The Illinois Service Federal Bank (ISF) was recently acquired by the Ghanaian- American Nduom family. The bank was established in 1934 during the Great Migration. ISF Bank offered home and business loans to the many African Americans who moved to the North to escape the limited economic opportunities in the segregated South. Like many banks throughout the nation, ISF suffered financial losses during the housing crisis of 2008 and the subsequent economic recession. The family injected about $9 million to rescue the bank.
ISF Bank caught the eye of the Nduom family, whose patriarch, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, began his professional life in the Midwest. Born in Ghana in West Africa and having received his Bachelors, Masters and PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Dr. Nduom and his family lived in the Midwest for many years before moving to the Washington, DC area and then returning to Ghana in the early 1990s.
Dr. Nduom is married to Mrs. Yvonne Nduom, and together they have four children, two of whom are engaged in the running of GroupeNduom, the family’s business conglomerate. N. Kweku Nduom serves as Vice President of Business Development and Finance, while P.W. Chiefy Nduom is Vice President and General Counsel of GroupeNduom. Together with their father, the brothers are leading the efforts of ISF Bank in Chicago.
The new owners are members of the Nduom family whose patriarch, Paa Kwesi Nduom, 63, was one of the first African-American partners of Deloitte & Touche, working in Milwaukee, before relocating to Ghana in West Africa in the 1990s. There he invested in hotels and other enterprises, eventually turning the family’s disparate holdings into Groupe Nduom.
Groupe Nduom employs more than 3,000 in Africa, Europe and North America and has investments in industries including financial services, media and entertainment, sports and real estate. His sons, N. Kweku Nduom and P.W. Chiefy Nduom, are managing the family’s investment in Illinois Service. Their father is the bank’s chairman.