Past chairman, co-founder, and CEO Alvin J. Boutte Sr. was in charge of one of America’s largest black-owned banks. Boutte was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 10, 1929. He was the youngest of 10 children. His father worked as a gardener and his mother was a seamstress.
Boutte grew up a child of the Great Depression. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend Xavier University in New Orleans on a basketball scholarship. He married Barbara Gonzaque.
While attending Xavier, he created numerous businesses that served the needs of the students, such as a laundry pickup and a payment collection business. He later graduated with a degree in Pharmacy in 1951, and later went on to open and operate a drugstore. The drugstore quickly grew into a chain of stores across the black neighborhoods of the city.
In 1964, Boutte joined fellow black business leaders to collaborate on several endeavors. Together with George Johnson and John Johnson, owners of Johnson Products Company and Ebony Magazine, respectively, the three men established Independence Bank. By 1988, Independence Bank was one of the leading banks in the United States. However, the bank was ultimately sold to white-owned Shore Bank.
Through his lifetime, Boutte served on the Board of Directors of several organizations, such as the Chicago Metropolitan Insurance Company, Johnson Products, and Midway Airlines. He also served as president of the Small Business Administration, and was a member of the Chicago Board of Education. The Chicago Urban League and the Chicago Economic Development Corporation named Boutte its Man of the Year during the 1970s.
Alvin Boutte died on April 1, 2012 at the age of 82.