Goldman Sachs, others race to save ShoreBank

Posted May 12, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.

By Becky Yerak | ShoreBank, the ailing South Side bank, continues to try to raise more than $120 million in capital on its own from new and existing investors, sources familiar with the situation said.

Regulators recently began looking for a healthy buyer for the undercapitalized Chicago-based lender, but it’s racing against the clock to try to raise money to remain independent.

Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, Citibank and State Farm are among the new investors that have made tentative commitments.

Citi and Goldman in particular have expressed a willingness to make significant commitments, kicking in at least $10 million apiece. Goldman Sachs, which has come under national criticism for its business practices leading up to the financial meltdown, might be willing to step up with at least $20 million, a source familiar with the talks said.

Existing investors such as Chase and Bank of America, as well as charitable foundations, also are weighing additional investments.

About 20 companies and foundations have been approached about investing, and a handful, including Goldman and Citi, are expected to be senior investors. Wells Fargo also is considering an investment.

ShoreBank has been trying to raise at least $200 million. It would be eligible for some TARP money if it’s able to raise private capital.

“ShoreBank is continuing in its efforts to raise capital,” company spokesman Brian Berg said. He declined to be more specific.

ShoreBank’s capital deficiency worsened in the first quarter, and the Chicago-based lender to hard-hit areas now needs to raise at least $179 million to meet targets set out in March by state and U.S. banking regulators.

But the talks could unravel for a variety of reasons.

One stumbling block to the negotiations with potential investors has been the size of the capital hole; investors want to take care of the problem once, and not continually be asked to help plug capital holes.

Another potential roadblock is the impact of the capital infusion on existing preferred shareholders, including some state entities, who will be asked to convert their stakes to equity. If the bank is seized by regulators, however, they’d get nothing.

Finally, ShoreBank is up against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s timetable for raising capital.

In late April, the FDIC began accepting bids for ShoreBank, encouraging those interested in Midwest Bank & Trust — a more desirable franchise — to also bid on ShoreBank.

As of last week, at least 10 parties had submitted bids to the FDIC for Midwest Bank.

The possible linking of Midwest and ShoreBank has complicated the bidding, giving the edge to larger banks that could more easily digest both institutions. If ShoreBank raises money on its own and avoids being seized, Chicago’s mid-sized banks could stand a better chance to get Midwest Bank. The bid deadline for Midwest had been today.


One comment:

  1. JOHN C May 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Save obama’s bank or else you might say