The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST For Tuesday, August 3, 2015. (Extended Interview with Chase Bank Execs Starts At 46:12 Mark On PODCAST Media Player). Nearly a month after it was first revealed by a listener to Afternoons with Amos, that Chase Bank, the city and state’s largest was closing bank branches in two majority-African-American neighborhoods, we’ve been trying to get officials of Chase on the program to answer community concerns and tell their side of the story. Top officials of Chase Bank in Indiana, including their non-profit foundation, appeared on Afternoons with Amos in a frank, honest discussion of the banking industry, their bank’s policies, why they’re closing (consolidating is their term) and other issues in an extended live conversation.
Al Smith, one of Indianapolis most seasoned and veteran bankers, who held top positions with AFNB and Bank One, is President of Chase Bank/Indiana. Joining Smith was Tonio Torres, Senior Vice-President of Chase and Head of their Retail Banking statewide. Also Al London, a twenty year Chase Bank veteran who is an Area Manager over a number of Chase Banks. Joining them was Angie Klitzsch, head of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation in Indiana, the philanthropic arm of the bank in the state. The four addressed a number of community concerns in a frank and open manner. They explained why the bank branches at 29th and MLK and 38th and Washington Boulevard were closed. Reduction in transactions inside the branches were the reason as Chase customers at those two banks were performing more bank business at ATM’s and on their computers and smartphones than doing them inside the bank. The Chase folks understand some haven’t adapted to new technology and they’re working to help those customers.
They were encouraged that perhaps the efforts local churches are doing in the wake of the Double 8 closing crisis could be applied to help seniors and others get to their closest Chase bank. Al Smith spoke openly and honestly about the Chase’s relationship with area churches, long standing relationships that date back to when Indiana National and AFNB were Indianapolis’ dominant banks. Chase admitted that some churches, like businesses and households, had trouble meeting obligations during the Great Recession. But Smith , Torres and London stressed that Chase’s business banking group was ready and willing to work with area churches and ministries to achieve their expansion and financial needs. The bankers stressed the importance of asking for the name of the Chase Area Manager or Regional Manager if customers have problems at their bank. Improving relationships with customers is a major Chase goal.
Angie Klitzsch talked about the Chase Foundation, which last year contributed some $2.2 million to area non-profits statewide, with the bulk of that spending in Marion County. Center for Leadership Development and Black Expo are among the non-profits assisted by Chase, along with the United Way and others. Documented performance is important for non-profits to demonstrate to Chase. But the the Foundation welcomes non-profits to make proposals. Smith and Chase Execs revealed that it was their lobbying that took the Chase Bank in the Meadows off the closing list. A decision that will help that area’s continued revitalization. Finally Al Smith agreed with Amos that in the wake of the community outcry over the grocery crisis, it may be time for the entire banking industry serving Indy, not just Chase, as part of their Community Reinvestment Act activities, to step to the plate to help reinvest in Indianapolis’ neighborhoods.
Also on the program, reaction from a top local environmental leader to President Barack Obama‘s Clean Power Plan, announced Monday that’s designed to reduce Global Warming and pollution by 2030. The plan has already been bitterly attacked by Governor Mike Pence who vows to defy the President’s proposal and fight it in court. Denise Abdul-Rahman, of the Indiana NAACP’s Environment Committee explained the President’s plan and why it would be beneficial for our African-American community. Abdul-Rahman believes that the opportunity for jobs in solar power and wind power would greatly benefit the Black community under the President’s proposal. The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST For Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Runs 102 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One. PODCAST Starts After Brief Video Ad.