Our Union Heritage

Founded in 1922 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (now known as UNITE HERE), Amalgamated Bank of Chicago has always been dedicated to serving America's working people. Though times have changed, Amalgamated's original vision has not. The union heritage continues. As Amalgamated Bank changes and grows, we offer new and innovative banking products and services to better serve our customers - unions and union members in Chicago and across the nation. In furtherance of our growth, we established in 2007 a full service branch facility in Warrenville, Illinois to better service the banking and trust needs of unions and their members located in DuPage County.

Providing personalized service and financial solutions to working men and women is as much a part of our philosophy today as it was in 1922. This commitment to labor is shared by our employees, who to this day are still represented by UNITE HERE.

Amalgamated Bank, with significant union ownership, remains one of only a handful of U.S. banks devoted to the labor community. Pride in our union heritage is even reflected in the union label on our checks and other bank literature.

Our history and heritage have given us deep roots as a full-service American-owned, union bank. We get to know our customers thoroughly - we established Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Labor Councils (ABLCs) in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri to develop and exchange information to improve financial services for labor unions and their members. As a result, we continually learn about our customers' needs, then tailor products and services to best serve those needs. It is a simple, honest, straightforward approach - one that has worked well for our customers.

Historical Perspective

To truly appreciate Amalgamated Bank of Chicago's union heritage, it is important to understand the historical context of our founding in 1922. Banking at that time was primarily devoted to serving the needs of the well-to-do. Working people and others of more modest means were largely ignored by big city financial institutions. Union workers were simply unable to take advantage of even the most basic banking services. The average worker and small business person were at the mercy of loan sharks who charged exorbitant interest rates. Unions went begging when a strike or organizing drive required extra funds.

The original union founders of Amalgamated Bank set out to change Chicago's banking scene. The goal was simple: create a union-owned bank to serve the financial needs of union people.

Amalgamated Bank was revolutionary. For the first time, union workers and their families had access to banking services. At a time when only the rich purchased autos (strictly for cash), Amalgamated Bank was the first to create low-cost automobile financing for working people.

When only the affluent had checking accounts and paid their bills with checks, Amalgamated Bank was the first to create no-minimum-balance low-cost checking accounts. When only businessmen borrowed money, Amalgamated Bank was the first to offer "character" loans - small loans to individuals with only their "good name" as collateral. Before the creation of equal opportunity for all, Amalgamated Bank led the way by opening staff positions and naming officers from ethnic minority groups.

Creating a bank for union workers was, at the time, a daring experiment. But today, with assets in excess of $600 million, Amalgamated Bank is proof that a financial institution founded upon a strong socially-conscious business philosophy can thrive in its community. Even during the depression, Amalgamated Bank remained firm and unshakeable, receiving an A-1 rating from the government after the bank holiday. During this period of panic, there was never a "run" on Amalgamated Bank.

Supporting Unions

  • An important part of Amalgamated Bank's union heritage is our direct support of union organizations, union members, and the labor movement as a whole.
  • The union "bug," the symbol of workplace decency, is proudly displayed on Amalgamated checks and other bank literature.
  • Our Board of Directors includes a number of prominent and dedicated local and international union representatives.
  • We offer preferred rates on auto and personal loans to members whose union banks with Amalgamated.
  • In 1989 we established the Illinois Amalgamated Bank Labor Council to assist the Bank in developing ideas and exchanging information to improve the Bank's services to the labor community. We furthered this concept in 2002 by establishing a Labor Council in Indiana, in 2004 with the creation of the Missouri Labor Committee and in 2007 by establishing the Labor Council - Illinois/Metropolitan Chapter.
  • Amalgamated Bank was the first and only bank to receive a special award from the 15th Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
  • We have worked with minority group contractors in forming a financing consortium to make larger, more profitable construction jobs available, especially in Urban Renewal neighborhoods where minority groups live and work.
  • In 1997 we received the "Corporation of the Year Award" from the Coalition for United Community Action/O.R.T.C., Inc., for our outstanding support of minority and female entrepreneurs, strong commitment to the labor movement, and leadership within the Chicago financial community.
  • In 2003, Amalgamated Bank of Chicago expanded on our pledge to be 'labor's bank,' welcoming 12 labor organizations as significant investors - including the American Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11, Service Employees International Union Local 1, Cement Workers Local 76, Sheet Metal Workers - International Association, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 705, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 25 and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727.
  • We co-sponsor with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association the Edward F. Carlough Golf Tournament benefiting the SMWIA Scholarship Foundation and Scholarship Fund.
  • We offer our Union Advantage program to provide a wide array of consumer deposit and credit services for our union members, with terms that are attractive to anyone that belongs to a union.
  • Amalgamated established, in connection with the Illinois Housing Development Authority, a first time buyer mortgage program that offers union members preferential terms when they are buying their first home.
  • We created the Simplified Single Payment product, which lets contractors make a single check payment to a union for various employee benefits funds. Each contractor saves time and costs associated with issuing multiple checks, and the union benefits from the reduction of mail float by receiving same-day deposits.
  • We developed an on-line payment product so that union members can pay their union dues with a credit card over the internet.
  • Amalgamated's Union Bank card provides a Union "No Pay" Option. A union may pick any two months when its members do not have to meet their monthly minimum payment requirements.
  • AmalgaTrust, a division of Amalgamated Bank, is a trustee on various real estate trusts that were established not only to provide an excellent rate of return, but the trusts also require that any construction be accomplished with union labor.
  • AmalgaTrust, a division of Amalgamated Bank, established a customized labor friendly proxy voting program in 1996 and has participated since inception in the AFL-CIO Key Vote Survey for Pension Fund Investment Managers. AmalgaTrust has consistently placed in the Top Tier of all pension Fund Investment Managers reporting.
  • In 2007, we opened a full service branch facility in Warrenville, Illinois to better service the banking and trust needs of unions and their members located in DuPage County.

Representative Client List

We are proud of our long tradition of service to unions and public funds clients. Amalgamated Bank takes pride in providing quality products and services to a variety of labor unions. We serve the Auto Workers, Building Trades, Clothing and Textile Workers, Communications and Graphic Arts Workers, Hotel and Restaurant Employees, Machinists and Auto Mechanics, Public Service and General Service Employees, Steel and Iron Workers, Transportation Industry Workers, and others.

A Union Bank for Unions and Union Members - The Tradition Continues

Today, Amalgamated Bank is a full-service commercial and consumer banking institution, providing a variety of products and services - including loans, checking and savings accounts, cash management, and trust services - designed especially to meet the needs of unions and union members.

Union Advantage

Amalgamated Bank's Union Advantage program is designed to provide a wide array of deposit and credit services for union members. The program offers a Union Bank Card, cost-effective checking and savings accounts, automobile loans, residential mortgages, personal loans, and home equity loans for members of participating labor unions.

Trust Services

AmalgaTrust, a division of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, administers over $10 billion in assets and provides state-of-the-art trust and investment management services to Taft-Hartley and multi-employer Funds. Our services include equity and fixed income investments, member directed and multi-employer 401(k) plans, master trust and custody, securities lending, and benefit payment services.

30 North LaSalle Chicago, IL 60602 312-822-300028600 Bella Vista Parkway Warrenville, IL 60555 630-225-4300