By the end of this year, Oak Parkers can keep their money where they used to buy fried chicken.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust is opening a full-service bank at the old Kentucky Fried Chicken site, located at 601 N. Harlem Ave. The company bought the spot in 2005, after the fast food chain abandoned it in 2004.

“It’s a natural area for us to expand to,” said Paul Gaughan, president of Metro Bank and Trust. “We’re surrounding Oak Park, but we don’t have anything in it.”

The banking company also has locations in Cicero, Berwyn, Norridge, and Melrose Park, with over 90 branches in the Chicagoland area.

Metro Bank is only keeping the building’s outside shell. They completely rebuilt the interior.

“The bank is really upgrading it by replacing the facade with nice brick, landscaping it very well, and sprucing it up,” said Craig Failor, village planner.

Jan Jankowski, village records coordinator, said the bank spent almost $1,000,000 on construction costs, updating the building’s electricity, plumbing, roof, fencing, landscaping and masonry.

“This looks like a pretty substantial project,” said Jankowski while perusing the stack of permits.

Metro Bank will offer all of its typical retail products: savings and checking accounts, home loans, commercial mortgages, and a land trust department.

“Oak Park is such a vibrant city, and we wanted to have a location there,” Gaughan said.

  • MB Financial Bank, meanwhile, a separate financial institution, recently opened a banking center in Oak Park, located at 6621 W. North Ave., and is throwing a grand opening celebration on Sept. 12.

-Marty Stempniak

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