Takeover Of Independence Bank - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

The days of Independence Federal Savings Bank (No. 14 on the BE BANKS list with $161 million in assets) as one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks may be numbered. Morton Bender, a white shareholder who now owns 21% of the historically black institution, has received authority to acquire as much as 51%.
The Office of Thrift Supervision ruled in favor of Bender’s takeover of Independence in March.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stated that the bank’s former management team violated securities laws and the institution’s bylaws. By the end of the proceedings the president and several board members had resigned, including two heirs of founder William Fitzgerald III. They were unavailable for comment.
Since Bender’s victory, the board now consists of three African Americans, one of whom serves as chair; a Hispanic male; a white woman; and two white men. The current management team–the CEO, CFO, vice president of operations, and senior vice president–are all African American. Currently, Bender does not serve on the board.

Independence was founded in 1968 and went public in 1985. As defined by the OTS, the minority status of a publicly traded bank is not automatically lost when its stockholders are not 51% (or more) minority. The FDIC designation requires that 51% or more of the voting stock in the bank be owned by minority individuals or that the majority of the bank’s directors are members of minority groups and the community served must be predominantly minority.

“Independence Federal Savings Bank will remain a minority institution,” promised Bender.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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