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.