Midwest Regional Bank’s Michael Bender

Midwest Regional Bank prides itself on having the versatility of a large institution and the personal service of a community bank.

Launched in 1894, Midwest moved into the St. Louis market in 2009, quickly establishing itself as one of the top small business-lending banks in the state. Now with the addition of three Clayton, Chesterfield and Sunset Hills area presidents, it is poised for a large local expansion.

The Festus-based bank offers personal banking, including checking, savings and loans; as well as business banking, from checking to commercial and small business lending. In addition, it has a 12-member staff in the St. Louis market for residential lending.

As a community bank, Midwest offers tailored products to fit the needs of customers, rather than the same cookie-cutter services for all clients, says president and CEO Michael Bender. “We view ourselves as a small patrol torpedo boat among battleships. We can easily maneuver and adapt to customers’ needs and requirements.” Closures of large financial institutions, as well as bank mergers and acquisitions, have freed up a significant amount of assets and paved the way for community banks such as Midwest to make a name for themselves locally, Bender notes. “We feel there is a niche for another community bank that can understand the local market, make decisions locally and tailor banking based on the needs of the Clayton market.”

Midwest assembled a team of banking veterans to lead its St. Louis offices. Bender, a banking professional of 35 years who has worked in Missouri for 23 years, gained his experience at both community banks, such as Cape Girardeau-based Capital Bank Group; and large financial institutions, serving as East-Central Missouri regional president for U.S. Bank. To broaden its reach, Midwest recently brought on three new team members: Sanford Scott, as Clayton-area president; Kevin Carter, as Chesterfield-area president; and Gary Siddens Jr., as Sunset Hills-area president. The three longtime area bankers will work to grow the bank’s presence in their respective markets, utilizing their primary area of expertise: small business. The bank has gained a noteworthy reputation for the specialty, recently garnering a No. 1 ranking for small business lending from the Small Business Administration of Eastern Missouri.

Midwest also is focused on a new capital campaign. For those looking to invest, the bank is in the process of raising $8 million in capital. The funds would add to its positive track record, as it successfully raised more than $20 million during the past four years. “Our credit quality is strong,” Bender says. “And since we just moved into the St. Louis market in 2009, it’s a good chance to get in on the ground floor of a profitable, healthy bank.”

As for the future, the outlook is bright, Bender says. Midwest plans to expand significantly by opening multiple local loan production offices beginning next year. “And as those thrive, we will convert them to full-service branches. Our hope is to have eight to 12 branches in the St. Louis market in the upcoming years.”

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