Frequently Asked Questions

With all the problems on Wall Street – is the City’s Money Safe?

As City Treasurer, my number one job is to protect the City’s money. We have a strict set of policies that guide our investment strategy. In particular, we do not invest in the stock market. Instead we only invest in highly rated bonds and other securities. You can read more about our investment policy here.

How does the Treasurer decide where to invest the City’s money?

The City Treasurer’s Office is limited to several types of safe investments by City ordinance. Additionally, the City’s investment objectives are: 1. safety of principal, 2. liquidity and 3. return on investment. The Office balances all of these considerations and selects the best possible investments for the City of Chicago.

Is the City Treasurer elected?

Yes, the City Treasurer is one of three citywide elected officials including the Mayor and the City Clerk.

What functions does the Treasurer’s Office serve?

The City Treasurer has three main functions:

  1. The City Treasurer is the Chief Investment Officer for the City and is responsible for managing the City’s $7.9 billion investment portfolio.
  2. The City Treasurer is responsible for maintaining all records and accounts associated with the City’s operating funds as well as the escrow accounts held with various trustee banks.
  3. The Municipal code has authorized the City Treasurer to research, conduct educational programs, provide counseling and disseminate information regarding financial education, provide small business support, and provide access to banking for residents of the city.

What programs does the Treasurer’s Office have to help residents learn how to manage their money?

The Treasurer’s Office offers a financial literacy program called “Wealth Fitness for Adults” Phase I and Phase II that address essential financial topics. Additionally, The Treasurer’s Office is developing a program to provide financial education for students in the Chicago Public Schools from K through 12. For more information, visit Adult Financial Classes.

What programs does your office have to help small business owners?

The Treasurer’s Office offers two programs designed to assist small business owners. They are the Small Business Loan Program and the Small Business Expo. These programs are designed to help small business owners apply for a business loan and meet and network with government agencies, financial service organizations, chambers, non-profit agencies and fellow small business owners. For more information, visit the Small Business Loan Program or the Small Business Expo.

What is the Small Business Loan Program?

The City Treasurer’s Office deposits funds in the form of a Certificate of Deposit in banks that participate in the Small Business Loan Program. This provides the banks with an incentive to make loans to support businesses without directly putting taxpayer dollars at risk. A small business loan is often enough capital to support a company through difficult times, and can help retain jobs. For more information, visit the Small Business Loan Program.

How would the Small Business Loan Program help my business?

The loans can be used to address various short-term financing needs including: meeting payroll obligations, purchasing or leasing equipment, and purchasing supplies. Learn more about the Small Business Development Loan Program.

Do you work with any community banks?

Yes, visit the Small Business Loan Program – Participating Banks page to get a list of the banks that are participating in the Small Business Loan Program.

Does the Treasurer’s Office provide any information on Predatory Lending?

The Treasurer’s Office conducts presentations throughout the City with various organizations to inform residents on how not fall prey to predatory lenders.

What should I do to avoid losing my home to foreclosure?

If you are having trouble keeping up with your mortgage payments or have you received a notice from your lender asking you to contact them, follow this advise:

  • Don’t ignore the letters from your lender – The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house.
  • Contact your lender immediately – Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.
  • Contact a HUD approved agencies listed for assistance – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds free or very low cost housing counseling nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need this assistance.

Here is a copy of the City Treasurer’s list of HUD approved agencies, contact one of the approved agencies listed for assistance.

Whom should I call if I am a victim of predatory lending?

Contact any of the following:

  • The City of Chicago Consumer Fraud Hotline (Chicago), 800-386-5438
  • The Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, 312-341-1070
  • The Illinois Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, Consumer Fraud Hotline (Chicago), 800-386-5438

What is the difference between a prime loan and a sub-prime loan?

A Prime Loan refers to a loan satisfying the minimal requirements set by government-subsidized agencies. The interest rates are usually low. A sub-prime loan is provided by financial institutions to borrowers that are riskier than those eligible for prime loans. It is generally accompanied by higher interest rate charges.

Do I pay my property taxes at the City Treasurer’s Office?

No, property taxes are paid at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

If I don’t pay my taxes, will I lose my property?

Yes, if you fail to pay your tax bill, your property is subject to foreclosure and you can lose your property.

How can I avoid becoming a victim of identity theft?

To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, the following are some things that you should do:

  1. Buy a cross-cut type shredder.
  2. Do not throw anything away that someone could use to become you.
  3. Be careful at ATM’s and using Phone Cards. Protect your “Pin Number”.
  4. Empty your wallet of all extra credit cards and social security numbers, etc.
  5. Immediately correct all mistakes on your credit reports in writing.