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Uptown in the News  

June 25, 2003
Lerner News-Star
Long named president of Bridgeview branch
By Jack Bess, Managing Editor

Bridgeview Bancorp, Inc. has completed its entry into Uptown, and installed a familiar face as president of its newest branch.

Suellen Long, president of the local development corporation Upcorp and board chairman of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce, has been named president of Bridgeview Bank Chicago. Bridgeview has just closed its acquisition of Upbancorp, Inc. and its subsidiary, Uptown National Bank of Chicago, where Long worked for 32 years.

Her appointment "sends a signal to the community that the tradition of the bank will continue," Long said. "Bridgeview has locations around the city and suburbs, and it gives us a broader base. The size of the bank is bigger, and it will be able to lend at better rates and in larger amounts."

In addition, because Bridgeview has a branch at Armitage and Halsted, "they understand the rehab loan, the 6- and 7-flat conversion loan from their Lincoln Park experience. And there's much of that going on in Uptown."

Long added, "It's also a great time to bring a retail bank to Lawrence and Broadway with Borders and other retail coming in."

Long has managed the historic Uptown Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, for 20 years and spearheaded a $20 million renovation of the 1920s-era building. Though Uptown National Bank is gone, the building will still be known as the Uptown Bank Building because it was built for the Sheridan Trust in Uptown's heyday as the "North Side Loop."

With the acquisition of Uptown, Bridgeview gains "entry into one of the most dynamic and forward-moving neighborhoods in the city of Chicago," Peter J. Halas, Bridgeview Bancorp chairman, said in a news release. "We are extremely optimistic about the opportunities that await us in Uptown."

Among Long's hopes is to work even more with not-for-profit groups. Her experience in this sphere includes vice chairmanship of Heartland Alliance, a citywide advocacy and anti-poverty organization.

"I've worked for non-profits all over the city for 16 years and I hope that that will be a niche market for us," Long said. "I would like to develop a special product for them and roll it out in the not-too-distant future. I would call on the non-profits I've worked with to help develop that product."

"For me, this is all about business development, to reach out across the community to folk here in Uptown," Long said. "A remarkable amount of work is already taking place, and I'm excited to be part of growing it even further."

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