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p13 associated bankAt the dedication of the new East St. Louis branch of Associated Bank are: Municipal Solutions, Consulting and Contracting CEO Robert Betts; president of the St. Clair County NAACP Stanley Franklin; Judge Milton Wharton; Associated East St. Louis bank manager Loretta Holmes; Jackie Joyner-Kersee; Associated Southern Illinois Community Market President Phillip Hickman; and Alvin Parks, former mayor and city manager.By ALAN J. ORTBALS
    Associated Bank completed a year-long, $3 million renovation of its branches in Fairview Heights, Alton, East St. Louis, Glen Carbon, Columbia, Millstadt and the one on West Main Street in Belleville in 2016.
    “The investment reflects Associated Bank’s long-term commitment to the region,” said Phillip Hickman, Southern Illinois Community Market president. “I think it sends a strong message to the marketplace that we are willing to invest and we intend to stay in this market. We believe our construction plans will improve the banking experience for our customers both from an appearance and technology perspective.”
    In February 2016, Associated Bank celebrated its continuing commitment to the East St. Louis community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of a $750,000 remodeling of its Missouri Avenue branch.
    “We were delighted to have been joined by Jackie Joyner-Kersee, several important local officials and other guests to hail the completion of this project,” Hickman said. “Our refurbished branch will serve to improve the banking experience for our customers and at the same time enhance our continuing role as a lender in supporting future East St. Louis development.”
    During a brief program, Hickman presented Joyner-Kersee with a $5,000 contribution from Associated to support her local foundation’s after-school program for children.
    The renovation included new flooring and lighting, modern teller lines, accessible offices for special consumer and commercial banking activities, Wi-Fi allowing staff to help customers become familiar with digital banking channels and numerous other upgrades.
    The refurbished branch includes a new community room that can be reserved by local not-for-profit organizations for their meetings.
    All of the branches have been remodeled with the exception of the one at 100 E. Washington St. in Downtown Belleville, which is for sale. Hickman said that the plan is to sell the building and build a new, smaller branch in that same location.
    “Once we have a buyer and the sale is consummated, we expect to build an efficient new branch off the square on Washington Street,” Hickman said.