First Bank & Trust announced today that co-founder and Managing Director James C. Lytle, a former two-term mayor of Evanston, will retire on Dec. 31.

The locally owned and managed community bank was founded in 1995 by Robert Yohanan, Howard Kain, and Lytle, who began his career in banking in 1964 at the State Bank of Evanston. 

While maintaining his banking career, he served a term as alderman of the 6th Ward in 1973, and then served consecutive terms as mayor in 1977 and 1981.

After his term in office, Lytle joined the Pioneer Bank in Chicago. In 1988, he and four other managers launched an initial public offering and bought that bank. 

In 1993, the partners sold Pioneer Bank, and Lytle, Kain, and Yohanan went on to found First Bank & Trust. 

Over the years, Lytle served as a board chairman, officer, or a director for more than two dozen nonprofit organizations, including American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Care Center of Evanston, Citizen Police Advisory Committee (co-founder), Evanston150 (co-founder) Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston Inventure (founder), McGaw YMCA, North Shore Council of Mayors, and Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center.

His honors and awards include the Studs Terkel Humanitarian Award from the Illinois Humanities Council, a Community Leadership Award from the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and a Special Lifetime Volunteer Recognition Award presented jointly by the City of Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation, Evanston/Skokie School Districts 65 and 202, and Northwestern University.

Managing Director and CEO Robert Yohanan said, “When we started the bank nearly 20 years ago, Jay was a master of all trades. No duty was too small and no challenge too complex. Jay was instrumental in developing a strategic vision for the bank and he worked tirelessly to establish meaningful and long-lasting relationships with local businesses and residents.”

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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