By Carmen A. Murguia
There is an important story unfolding in my city that I want your readers, listeners, and viewers to know about: Legacy Bank of Milwaukee.
When I first heard of a Black, woman-owned, founded and led BANK in the City of Milwaukee, I knew I had to be a part of it! My parents Dr. Filiberto and Mrs. Carmen Murguia raised me to go anywhere and everywhere and to support other minorities who, like me, had dreams so big people would be like, “Are you for real?” and pursued them anyway. Dreaming big, having a vision and a mission, their personal investment and capital of course, and seeing that plan to fruition, is what I knew of Ms. Henningsen, Ms. Sims, and Ms. Lanier.
Together these remarkable women created LEGACY BANK in 1999 on Milwaukee’s corner of Fond du Lac and North Avenues for the entire community and our nation to be proud of. And they did so in the most beautiful of spaces, filled with gorgeous marble and hope, and stunning ceilings and solid commitment, complimented only by customer service that is unsurpassed from the moment you walk through those ornate and heavy doors.
It is that story of three driven minorities in the U.S. to embark upon the creation of a financial institution that hadn’t existed before, which originally inspired me to open up savings and checking accounts and continue to make my deposits (and withdraw of course!) I have as a worker and dreamer myself. And most recently, it is the new story that’s been making the headlines that is compelling me to write this letter as to why it’s vital to our community and our nation to keep Legacy Bank in Milwaukee’s central city alive. You see, Legacy Bank received an order for a “prompt corrective action” from the Federal Reserve Bank, which requires the bank to either raise enough capital to cover its loan losses or find a buyer in 60 days from November 16, 2010. We cannot lose Legacy Bank to either close its doors or afford to be taken over by a larger bank – we need Legacy to remain the Bank it has been since its inception: by, for, and about “economic development and community impact.”
In the most trying times we have to stick together and we must have each other’s backs, and if that means investors in Milwaukee, WI, our nation, and around the globe are to pool financial resources and invest the capital it takes to keep Legacy Bank minority opened and minority operated (led by Jose Mantilla, Bank President) for everyone – from the new business owners and first time account holders, to the property owners and blue collar and white collar workers, please let’s do so. Let us come together, the wealthy and the new venture capitalist, with our “Who’s Who with the Money” list and build on the investment started by Legacy Bank 11 years ago. We all know, and therefore we must believe, “this too shall pass.” From what I understand, Legacy Bank has raised a few million dollars in new capital from institutional investors and its board, but it is clear we still have to raise more to keep a community bank alive and its foundation stronger still for the future of our community, our city, and our nation in order to live up to its beautiful name: Legacy Bank.
I thank you for your time and attention to this letter.
Carmen A. Murguia