Central Bank has been recognized by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) for the bank's investment in distressed communities. For the past six years, the bank has been granted awards under CDFI's Bank Enterprise Award Program.
Minority Owned Financial Institution
As a minority owned bank, Central Bank has been approved to participate in the U.S. Treasury's Minority Bank Deposit Program. This voluntary program encourages Federal agencies, State and local governments and the private sector to use Minority Bank Deposit Program participants as depositaries and financial agents. Banks are certified by the Financial Management Service and included on an annual program roster.
The bank has had a relationship with Old Northeast, Inc. many years. It has partnered with the community development corporation in several neighborhood rehabilitation efforts. Recently, the bank joined with Old Northeast to construct thirty (30) new homes in the northeast community. All of the homes are designed to compliment the existing historic housing stock and are priced to be affordable for low- and moderate-income families.
Central Bank has been involved with Historic Northeast Restoration Corporation since its inception. HNRC is a business/economic development corporation interested in providing a healthy, growing business population in the northeast. HNRC has recently joined with other organizations to form the Kansas City Initiative (KCI). The not-for-profit corporation was formed to manufacture modular housing for the inner city.
The bank has formed another community partnership with the Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance and Bishop Sullivan Community Center to provide rehabilitation and revitalization of the housing in the Blue Valley area. The bank made a $65,000 grant as seed money for the project, as well as a line of credit to finance the purchase of houses for rehabilitation.
Central Bank has invested in other ways for the residential revitalization of the Northeast. Since 1994, in conjunction with Old Northeast, Inc., the bank has offered a special low-rate, 3% or 5%, home improvement loan program for owner-occupied residences of the six neighborhoods designated by Old Northeast, Inc. This program has enabled many northeast homeowners to fix up their property, and property values have increased as a direct result.
The bank has created a new loan program to help individuals without a credit history, or those with a poor credit history, to establish and repair their credit. The Credit Development Loan Program enables the borrower to put the funds into a certificate of deposit as security for the loan. The loan is then written at a term not to exceed three years. Upon repayment of the loan, the CD can be used as down payment of a home or for whatever purpose the borrower initially stated.
Central Bank helped organize the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and management continues to hold a position on its board and helps to guide its program.
The bank has concern for the neighborhood residents on other levels besides housing and small businesses. Those include serving on the Safe Neighborhood Grant Advisory Council, which was formed to bring back a quality of life residents enjoyed when the area was first established. This group addresses the issues of crime, tenant occupancy, drugs, abandoned properties and other consequences of neighborhood blight. The bank has also served a vital part in Newhouse, which provides refuge and counseling for battered women, and the establishment of their new location.
Central Bank has been a proactive member of the First Step Fund since its beginning here in Kansas City. The Fund was organized to assist small business entrepreneurs. The applicant receives education and counseling through the Fast Track Program on how to create a business plan and the basics of running a small business. Upon successful completion of the program, that person can also obtain a microloan not to exceed $5,000 as seed money from the First Step Fund.
The bank has participated in the "Bank at School" program, which was established by the Missouri State Treasurer's Office, since its inception in 1995. Once a month, representatives of the bank visit the fifth grade classes of a neighborhood elementary school. They give training in basic banking and provide incentives for a savings program.
In January 2002 Central Bank partnered with the Academy of Finance and the Learning Exchange to provide an Individual Development Account (IDA) to secondary students (middle school and high school) from low- and moderate-income families at the Westport Academy as a means of saving for their college education. Student savings will be matched dollar for dollar based on a $50,000 grant from Central Bank and a like amount from the government.
Central Bank was chosen by the IRS and the FDIC to become a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center to help low- moderate-income families prepare their 2001 tax returns and obtain any earned income tax credits for which they qualify.
Reading Buddies is a program established with Scarrett Elementary School where employees go to the school during working hours to help teach students to read. Many of these students have English as a second language and don't get this kind of help at home.