Recent News

Doing Business with Cook County’s Land Banks

On July 24, more than 180 representatives from government, community, and real estate firms heard loud and clear – the Cook County Land Bank Authority and South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority are open for business and ready to put more than 55,000 vacant and abandoned homes, buildings and parcels back into productive use.

The land banks and the Metropolitan Planning Council, in partnership with The PrivateBank, Chicago Rehab Network, Community Investment Corporation, Neighborhood Housing Services and Smart Chicago Collaborative, hosted the workshop to introduce participants to opportunities to partner with the land banks and to each other.

The interactive workshop outlined the land banks’ policies, powers and limitations and explained how community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, developers and investors can tap the land banks as resources.  The workshop also covered topics including researching vacant properties, identifying financing options and determining the feasibility of projects. Additional workshops are being planned, so join our email list to be contacted with more information. If you were unable to attend, but would like to see the presentation materials, click on the links below:

Doing Business with Cook County’s Land Banks – Presentation
Doing Business with Cook County’s Land Banks – Resource Guide



The PrivateBank and the Cook County Land Bank Authority announce $10 million in Financing for Neighborhood Stabilization

The PrivateBank and the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) announced the creation of a new partnership to help eligible participants realize the dream of homeownership by investing in rehabbing vacant homes in Cook County.

Investors “are not the highest and best use,” said Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner and Chairman of the CCLBA. “There are a lot of attractive homes, but the longer a home sits, the harder it is to rehab. The average home buyer has few financing options for purchasing homes needing extensive rehab, so this responds to the pent-up demand for housing from people who don’t have access to cash, but want to buy and live in these homes.”

Through the partnership, The PrivateBank will work with the CCLBA and nonprofit organizations to identify prospective buyers for homes acquired by CCLBA. Buyers will work with nonprofit partners to complete home buyer counseling, while the homes are being rehabbed by pre-qualified contractors, with an emphasis on supporting small businesses in the communities where the properties are located. The PrivateBank will provide construction financing for the rehabilitation work, which will ensure homes are in move-in ready upon completion. The PrivateBank will also fund administration of the program and retain a program management firm to oversee construction, to ensure home owners are protected. Once the homes are complete, the home buyer will be able to finance the home purchase using a conventional mortgage.

Borrowers will be eligible to apply for a SMART Affordable Mortgage from The PrivateBank for the home purchase. The SMART Affordable Mortgage offers low down-payment options, does not require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), and has attractive rates. Buyers can use any mortgage, as well as approved down payment and closing costs assistance grants.

The program is targeted to begin on September 1, 2014.  More details will be provided in the weeks ahead.

If you are interested in applying for the program, please complete and submit the Pre-Qualification Form for Persons Seeking Property. A list of eligible homes will be made available on or before the program launch.


In the News:

Chicago Tribune:  The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to rehab vacant homes
Crain’s Chicago Business:  Cook County land bank, PrivateBank team up
ABC7:  Program to rehab vacant Cook County homes