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Midwest BankCentre

Midwest BankCentre Winner of 2018 National Community Bank Service Awards

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The September 2018 edition of ICBA Independent Banker features Midwest BankCentre employees who have been integral to the bank’s dedicated service to unbanked and underbanked customers in the St. Louis region: (clockwise from left) Mortgage Officer Kathleen Spies, Chairman and CEO Jim Watson, Executive Vice President Alex Fennoy and LaTonya Jackson, who leads the bank’s Friendly Temple branch in St. Louis’ Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood, opened in April 2017. Paul Nordman

St. Louis’ Midwest BankCentre is featured in the September 2018 edition of ICBA Independent Banker as the national winner of 2018 National Community Bank Service Awards, sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of America®. The bank’s impact on bringing mainstream banking services to “unbanked” or “underbanked” families in the St. Louis metro area is featured in a two-page story headlined, “Reaching the unbanked – for everyone’s benefit.”

“A first-time homebuyer in St. Louis recently broke down at closing. The single mother of two had come to Midwest BankCentre with a dream of owning her own home. She took the bank’s financial empowerment and education classes, and attended homebuyer classes from a local housing partner. And as she signed the papers, she became the first person in her family to ever own a home,” the article began.

“That’s why we do what we do,” said Alex Fennoy, executive vice president of community and economic development at Midwest BankCentre. “It’s all about giving those families that have been historically locked out an opportunity to make their lives better.”

Since a 2009 FDIC survey of the most populated U.S. cities found that St. Louis had the greatest disparity between unbanked African-American households (31 percent) and unbanked white households (1.1 percent), the bank’s multifaceted efforts have helped reduce the percentage of unbanked African-American households in St. Louis to 13.3 percent.

The bank has opened branches in African-American-majority neighborhoods, hired African-American and woman-owned contractors to build its branches, and staffed banks with neighborhood residents. The bank has greatly increased the diversity of its staff and legal board to be more representative of the communities it serves. “That has really helped us – from making connections in the community, to sorting out the best strategic partners for us to further develop our franchise, and even down to product development and tracking our progress in the community,” said Chairman and CEO Jim Watson.

The bank’s next goal is to help grow African-American-owned businesses by working with the Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce, a unit of the US Black Chambers of Commerce. Veta T. Jeffery, senior vice president of community and economic development at the bank, was recently elected to the US Black Chambers’ board as national director of chamber relations. In that role, she will work to connect top African-American-owned businesses with Fortune 500 companies to generate economic growth.

Midwest BankCentre was selected from more than 100 nominees for the ICBA honor.

Midwest BankCentre, a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906, employs a staff of nearly 300 working at 19 bank locations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Further details are available at www.midwestbankcentre.com.

ICBA Names Midwest BankCentre as a National Award Recipient For the 2018 National Community Bank Service Awards

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Midwest BankCentre has been selected as a national award recipient by the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) for the 2018 National Community Bank Service Awards. The program recognizes outstanding and innovative volunteer efforts by the nation’s community banks.

ICBA selected Midwest BankCentre from among more than 100 nominations for its high-impact service and economic empowerment programs that have brought mainstream banking services to more than 1,200 previously “unbanked” or “underbanked” families in the St. Louis metro area. Bank employees contributed more than 4,700 volunteer hours in 2017 to help hundreds of immigrants, minorities and economically disadvantaged citizens gain access to financial services, and spur community redevelopment and reinvestment.

“Midwest BankCentre’s outreach initiative was inspired in part by a 2009 FDIC survey ranking the St. Louis metro area as the third highest city for unbanked African-American households in the nation,” said Alex Fennoy, executive vice president of community and economic development at Midwest BankCentre. “We are honored that ICBA has recognized our comprehensive effort to serve as agents of positive change. Through the spirit of inclusivity, we are making a difference and improving the overall economic welfare of our community.”

Among Midwest BankCentre’s notable collaborative initiatives are its significant investments in facilities and staff to support re-emerging African-American majority neighborhoods. The bank operates full-service branches in Pagedale, at Friendly Temple in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood and on North Broadway in the near north riverfront area north of downtown St. Louis.

The award also recognized Midwest BankCentre’s embrace of St. Louis’ Bosnian community, with Bosnian-speaking employees at four of its 19 branches. In March 2018, the bank received the Bosnia Memory Project Community Leader Award for its long-term support of the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University which is working to create an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors.

Midwest BankCentre’s outreach to the local Hispanic and Latino community has included a special mortgage product for immigrants with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but no social security number. Jim Watson, chairman and CEO of Midwest BankCentre, was recently honored with the Chairman’s Award by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for lifting up the Hispanic community of metro St. Louis.

ICBA also noted the bank’s diversification of its legal board in recent years and its 2012 formation of an advisory board composed of local educators, public servants, clergy and business owners to ensure newly developed products and services meet customers’ needs.

“Community service and volunteerism are hallmarks of community banking,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “We commend and thank Midwest BankCentre and its employees for their unwavering dedication and commitment to ensuring the vitality of their communities and the financial health of local residents who call it home.”

More than 100 community banks and employees have been recognized since ICBA launched the National Community Bank Service Award program in 2002. Bank technology services provider FIS, Jacksonville, Fla., sponsored this year’s program. Midwest BankCentre and other award recipients will be featured in the September issue of Independent Banker® magazine. 

Midwest BankCentre, a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906, employs a staff of nearly 300 working at 19 bank locations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Further details are available at www.midwestbankcentre.com. 

The Independent Community Bankers of America® is the nation’s voice for nearly 5,700 community banks of all sizes and charter types. It is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.

Midwest BankCentre Completes Remodeling of Clayton, Mo. Branch

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A fixture of downtown Clayton now has a fresh look. Locally-owned Midwest BankCentre has completed a top-to-bottom remodeling of its branch at 8020 Forsyth Ave. near Brentwood.

Opened in 2000, the full-service bank has new floor coverings, lighting, finishes and signage plus the capability to serve drive-up customers from the lobby via a remote tube/video system.

The lobby features a new i-café where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee, access a complimentary computer station and transact business at one of four teller stations, including a station accessible to persons with disabilities.

Outside, one drive-up lane is dedicated to a 24-hour ATM and the other to daily financial transactions. Four full-time universal bankers extend the bank’s trademark highly personal service to customers. “When we opened in 2000, bank assets totaled $720 million and deposits were $531 million,” said Ethan Bowers, Clayton branch manager. “Today, assets are $1.9 billion and deposits are $1.4 billion. Our Clayton branch is perfectly positioned to continue making meaningful contributions to our growth.”

The branch is open weekdays, with drive-up hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and lobby hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.MidwestBankCentre.com.

Midwest BankCentre has been a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906. Currently, it ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets of about $1.9 billion and deposits of $1.4 billion. It provides integrated financial services with expertise in commercial, retail and digital banking; business cash management; mortgage lending; consumer lending; and insurance. The bank is a local leader in the St. Louis Regional Unbanked Task Forceand its Bank-On Save-Up St. Louis initiative. Since 2001, Midwest BankCentre has consecutively achieved the Bauer Financial 5-Star Superior financial rating each quarter.

Photo Above (From Left) Ethan Bowers, Dale Oberkfell, Lisa Bulczak, Erin Erhart & Jim Watson

Midwest BankCentre Presented with Community Leader Award from Bosnia Memory Project

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Midwest BankCentre, a leading community investor in the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University, was recognized on March 27 with the inaugural Bosnia Memory Project Community Leader Award. The awards event attracted more than 100 Bosnian business leaders, bank customers, Fontbonne representatives and community members.

“Midwest BankCentre has been a leader in community engagement and in serving St. Louis’ Bosnian community,” said Dr. Ben Moore, co-founder and director of the Bosnia Memory Project, which is dedicated to establishing an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors, especially those living in metropolitan St. Louis. “The bank has done exemplary work with such organizations as the International Institute, Beyond Housing, and the Bosnia Memory Project, working collaboratively to reach the underserved.”

The Bosnian population in St. Louis totals more than 60,000, many of whom are served by 17 Bosnian-speaking Midwest BankCentre team members working at five of the bank’s 19 branches: Bevo, Lindbergh, Lemay, Oakville and Grand. St. Louis is home to the largest Bosnian community outside of Bosnia. Nearly all these community members came to St. Louis as a result of the war and genocide perpetrated in Bosnia from 1992-1995. Bosnians were allowed to immigrate to the U.S. as refugees, and St. Louis became a preferred destination due to the availability of jobs and inexpensive housing. Today, they are homeowners, business owners and significant contributors to the local economy and culture.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be deeply invested in the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne,” said Jim Watson, chairman and chief executive officer of Midwest BankCentre. “Over the past several years, we’ve developed strong bonds with Bosnian-American immigrants as both employees and customers of Midwest BankCentre. More than 25 percent of our 19 branches are staffed by at least one employee whose native tongue is Bosnian. Our community banking relationships have helped a number of local businesses start up and grow as family businesses and reliable employers.”

Editor’s note:  Midwest BankCentre has been a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906. With a staff of nearly 300 working at 19 bank locations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County, it ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets of about $1.9 billion and deposits of $1.4 billion. It provides integrated financial services with expertise in commercial, retail and digital banking; business cash management; mortgage lending; consumer lending; and insurance. www.midwestbankcentre.com

Fontbonne University is a Catholic institution of higher education offering liberal arts and professional programs, as well as evening and online formats for busy adults. Fontbonne was founded in 1923 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. www.fontbonne.edu.

Photo Above:  More than 100 Bosnian business leaders, Midwest BankCentre customers, Fontbonne representatives and community members attended the first Bosnia Memory Project Community Leader Award presentation to Midwest BankCentre on March 27. Gathering for the occasion were (from left) Midwest BankCentre Chairman and CEO Jim Watson, Fontbonne University President Michael Pressimone, Bosnian business leader and bank board member Ibraham Vajzovic, and Dr. Ben Moore, co-founder and director of the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne.

 

Midwest BankCentre and Friendly Temple Church Team to Open

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First New Full-Service Bank Branch in North St. Louis Since 2009 

More Than 150 Accounts Already Opened at New Branch; Targeting Growth to $35 Million in Deposits in Three Years

Midwest BankCentre and Friendly Temple Church today officially opened a full-service bank at the church’s North St. Louis campus to serve previously unbanked and underserved residents and businesses in the rebounding Wells-Goodfellow community.  It is the first new full-service bank branch opened in North St. Louis since 2009.

“We see the potential to make the Friendly Temple location a $35 million in deposits branch within three years,” said Alex D. Fennoy, executive vice president and director of community and economic development for Midwest BankCentre. “We are off to a strong start with more than 150 checking, savings, CD and money market accounts already on the books.”

The bank created five new full-time positions. “The bank is more than just an economic catalyst,” noted LaTonya Jackson, branch manager. “It is a symbol of safety and stability that adds credibility to the neighborhood. Short-term, residents now have a reputable alternative to predatory check cashing and payday lending. Longer-term, small business owners offering needed neighborhood services will have greater confidence in locating here.”

Located at 5501 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive at Belt, the branch serves customers in an open, airy space with two indoor teller stations, computer kiosks, and a community meeting room with a big-screen TV, free WiFi and a whiteboard. The room is available for use free of charge to community groups. The branch also has two drive-up lanes, one with a 24-hour ATM. A second ATM is located inside the church lobby.

The architectural firm of St. Louis Design Alliance, under the leadership of Project Manager Duane Thompson, created the bank out of 2,750 square feet of repurposed office space on the church campus. O’Toole Design Associates, a WBE firm, designed the interiors. Friendly Temple Church acted as general contractor for the project, with Friendly Temple Church member Zac Hamilton as project manager. Eleven MBE/WBE firms collectively completed a majority of on-site construction. (For a list of participating MBE and WBE contractors, please see “Editor’s note” below.)

“The rapid growth in accounts affirms our belief of unmet demand in the Dr. Martin Luther King Corridor for a full-service bank willing to partner and equip aspirational families and businesses with the financial tools to succeed,” added Friendly Temple Church Senior Pastor Rev. Michael Jones. Under the auspices of Robert Fulton Community Development, Inc., the 12,000-member church has, since 1996, invested more than $100 million in revitalizing areas bordering its campus.

Friendly Temple becomes the sixth MidwestBankCentre branch to operate in the city of St. Louis and the third serving neighborhoods in North St. Louis and near North St. Louis County. “As our ‘Rising Together’ theme affirms, MidwestBankCentre is fully committed to providing smart, sensible banking options to the unbanked and underbanked residents of majority minority communities,” said Midwest BankCentre Chairman and CEO Jim Watson.

Midwest BankCentre has been a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906. It ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets of about $1.8 billion and deposits of $1.3 billion. It provides integrated financial services with expertise in commercial, retail and digital banking; business cash management; mortgage lending; consumer lending; and insurance.

The bank is a local leader in the St. Louis Regional Unbanked Task Force and its Bank-On Save-Up St. Louis initiative since its inception in 2011. Midwest BankCentre has consecutively achieved the Bauer Financial 5-Star Superior financial rating each quarter since 2001.

Midwest BankCentre (www.midwestbankcentre.com), founded in St. Louis in 1906, employs a staff of 300 currently working at 21 bank locations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. In April 2015, it acquired Southern Commercial Bank, formed in 1891. In July 2016, it purchased Bremen Bank & Trust Co., founded in 1868.

More than 60 percent of the construction and supply services for development of Midwest BankCentre’s Friendly Temple branch were purchased from Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or Women Business Enterprise (WBE) firms. Friendly Temple Church served as general contractor.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBC) Firms

  • Barry’s Sewer & Drain, LLC, plumbing
  • Faison & Associates Consulting and Environmental Services (F.A.C.E.S. LLC, concrete and grading
  • Harambee Masonry Service, masonry (nonprofit which exclusively hires minorities)
  • Michael Austin Painting, painting
  • Philip Person Roofing, roofing
  • Showcase Renovations, LLC, carpentry
  • Superior Lawncare Services, landscaping
  • Williams Heating and Cooling, LLC, HVAC

Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Firms

  • ACME Glass Corporation, glass and windows
  • O’Toole Design Associates, interiors
  • Prints Charm Art, custom art

Other Construction Team Members

  • A to Z Laminating Specialists, Inc., casework
  • Acoustical Ceilings, LLC, ceiling
  • Aladdin Insulation of Missouri, insulation
  • Architectural Sheet Metal Systems, Inc., canopy sheet metal
  • EK Design, LLC, flooring
  • G&S Architectural Products, window treatments
  • H&G/Schultz Door, handicapped door
  • Imperial Ornamental Metal Co., Inc., steel
  • MJ Products Co., toilet accessories
  • Negwer Door Systems, doors
  • Supreme Drywall, Inc., drywall
  • Triton Electric Co. LLC, electrical
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