In January 2012, staff from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis gathered a few local bankers together to suggest the formation of a professional organization to actively promote efforts to meet the credit needs of the community. The Metropolitan St. Louis Community Reinvestment Association (MSLCRA) was established. After just one year, we had 28 member banks and had sponsored or participated in several community outreach events, provided professional development and networking opportunities to local bankers, and shared presentations from local community-based organizations.
The MSLCRA’s purpose is to:
Any bank or savings bank that has an assessment area in the St. Louis MSA and is subject to the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act is encouraged to join the association. Member banks pay dues of $500 annually. General body meetings are held quarterly and are open to members only.
One of MSLCRA’s signature events is the Poverty Simulation, which allows participants to experience what life is like for families faced with poverty as a daily reality. Participants are mixed together to form various “families.” They role-play scenarios that are inspired by actual events that take place in the lives of low-income families every day.
Member banks are encouraged to send all employees—including executives—to experience the Poverty Simulation. We also encourage nonprofits, religious organizations and other individuals who work in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities to participate, continually adding new partners to our list.
The outcomes we hope to achieve are to:
Similar to the dating version, the MSLCRA Speed Networking event is a great way to meet individuals and become aware of organizations that are working in the community development space. Bank representatives are set up around the room, and organizations are given seven minutes to connect/re-connect with them. Participants have reported that this is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your organization or catch up with existing partners, all in one evening. The event provides a platform to discuss issues ranging from a nonprofit’s initiatives to the banking needs of its staff.
In September 2017, we hosted our third annual professional development conference, which once again kicked off with a community tour led by host guides from Beyond Housing, St. Louis Equity Fund and Rise STL. Our goal was to provide a grand tour of some of the spectacular work being done in our local communities, showcasing the work of these three fine organizations.
Participants from previous conferences found them to be an impactful two days of networking and learning the latest information about the regulatory hot topics for both compliance and community development professionals.
To learn more about the MSLCRA, including membership information, visit http://mslcra.org.