Chicago bank pulled in to Russia probe
July 23rd, 2017
Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank has been subpoenaed to turn over records for $16 million in loans it made to Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager to President Donald Trump.
Manafort was pushed out of Trump’s camp after it was revealed that he had business dealings with Russians. The records of the bank loan are part of an investigation into that imbroglio.
Manafort connected with Federal Savings Bank through a loan officer in the bank’s Manhattan office. The bank’s CEO is Steve Calk, who was an economic adviser to Trump during the campaign. The Wall Street Journal says Calk was angling for a job in government. But Calk told me last summer that he just wanted a seat at the table to discuss banking, tax and deregulation issues.
A source familiar with the bank loan says it’s only coincidence that Manafort and his wife took out a loan at the bank headed by Calk. Manafort came to the bank through a loan officer in Federal Savings Bank’s Manhattan office, the source said, adding that Calk didn’t know Manafort before that.
Manafort and his wife took out the loans in November–a refinancing loan for $9.5 million and the second was a construction loan for $6.5 million
The Journal questions whether the loans are out of line, saying the bank has just $67 million in equity.
But the source with Federal Savings disputes that, saying the loan is a drop in the bucket to the bank, which did $4.2 billion in loans last year alone. “We’re the most profitable bank in America for our size. Our equity capital is more than three times the federally required 8.5 percent minimum.”
The source says it’s not unusual to be subpoenaed for bank records.
“Banks get subpoenaed every day. Sometimes it’s for a divorce case or when a business goes into default,” the source said. “That’s how banking works.”