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Gore Praises Inner City Bank in Chicago, Blasts White House

August 13, 1992

CHICAGO (AP) _ Democrat Al Gore today praised a Chicago bank that finances inner city rehabilitation projects and criticized the White House for favoring ″the kinds of people who created the savings and loan crisis.″

On his first campaign visit to an inner city neighborhood, Gore toured a housing rehabilitation project funded by the South Shore bank, an institution already much praised by Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton.

Gore added his own praise for the bank’s financing of inner city rehabilitation projects and said the model was one the Democrats would work to duplicate nationwide.

″This is a unique program which has begun with one community which Bill Clinton and I are proposing nationwide through a series of development banks,″ Gore said. ″You are showing here that it can be a fantastic success nationwide.″

The South Shore Bank, a state-chartered commercial institution controlled by charitable groups, says that its primary mission is to lend money that breathes new life into the inner city.

The 20-year-old rehabilitation program finances the transformation of boarded up apartment buildings into livable low-income housing.

Sharon Jinks, who lives in such an apartment, several blocks from the project visited by Gore, was on hand at the South Side campaign stop to adds her praise for the program.

″It’s great,″ said Jinks, who lives with her 16-year-old daughter and 2- year-old grandson. ″I’ve been really blessed.″

Gore accused the Republican administration of paying too little attention to residents of such neighborhoods.

″They respond to the privileged few, the wealthy and powerful, the kinds of people who created the savings and loan crisis,″ he said. ″They turn their backs on average working families.″

″This neighborhood was supposed to become a slum,″ said Joan Shapiro, a senior vice president at the bank. Now, she said, crime is down, economic conditions are improving and children in the community have ″a hope and a future.″

Shapiro said South Shore has ″never gotten any special treatment″ from the federal government in its projects and bank officials ″don’t want any handouts.″

She said, however, that ″we think there could be ways that the government could provide tangible benefits that would help this kind of business,″ including tax benefits.

Dorris Pickens, president of the Neighborhood Institute, a South Shore community development subsidiary, also urged more strict enforcement of laws against redlining, the practice under which banks refuse to lend money in inner city neighborhoods.

″Redlining is what created this problem,″ she said.