Southwest Bank of St. Louis
A Strong History of Community Support
Anyone familiar with Southwest Bank knows its history is inextricably linked to St. Louis…and to the St. Louis Jewish community. The bank’s interaction with the Jewish community tells a strong story of support.
Examples include sponsorship of the Jewish Community Center’s St. Louis Jewish Book Festival and other events; support of the annual 8th grade trip to Israel at Solomon Schechter Day School through unique fundraising events -- bulb planting, car washes and golf outings, and serving as an annual sponsor of the Anti-Defamation League and Aish HaTorah’s fundraising events and programs. Employee involvement is also an important extension of the bank’s support; for example, Linda Geis, a Southwest Bank vice president and Creve Coeur branch manager, is an active volunteer in the local Jewish community.
“That’s why supporting a Jewish community website is a perfect extension of Southwest Bank’s commitment to so many different Jewish community organizations and events,” said Lvav Spector, assistant vice president, who is involved with the Young Professionals Division of Jewish Federation. “The website is an ideal ‘connector’ of people to each other and to important programs throughout St. Louis. Southwest Bank is excited to be a part of this very successful online Jewish community.”
Southwest Bank, which is ranked #2 of Missouri’s chartered banks, was founded in 1920 at Kingshighway and Southwest Avenues, when it moved into a former tavern owned by the Busch family. Since that time, the bank boasts a distinctive and colorful history. For example, in 1953, news of an attempted robbery at the bank made headlines. Police commissioner at the time was Col. I. A. Long, a former banker known for his integrity, who was asked to interrupt his banking career to clean up the City Police Department.
The first time Col. Long stepped inside Southwest Bank was during the robbery attempt. But, a year later, he returned to banking to lead the investor group that purchased the bank. He remained Chairman of Southwest Bank for 31 years, and served as Chairman Emeritus for another nine years.
Starting with Col. Long, and continuing with Drew Baur, now regional chairman, the bank “became known for leading the nation in lowering the prime rate,” said Spector. Col. Long's goal was to help customers prosper by lowering their borrowing costs. “His knack for knowing when to lower the prime rate, soon had international bankers looking to him before raising or lowering their rates,” Spector added.
In 1957, Southwest Bank appointed St. Louis baseball legend, Stan "The Man" Musial to the Board of Directors. This grabbed big headlines. It also launched a long-time association with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.
Two years later, Southwest Bank was in the news again when film crews came to town to film, The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery. This reenactment included many scenes shot at the bank and around the city. Steve McQueen had a starring role and bank employees and members of the police department played themselves in the movie or were cast as extras.
Another milestone was reached in 1996, when Baur and other members of the Board bought the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. They wanted the hometown team to stay in St. Louis, for future generations.
“Today, Southwest Bank is known for serving its customers like a ‘trusted advisor,’ explained Spector. “It believes in relationships and offering individuals the opportunity to feel they have everything taken care of in one place – from business banking, to home loans to a retirement plan.”
In 2002 Southwest Bank was purchased by Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, a bank holding company headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. Southwest Bank retains its local commitment with its own Missouri charter and local board of directors. CEO is Robert Witterschein.
13205 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
18 Branches in the St. Louis Metropolitan area