'He is sending the bank to help us out'

CHAMPAIGN — Sophia Hickman wasn't exactly sure where the stuff of Christmas was going to come from this year. She just knew that it would.

Widowed a mere 10 weeks ago, the 36-year-old Champaign woman is managing alone the blended family that she and Robert Hickman Jr. had shepherded together during their almost-11-year marriage.

Nonprofit microloan provider offers Champaign a 'gift' deal

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign City Council received a present during its last meeting before a holiday recess — a potential partnership with nonprofit organization Justine Petersen to help small businesses and low- to moderate-income individuals gain capital through microlending.

Jim Dey: Bank-fraud case endures third delay

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

That was the theme Monday at the federal courthouse in Urbana, where U.S. Judge Colin Bruce for the third time delayed a scheduled sentencing hearing for a Champaign landlord who pleaded guilty to defrauding an area bank.

John Roska: Illinois Employers mostly can't check applicants' credit

Q: Can an employer check my credit report when I apply for a job?

A: In general, no. Some employers can, but most are prohibited from using credit reports or credit histories for any reason.

This requires looking at both federal and Illinois law. And because state law protects consumers more than the federal law, the state law applies.

Busey, Pulaski set to relaunch as single bank

CHAMPAIGN — Six months after their parent companies signed the merger contracts, Busey Bank and St. Louis-based Pulaski Bank are nearly ready to relaunch as one larger banking company.

All 13 Pulaski banking offices in the St. Louis area are set to become Busey banking offices Nov. 5.

Jim Dey: Local landlord facing prison after defrauding bank

In 2007, Champaign landlord and architect Gene "G.T." Hardwick borrowed $3.9 million from Longview State Bank to build a 64-unit apartment building at 611 E. Park St., C.

About two years later, an FDIC bank examiner reviewing the bank's loan portfolio followed up by driving to the address to see what was up.

Family Checkbook: How to save money when you buy a car

By Kathy Sweedler 

Did you buy a car or truck in the past year? Twenty-four percent of adults surveyed did, according to the latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. We tend to buy a lot of cars over our lifetimes.

John Roska: Can bankruptcy help my credit score?

Q: I can't make payments on all my old debts, and that poor payment history has ruined by credit score. If those old debts were discharged in bankruptcy, I could keep up payments on my basic expenses. Could filing for bankruptcy help my credit?

Getting Personal: Marie Oatis Polk

Getting Personal is a Q&A with a local personality. Here, 42-year-old Urbana resident Marie Oatis Polk, the associate development and experience manager at Busey, chats with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli. Polk is a board member, the publicity chair and a past president of the Champaign County Freedom Celebration.

What interests you the most right now?

From 'flunky' to fixture

Sixty-five years ago this month, a Gifford girl three days removed from high school took a job at the local bank.

Her unofficial title? "Flunky," cracked 82-year-old Mille Roseman, who spent 46 years at Gifford State Bank and still sits on its board of directors.