Banking | St. Louis Public Radio


Lisa Servon, Ray Boshara and Veta Jeffrey discussed the growing trend of Americans opting out of traditional banking.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Unbanking – you may have heard the term before, but what does it actually mean? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed “The Unbanking of America” with author Lisa Servon, who researches why a growing number of people in the United States are turning to alternatives other than traditional banks.

Timebanking is a concept that allows people to exchange hours of services for others' hours of services.
uditha wickramanayaka | Flickr

What if there was a way to exchange goods and services without needing your wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards?

Well, there actually is: a new-old method of currency called “timebanking.” Timebanking provides participants with the opportunity to exchange time credits for work. One time credit is equal to one hour of service, for any and every service.

St. Louis is home to such a form of currency in The Cowry Collective Timebank, founded by Chinyere E. Oteh. She said that timebanking provides wider access to goods and services for community members.

A customer speaks to a teller at St. Louis Community Credit Union's Gateway Branch on Friday, Sept. 1, 2016 in northwest St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Triple A Fish House on Union Boulevard in northwest St. Louis has a new neighbor: the Gateway Branch of the St. Louis Community Credit Union.

“I’m so grateful that they’re there,” said Allison Carson, who’s been selling “the best fish and tripe in St. Louis” at the same location south of Natural Bridge Avenue for 14 years.

“They are for the community. They give us loans with a low-interest rate.”

Alex Fennoy, Paul Woodruff and Mike O'Brien discussed banking resources for under-resourced people on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Smart Women, Smart Money.” “Home Buying.” “First Time Homebuying.” These are the titles of three upcoming classes being held at the local financial services and education non-profit Prosperity Connection. The organization works to help under-resourced people in St.

Athrasher | Flickr

St. Louis area banks are becoming more accessible to low-income and minority neighborhoods. That’s according to a new report released by the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance.

In a survey of 23 banks, the alliance found that St. Louis banks have added at least seven branches in low-income or minority neighborhoods in the past three years. The banks have also made at least $2.4 billion in development loans and investments since 2012, earmarked for people and communities that don’t have much money.

(via Flickr/iChaz)

Regions Bank is now offering free financial counseling in north St. Louis County through a partnership with a national non-profit called Operation Hope.

Operation Hope counselor Bonita Williams says it will help anyone who asks improve their credit score, become more financially stable and work towards goals like buying a home or starting a business—no strings attached.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz

(Updated at 10:45 am Friday to reflect that Gateway Bank did open additional locations.)

Think about everything you spend money on in a month. There’s housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, a night out with friends here and there.

Now imagine paying for all of those things without using a debit card or check.  

That would put you among the ranks of the unbanked. In 2012, the term applied to 10 percent of the population in the St. Louis metro area. Local groups want to get 20,000 of them a bank account by the middle of 2015.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Steven Peterson of Belleville is one of 4.2 million Americans who will find out in the next few weeks how much -- if any -- compensation they will receive from their lenders after a government-ordered review of questionable foreclosure processes.

Peterson isn’t expecting much, although his mortgage servicer – PNC Mortgage – was one of 13 companies that earlier this year reached a settlement with federal banking regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Bank.

(via Flickr/Images_Of_Money)

So, another week, and yet more news the U.S. housing market is slowly returning to normal.

Numbers released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department show that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000. That's up from 910,000 in January. And it's the second-fastest pace since June 2008, behind December's rate of 982,000.

A Rust Belt dilemma: demolition or redevelopment

Jul 16, 2012
Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio

The City of St. Louis has some of the highest  home vacancy rates in the country, and last month the mayor of Detroit made news when he laid out ambitious plans to demolish as many as 10,000 vacant buildings by the end of his term.

With costs for maintenance and upkeep running in the tens of millions, many Rust Belt cities often find it expedient to simply demolish empty buildings in favor of vacant lots and the hope of future development.

But taking down problem properties creates a whole new set of issues which are often overlooked.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) has announced an agreement with the Missouri Bankers Association over access to bank records.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) will push for legislation next year he says will enable his office to oversee the state’s Division of Finance without interference from state agencies or private entities.

The proposed bill is, in part, the result of an ongoing legal battle with the Missouri Banker’s Association.  Schweich says the MBA is seeking to block his office from examining how the Finance Division examined the records of a number of failed banks in Missouri.

Ill. to begin seizing abandoned cash after 1 year

Aug 9, 2011
(via Flickr/borman818 )

Forgotten bank accounts could be put to work for taxpayers much more quickly under a new Illinois law.

The measure says the state can take control of abandoned funds after just one year instead of five years. The rightful owners can claim the money if they ever show up, but Illinois will get to collect interest on the funds.

Gov. Quinn signed the law Monday.

(Flickr Creative Commons User taberandrew)

Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States, but they've also landed themselves in $137 million worth of trouble.

The bank's problems may be Missouri's gain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 21, 2008 - There are no heroes to be found in today's economic crisis, and it won't be over any time soon, says St. Louis economist Murray Weidenbaum.

"I've been saying for some time that this is going to be a long, deep recession; we're not going to come quickly out of it. I hope that some time next year we'll be hitting bottom and the economy will start turning up -- but not dramatically,'' Weidenbaum told the Beacon on Thursday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 6, 2008 - Clayton-based Enterprise Bank and Trust, with $2.2 billion in total assets, is one of the largest local commercial lenders in the St. Louis area, helping to fund such high-profile deals as the $35 million 14th Street Mall redevelopment project and the $40 million mixed-use Cupples Station apartments and retail space near Busch Stadium, among many others.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 24, 2008 - Things will get worse before they get better. That was the consensus of experts gathered at a forum on the economic crisis Friday. But, they said, St. Louis and Missouri will likely feel a less severe impact than places like California and Florida.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 18, 2008 - Washington's intervention in the recent financial meltdown will probably make money for taxpayers, was "elegantly designed" and is in no way a prelude to a second Great Depression, a panel of financial experts said Friday at Washington University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - Take it from Mike Walsh, president and CEO of Eagle Bank, a 97-year-old community bank in St. Louis County with $700 million in assets.

The $250 billion federal infusion for the troubled "big boys" in the U.S. banking system is going down hard among the ranks of community banks that pride themselves on conservative lending policies, supporting their customer base and keeping a whistle-clean balance sheet. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 13, 2008 - In a deteriorating economy, there's good news and bad news for investors in St. Louis bank stocks.

The bad news is that most of these stocks have declined for the 12 months that ended Oct. 10. The good news is that they have done better -- or, rather, less worse -- than the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index (down 42 percent) and the S&P Banking Index of larger banks (down 59 percent).