By John Sharp
The grand opening of CommunityAmerica Credit Union’s first Community Access Center at 11501 Blue Ridge Blvd. at the southeast corner of Blue Ridge Blvd & Longview Rd. designed to promote the overall well-being of its customers and other community members will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 30.
Lisa Ginter, CEO of CommunityAmerica, said the credit union created a new concept designed to provide a much broader array of services at its access centers than traditional bank branches.
“We’re thrilled to be able to unveil this new concept and look forward to helping people find financial peace of mind,” she said.
The Hickman Mills Center will not only break down barriers to banking and promote financial literacy, but also serve as a single point of access for additional services that contribute to total peace of mind such as educational opportunities, improved health and supportive community programming, said Amy Grothaus. CommunityAmerica senior vice president for community development.
Grothaus said CommunityAmerica will take the lead in offering financial education such as budgeting and understanding credit. She said the credit union’s staffers on site called well-being coaches are all certified financial counselors who will offer one on one money management sessions.
Educational opportunities will be provided on site by the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) which will occupy the entire 6,000 square foot top floor of the building to offer classes and other educational support to members of the community.
“Our mission at Metropolitan Community College is preparing students, serving communities and creating opportunities for all,” said Dr. Kim Beatty, MCC Chancellor, noting the access center provides a fantastic opportunity to fulfill that mission in south Kansas City.
Grothaus said she also intends to work with Hickman Mills and other area school districts and affiliated organizations to promote the success of area students.
She said the access center will cooperate with area nonprofits such as the Community Assistance Council and Catholic Charities that both have nearby facilities and offer a variety of services to needy area residents to prevent homelessness and hunger to assure that persons coming to the center are aware of their services and how to access them.
She said much of the building’s first floor is being remodeled as a large community room with Wi-Fi services that will be available for use by community groups at no charge.
CommunityAmerica also will offer traditional banking services such as making deposits and withdrawals at the center which will have two drive through lanes, but appointments will be encouraged to facilitate more financial coaching.
The credit union has a new full service branch just a few blocks away at 11900 Blue Ridge Blvd. in Grandview which replaced the branch that initially was at the building that has been converted to serve as the access center.
CommunityAmerica plans to establish other Community Access Centers in the metropolitan area, according to Grothaus, who said the next one will be in Wyandotte County where the credit union intends to partner with Kansas City Kansas Community College to offer educational programming.