Swanky Standard Club Raising Its Financial Standards

Chicago's elite private club imposes a $1,600 assessment fee on its members

People of all tax brackets are tightening their belts these days -- whether those belts come from Old Navy or Gucci -- so where does that leave places like private clubs where memberships can set patrons back a few grand a month? Chicago's stately Standard Club, a private club founded in 1869 by the city's business and community leaders, certainly isn't immune to the financial strains of the current economic situation. As reported by Crain's Chicago Business today, the club recently tacked on a $1,600 assessment fee on top of members' regular dues.

A bit of context: In the past few months, the Standard changed financial institutions from Bank of America to PrivateBank (thus eliminating the 32 free memberships for Bank of America management), has fired and replaced the bulk of its staff and has cut back on some amenities. Perhaps not surprisingly, membership has also declined.  

As Shia Kapos reports in her "Taking Names" blog this morning, the Standard Club will hold its annual board meeting tomorrow, and this year it might not be as civilized a gathering as one would expect.

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