Marquette, Wintrust form transformational, community-minded partnership for banking, scholarship aid and athletics

March 27, 2018

Ten-year contract includes exclusive commercial and retail banking services, $12 million investment in scholarship aid, athletics and other institutional support

MILWAUKEE — Marquette University announced that it has entered into a new transformational corporate partnership with Chicago-based Wintrust Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: WTFC), in an agreement that leaders of both organizations are calling a unique, mission-oriented relationship that aims to serve Marquette students and the broader community.

Under the agreement, Wintrust's Wisconsin-based Town Bank will be Marquette's exclusive commercial and retail banking partner.

The partnership also goes beyond banking, Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell noted. The new relationship includes a $12 million investment over 10 years from Wintrust to fund student scholarships, athletic and educational programming, and other campus-oriented events, he said.

'Couldn't be a better fit'
"In working closely with Wintrust and their Town Bank team, we discovered mission alignment and shared values related to providing access and affordability to those who need it most," Lovell said. "We are grateful for their significant investment in scholarship aid, which will have a profound impact on Marquette students as they become men and women for others and positive change agents in our communities."

"The Marquette University partnership with Wintrust and Town Bank couldn't be a better fit. Marquette is committed to setting its students up for success and so are we," said Wintrust President and CEO Edward J. Wehmer. "We're proud to not only offer great banking services to Marquette students, but also provide tools to help give students in need a leg up, like scholarship funding for first-generation and Milwaukee and Chicagoland low income families. We're an institution the Marquette community can count on."

"The leadership team at Wintrust and the local Town Bank group are already deeply invested in our community," said Dave Lawlor, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Marquette. "They are innovative in their approach to banking relationships, have strategic priorities well aligned with Marquette's, and share a common vision to make Marquette, Wintrust, Town Bank and our community better through meaningful partnerships."

"Partnering with Marquette University fits well with the mission and values of Town Bank and Wintrust. Just as the university seeks to extend its boundaries beyond the campus, we, too, want to extend our presence beyond our brick and mortar branches," said Jay Mack, president and CEO of Town Bank.

Town Bank, which is wholly owned by Wintrust, the second largest bank group headquartered in Chicago, has been expanding its presence and operations in downtown Milwaukee. The bank also has offices in Walworth, Dane, Waukesha and Racine counties.

Mission-oriented, community-minded partnership
The agreement follows a rigorous RFP process that brought to the table several financial services organizations. University leaders ultimately chose Wintrust for its commitment to providing Marquette with services beyond banking, lauding the organization for its community-oriented mission.

In addition to the scholarship aid commitment, the partnership includes several other key agreements:

  • Wintrust's Town Bank will become the official commercial and retail banking partner of Marquette Athletics.
  • Wintrust and Town Bank will invest in the College of Business Administration's burgeoning commercial banking program.
  • Wintrust and Town Bank will set aside seed funding for a small business revolving loan fund and will engage with banking program students to administer low-cost small business loans to enterprises located in surrounding neighborhoods, including the Near West Side.

The university's current contract with U.S. Bank expires at the end of the fiscal year. University leaders expressed their appreciation for the bank's decades of service to the Marquette community.

"We thank U.S. Bank for being excellent partners who provided outstanding financial services to the university and its students, faculty and staff, and we look forward to working with them in other future endeavors," Lawlor said.

Transition work will begin this semester and is expected to be complete this summer.