Magazine article American Banker

Direct Mail Entrepreneur Starting A Bank for the Indian Community

Magazine article American Banker

Direct Mail Entrepreneur Starting A Bank for the Indian Community

Article excerpt

When Varghese Chacko came to America 20 years ago from his native India, he tried to get a bank loan to start a direct mail business.

He failed, largely because he had no credit history here, but managed to scrape together enough of his own money to start the business in his garage. Today, Prompts Services has 40 employees and a client list that includes Cingular Wireless and the Chicago Tribune.

Now Mr. Chacko is starting another business, a bank that will target Indian and South Asian Americans who want to get into business for themselves.

"I wanted to be part of a bank to help out others, and now that dream is coming true," he said.

All American Bank is set to open its first branch, in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, at the end of the month. Though dozens of banks serve immigrants from Korea, China, and other East Asian countries, this would be the first devoted to the Indian community.

All American has received regulatory approval and raised $8 million. Mr. Chacko is to be its chairman, and he has hired an experienced banker, whom he would not name, as his chief executive officer.

According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, Indians are the nation's third-largest group, behind Filipinos and Mexicans, of "legal permanent residents" (immigrants who are not U.S. citizens). In the Chicago area in 2003, 2,557 Indians became U.S. citizens, third-most behind Mexicans and Poles.

Mr. Chacko said his bank will focus mainly on small-business financing. …

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