Pagedale unveils first-ever bank
Midwest BankCentre (Photo by Wiley Price)
By Bridjes O’Neil
From The St. Louis American
More than 200 people, including County Executive Charlie A. Dooley, witnessed the ribbon cutting of the new Midwest BankCentre branch in Pagedale, located inside the new Rosie Shields Manor Senior Living Community facility.
Mayor of Pagedale Mary Louise Carter looked on as Chris Krehmeyer, president and CEO of Beyond Housing, and Ron Barnes, Midwest BankCentre (MBC) chairman, recently un-veiled the city’s first-ever full-service bank.
“This is a great day for the City of Pagedale,” Mayor Carter said. “This means convenience for our residents because they can now bank right in their own city at a financial institution with a long history of excellent service.”
MBC is a local community bank franchise that has received the Bauer Financial 5 Star Superior rating for financial strength and stability consistently since 2001. With more than one billion in assets, MBC is one of the largest privately-held community banks in St. Louis.
The Pagedale branch joins six other locations – MBC headquarters is in Lemay – with three clustered in South County, one in Clayton and another in O’Fallon.
“Since we began in 1906, our goal has always been to help strengthen communities, to help make others successful,” Barnes said. “This tradition will continue at our Pagedale branch.”
At its Pagedale branch, MBC will offer products targeted toward low- to moderate-income families who often rely on costly alternative financial outlets like pay-day loans and check cashing facilities. At 29 percent, the St. Louis metro area, including Pagedale, has the third highest percentage of unbanked African-American households in the nation, according to a 2011 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC).
“Over the years, the banking industry has erroneously made the conclusion that there wasn’t a profit to be made in low-income and minority communities,” Krehmeyer said. “One of the things that a lot of folks in the community have is distrust for banking institutions.”
At MBC, residents now have access to checking and savings accounts, business cash management, mortgage lending and wealth management with one-on-one service and free monthly financial educational workshops.
MBC is located inside the new Rosie Shields Manor Senior Living Community facility. The facility is a four-story, 42-unit senior housing and retail complex with nearly 50,000 sq. ft. located at 6810 Page Ave. It’s across the street from Save-A-Lot, Pagedale’s first grocery store in over 40 years, completed in August 2010.
The senior living housing and retail complex is the second enterprise undertaking in Pagedale’s TIF Redevelopment District, which is part of Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Initiative.
The 24:1 Initiative has a mission to build strong communities while engaging families and creating successful children. The initiative primarily focuses on 24 St. Louis County municipalities that fall within the Normandy School District; Pagedale is one of those municipalities.
Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Community Plan has identified 11 Impact Areas it will implement to help accomplish its mission. Thus far, Pagedale residents have gained access to jobs and employment readiness, residential stability, livable communities and financial capability courtesy of the grocery store and new housing and retail complex.
The senior living housing facility is an affordable option for seniors who often rely on government assistance like Social Security benefits. Rent starts at $500 and amenities include free laundry services and prescription delivery, a hair salon and barber shop with interior and exterior security cameras. Residents have 3,000 sq. ft. of secure outdoor living space for gardening and exercise.
“We are excited about providing affordable senior housing that will allow our elders to remain close to their families, enjoy a wonderful facility and have convenient access to affordable food and transportation,” Krehmeyer said.
However, Krehmeyer said, it’s only the beginning.
“At the end of the day, it’s clear that there’s still more work to be done,” he said. Beyond Housing plans to make its way farther down Page Avenue. Future developments include a health clinic and a small movie theatre.
Steven Engelhardt, communications director for U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay and Stanton Lawrence, superintendent of the Normandy School District, were among more than 200 people who witnessed the “historic” bank ribbon cutting.
The celebration continued the next day when MBC hosted a senior’s luncheon and clergy breakfast at the bank attended by Rev. Nathaniel Malone of First Baptist Community Church of Pagedale.
The following Saturday, Majic 100.3 kept the party going with a live broadcast during the community family fun day event. Residents were able to tour the new bank and meet bank executives. There were plenty of food, prizes and games to entertain even the youngest family member.