Bridges

Bridges Fall 2015

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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I N D E X T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K o f S T . L O U I S | C E N T R A L T O A M E R I C A ' S E C O N O M Y F A L L 2 0 1 5 4 7 10 A Global Perspective of the U.S. Workforce in the Midst of Technological Advancement Cross-Currents: Powering Creative Readiness cdac spotlight Inspire, Prepare, Connect: Building a Talent Pipeline By Jeanne C. Marra I t isn't every day that a bank branch in the Midwest would schedule a fiesta to celebrate a grand opening. But then again, it isn't every day that a financial institution opens a full- service, fully bilingual banking center in a community that the 2010 census describes as more than 70 percent Hispanic. Just five minutes northeast of St. Louis' Gateway Arch, Fairmont City, Ill., officially welcomed its first financial institution, eBANK of Edwardsville (eBANK), in mid- November after several years of partnership in the community. e location of the new banking center? Where else but the very place the com- munity goes for many of its services— the Fairmont City Library, also fully bilingual, offering services in both Spanish and English. "A Library Is a Place You Trust" Fairmont City librarian and longtime resident Katie Heaton recalls how the current relationship with Sí, Hablo Español Illinois-Based Bank Opens Bilingual Branch…Inside a Public Library eBANK began, with a visit about three years ago from Sandy Smith, business and diversity development coordinator and CRA loan officer at eBANK. Smith, herself Hispanic and bilingual, was seeking to deepen her bank's outreach into the Hispanic community, a market traditionally underserved in financial services. For Smith, the library was a great place to start because it's a place to learn, a place people trust and a community hub. "Sandy asked me two key ques- tions," recalls Heaton of their first few meetings. "What does your commu- nity need? And do you know anyone who has tried to buy a house but can't?" Heaton didn't take long to answer either question. As a provider of com- munity services well beyond books, the library was already addressing numerous needs for members of the area, almost 40 percent of whom live below the poverty level. Among its services: English as a Second Lan- guage (ESL) classes to assist with language barriers, financial literacy training, bike repair days to enable residents to commute to work, Skype training sessions to facilitate commu- nication for the technology-deficient, and college-readiness programs, to name a few. For the answer to Smith's second question, Heaton immediately turned to a fellow employee who was unable to purchase a house, despite the fact that she and her husband had jobs and about $3,000 in savings. Lack of a credit score was forcing this young family to continue living with her parents. After attending one of Smith's financial coaching seminars, the employee returned hopeful—ready to work one-on-one with Smith to build her credit score and motivated to take whatever steps were necessary >> continued on Page 3 TheBANK of Edwardsville's fully bilingual staff have found a home within Fairmont City Library, along the famous Route 66.

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