenant Financial institution extra time to boost capital. The request, alternatively, was once now not a success.
In February-filed SEC paperwork, the corporate stated that it “did not broaden good enough inside routines and controls to permit proper knowledge to go with the flow between the administrators, board and staff and to correctly fill out paperwork required by way of the SEC.”
The financial institution was once then seized and its belongings offered to Liberty Financial institution and Agree with on Feb. 15.
Nonetheless, Winston believes the financial institution was once a good fortune. In his March letter to shareholders, he issues out that the financial institution “earned the accept as true with and trade of 75 % of the North Lawndale deposit marketplace.” The financial institution, he added, supplied greater than $16 million in financing for roughly 130 low-income house owners, in addition to labored with debtors to stay houses from being foreclosed. Covenant created payday mortgage choices for “suffering debtors in order that they wouldn’t have to choose from striking meals at the desk or paying again predatory loans,” Winston said.
The financial institution won 4 Financial institution Endeavor awards between 2008-2011, from the Neighborhood Construction Monetary Establishments (CDFI) fund of the Federal Treasury Dept.
“It was once concerning the imaginative and prescient,” Residing Phrase spokesperson Kim Clay, stated. “With any funding there’s possibility concerned.”
“Obviously, the aim of beginning the financial institution was once to do excellent,” Clay added. “Pastor stated he sought after to lend a hand city spaces which are experiencing financial hardship, to revitalize the ones communities. That was once the imaginative and prescient of getting a financial institution and beginning a financial institution…Rev. Winston continues to be hooked in to that imaginative and prescient.”
Congressman Danny Davis agreed.
“I feel [Winston] will proceed his efforts to be a spiritual non secular chief and do financial excellent,” Davis stated.
Covenant Financial institution shareholder letter by way of wednesdayjournal
Jean Lotus loves neighborhood journalism. She covers information, options, two faculty forums, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Woodland Park Overview. She additionally covers the police beat for…


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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother




The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God




The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement




The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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