Central Bank supports local business amid COVID-19 pandemic

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor

Central Bank of Kansas City (CBKC) has supported small businesses and individuals for over 70 years. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the locally owned bank has supported its community by administering Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, feeding senior citizens, supporting local classrooms and sharing financial education resources.

CBKC was chartered in 1950 as a state banking corporation. Its first branch was at 3030 Truman Road, remembered for its rotating sign with clock on one side and “Time to Save” on the other. In the 1960s, the Tutera family of Kansas City gained a majority share of Central Bank.

By 1975 CBKC had moved to a larger home at 2301 Independence Blvd., which still serves Northeast Kansas City clients today. There is a second location at 3740 Truman Rd.

In 2019, CBKC welcomed a new president and CEO, Steve Giles. A veteran of the Kansas City banking industry, Steve Giles succeeded Bill Dana, who held the position for 28 years. Bill Dana is currently serving as Vice-Chairman of the CBKC Board of Directors.

“Central Bank has a long history of supporting the Kansas City community,” Giles said. “The bank is well capitalized and a strong performer in the industry, which positions it well for continued success in a rapidly changing financial landscape.”

Since 1998, CBKC has been proud to be a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The CDFI Fund is a U.S. Treasury initiative to increase economic opportunity and promote community development investments for underserved populations and in distressed communities.

As a CDFI, Central Bank believes in investing fully into its community. That certification comes with a responsibility to deploy assets into low-to-moderate income communities — a role Central Bank has gladly fulfilled for more than 22 years.

The CDFI Fund has awarded CBKC a total of $456 million in New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) – 85% of which went directly to projects in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois communities. These projects have created and maintained around 13,000 full-time jobs, as well as construction job and part-time positions.

Within Kansas City, these NMTC projects have provided support and innovation in many different sectors including education, healthcare and healthy food in distressed areas. Projects include Operation Breakthrough, Harvesters, Donnelly College, Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center, Truman Medical Center, The Merc Co+op, and the highly anticipated Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City’s (JAKC) Youth Learning Lab, which opens soon.

JAKC Youth Learning Lab is an experiential learning center that will offer kids an opportunity to explore careers, develop critical thinking skills, learn financial responsibility, and grow in understanding of what makes a community successful.

“With Central Bank’s partnership and bringing New Markets Tax Credit opportunity to the table, it allowed us to secure enough of the resources that we needed to actually begin construction and start the development on the leasehold improvements for the Junior Achievement new learning lab,” said JAKC President and CEO Megan Sturges Stanfield.

The most sizable attraction of the JAKC Youth Learning Lab will be the 14,000- square-foot JA BizTown, a miniature city built to teach 4th-6th graders about jobs, civic engagement, and the components of a thriving community.

At the onset of the pandemic in April 2020, Central Bank stepped up to donate and deliver groceries to homebound seniors through Don Bosco Senior Center in Columbus Park. CBKC staff stuffed insulated grocery bags with fresh and non-perishable food for about 75 seniors. Some CBKC staff have continued to volunteer each month at the Harvester’s Mobile Food Pantry on the second Friday at Don Bosco.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with support from the Department of the Treasury, providing small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits, and a limited amount to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

In the first round of the PPP, CBKC funded 170 loans that totaled over $23 million, helping nonprofits like Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center and Connecting for Good, who serve families and individuals with technology assistance and childcare during the pandemic.

“Central Bank of Kansas City is excited to work with our customers and neighbors throughout our market to help facilitate the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program during the recent uncertain economic times,” Jeff Murphy, Chief Lending Officer, said. “We believe it’s important not only to help our customers and community gain access to the program, but also to work directly with them to make the process as seamless as possible. Through March of 2021, Central Bank of Kansas City has worked with over 40 businesses in the Northeast Neighborhood and surrounding areas and has funded almost three million dollars of PPP loans. We are honored to support the community and look forward to the continued economic growth in the Northeast Neighborhood.”

Tom Esselman, CEO of Connecting for Good called the PPP Loan a “lifesaver,” and Deborah Mann, Executive Director and Founder of Emmanuel said, “This was a game-changer for us – we can keep people employed, care for our essential workers’ children and help support our families with their needs.”

In Round 2, they facilitated the payment of 20 loans on the first draw for upwards of $6 million, and 43 on the second draw for over $5 million.

“We know our city and community is struggling now, but so glad we have a way to help our important small businesses and non-profits through this challenging time,” Giles said as the second round of PPP loans opened on April 27. “It’s been so gratifying seeing how our community is coming together in many meaningful ways.”

In 2008, CBKC partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and other partners to start Money Smart KC, which helps present hundreds of educational programs to adults, teens and children. Now, there is a team of Money Smart FinLit experts delivering financial education to the Workforce Training Program (WTP) at the Kansas City airport. The Money Smart team is led by Gigi Wolf from the Federal Reserve, and Sarah Cousineau, VP Marketing/Community Outreach for CBKC.

The next two days of FinLit education for the sixth group of WTP will start on May 13 as part of WTP 3-week sessions. There will be five groups in 2021 that will be learning and starting their new careers with this innovative program. For more information, check out the website here. To check out the new airport and the progress, follow KCI-Edgemore on Facebook.

Central Bank’s lobby is now open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Masks are required.

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