Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Despite Bank's Closure, Giannoulias Vows to Fight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An emotional Alexi Giannoulias says he has renewed vigor to win President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. (Published Monday, Apr 26, 2010)

    Following the collapse of his family's bank, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said he has renewed vigor to win President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

    The Democrat's voice cracked with emotion as he talked Friday about the collapse of Broadway Bank, which was heavy into real estate loans and lost $75 million last year. Giannoulias said nobody could have foreseen the real estate collapse.

    FDIC: Deposits Are Safe

    [CHI] FDIC: Deposits Are Safe
    Federal regulators say it should be business-as-usual for customers as MB Financial takes over Broadway Bank. (Published Friday, Apr 23, 2010)

    "There was no bailout for my father's bank. It is an incredibly sad and heartbreaking day for me and for my family. This bank has helped thousands of people when no one else would give them a chance," he said, attempting to tie the bank's closure with the Wall Street reform package currently being debated in Congress.  "What has happened tonight is just a sliver of the hardship which has become endemic in our society only strengthens my resolve."

    Giannoulias said he will work harder in his bid to keep the Senate seat with Democrats because he understands how Illinois families and businesses are suffering. The White House will likely offer help.

    Weeks ago, he tried to soften the political blow of a potential collapse by conceding that the bank was likely to fail.  Still, his opponent in the race for the Senate, Rep. Mark Kirk, has used the bank's troubles as a main talking point.

    Giannoulias has stayed on message, saying the bank was healthy when it left it four years ago and should not be held accountable for its current troubles. 

    "At the time I left the bank, by every independent analysis, it was one of the best-performing in Illinois," he said.

    Blaming the economy is seemingly the only hand Giannoulias can play.

    "The bank has been like an albatross around Alexi Giannoulias' neck," said Paul Green, the Director of Policy Studies at Roosevelt University.  "He's a young kid.  Did he make these decisions that caused all this?  No.  But if he has to attack the bank, he's attacking his family's business and the memory of his dad.  He can't do that."