Life Happens Op-Ed

Originally posted in the St. Louis American on 4.2.2020

As many of you know, I joined Midwest BankCentre as CEO a little over a year ago after nearly 20 years of leading institutions that provide services to sustain and maintain life and change life trajectories. I joined the bank because I believed that everyone should have access to financial capital – to fund educations, start businesses or buy homes. I joined a private institution that is more than 100 years old, FDIC insured and not subject to the broad market swings we are seeing today that impact publically traded banks.

With the recent crisis, and its long-ranging and yet unknown impacts, I’m now not talking about having access to capital to start a small business, but rather having access to capital to save your small business.  Your deposits are safe and FDIC insured with Midwest BankCentre. I’m not talking about having access to capital to buy a home, but to save your home. We are working with our customers to ensure that what they have fought for they are in a position to keep.  And, with countless workers laid off or furloughed, having access to cash to go to the grocery store and feed your family, without having to go to a predatory pay day loan establishment that will charge you almost 400%. In the midst of a crisis, some will increase their attempts to take advantage of the most vulnerable. Let us be wise about these institutions.

A few months ago, I published a white paper, David vs. Goliath: The Fight to Keep ‘Community’ in Banking. In it, I argued that there is a reason why community banks are important. There is a reason why, especially in uncertain times like these, relationships matter. Our customers are our neighbors. Our customers are our friends. Our customers are our business partners. We know your name and we speak your language, literally. We understand what you are up against, and we will find ways to help now and in the future.

We understand the uncertainty you are living through. We feel your worry and concerns. When we see near-empty coffee shops, we know that everyone from the owner to the bus boy is hurting. When we see schools close, we know parents are struggling to provide safe, affordable care so they can work—and for some families, food so their kids can eat.

These are the very times that community banks matter most. Midwest BankCentre recently augmented our Life Happens product suite, which includes emergency unsecured, low-interest loans for small businesses, as well as emergency personal loans. We also offer Pay Day Alternative Loans to help you get quick access to cash at rates well below what payday lenders charge. And, for individuals who might have compromised credit scores, our CD Credit Booster Loan and Life Happens Checking accounts are specifically designed to help you build your credit back up when we come through the other side.

The St. Louis region has been our home for over 100 years, and Midwest BankCentre would like to help our neighbors during this time. Remember, our bank is private and FDIC insured, and it is not subject to the broad market swings we are seeing today that affect publicly traded banks. In times like these, we can act together as a community so that nobody is left out. When you bank your values, you are saying, “I can help.” You are saying, “I will be there for my neighbors,” You are saying, “I will invest in my community by banking where my heart is.”

Please give me a call at 314-446-3175 or email me at if I or one of my colleagues can be of any help. I pray you and your families all stay well.

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