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Year in Review 2015: Southwestern Illinois
 
Powers named Bank of Edwardsville’s 13th president, opens new branches

 Special to the Illinois Business Journal
p05 powersPowers    The year 2015 was significant for the Bank of Edwardsville beginning with the hiring of Kevin Powers as the institution’s 13th president and chief executive officer
March 2.
   “I did a lot of research on The Bank of Edwardsville and found an institution with an incredibly rich, 147-year history and a culture and values that are closely aligned with mine,” Powers said. “I also found a very stable, safe and strong financial institution with a reputation of customer and community service second to none in the area,”
    And, the bank marked a new chapter in its long history when it opened its first branch on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River on July 3. The new St. Louis Center is located at 4700 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in St. Louis. Powers said the focus of the center will be on commercial and mortgage lending as well as wealth management.
    The bank also debuted a couple of area firsts when it opened a financial facility in a local library--one that offers staff fluent in Spanish and English — in Fairmont City, Ill.
    Rob Schwartz, senior vice president of retail banking, said the facility at 2870 N. 44th St., is believed to be the first bilingual banking branch in all the St. Louis area.
    Schwartz said the bank began looking about two years ago to better serve the Hispanic market as part of a larger effort to bring financial services to historically underserved populations. That’s when bank staff found the available space inside the Fairmont City Library Center, which is a hub for the community.
    The Mississippi Valley Library District was still in the process of converting the facility after obtaining the former post building of the local American Legion in 2008.
    The library offers children’s programs, adult education and access to technology. The library’s mission dovetails nicely with a bank that stresses being involved in the community.
    “This is a true perfect fit for us,” Schwartz said.
    Karlos Ramirez, executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis said Hispanics represent the fastest-growing population in the market. The city of St. Louis saw a 59 percent growth in the 2010 Census; in the county it was 72 percent; and in the state of Missouri it was 79 percent.
    The location is the bank’s 20th banking center. It is considered a full-service facility that offers retail services such as checking and savings accounts, mortgage loan products, commercial loan products and investment services.