Covenant Bank, Run by Megachurch Pastor Bill Winston, Is Shut Down by Federal Regulators

Covenant Bank, the small West Side lender run by mega-church pastor Bill Winston, was closed late Friday by bank regulators, wiping out the investments of more than 3,000 members of Rev. Winston's Forest Park church.

Liberty Bank & Trust Co., an African-American-owned bank in New Orleans, assumed $58 million in Covenant Bank assets and $54 million in deposits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced.

The failure brings to a bad end the $3 million acquisition more than four years ago of the former Community Bank of Lawndale by the group led by Rev. Winston, with much of the cash supplied by members of his 20,000-member congregation, Living Word Christian Center.

Rev. Winston long had sought a bank to help put to the test his stated belief that godly pursuits lead to financial success. He hoped ownership of the lender would help revitalize neighborhoods like Lawndale on the West Side, where the bank was based.

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SOURCE: Chicago Business
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