Community bank partnership gets Louisville Urban League facility to the finish line

By Rachel Nix, Building Kentucky

Led by Republic Bank, nine community banks came together to fill funding gap for the new Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center. Back row: Chris Brown, L&N Federal Credit Union; James “Ja” Hillebrand, Stock Yards Bank & Trust; John Key, Commonwealth Bank; Stephanie Renner, Limestone Bank; Josh Barrick, WesBanco. Front row: Steve Trager, Republic Bank & Trust Company; Zachary Johnson, Liberty Bank; Sadiqa Reynolds, Louisville Urban League; Frank Wilson, Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co.

A collaboration between nine Kentucky community banks helped fund a game-changing track and field facility in Louisville’s West End.

Led by Republic Bank, the unique bank loan partnership brought together competitor financial institutions to fund the final $10 million in capital for the Louisville Urban League’s new Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center.

“While all of us are competitors, we are partners in making this game-changing project happen for the West End,” said Republic Bank Chairman & CEO Steve Trager. “I am thankful and inspired by the leaders at these nine banks who stepped up for the greater good of our community.”

Republic Bank Chairman & CEO Steve Trager speaks at loan announcement event.

Representatives from Republic Bank, Central Bank, Commonwealth Bank, L&N Federal Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Limestone Bank, Stock Yards Bank, WesBanco Bank and Wilson & Muir Bank celebrated closing the unique loan partnership at a recent event.

This powerful commitment to the Louisville community united competitor banks for the common good.

“Accomplishing big goals requires our business community understanding the tremendous needs and committing to being a part of the solution,” said Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds. “Setting aside competition and focusing on collaboration in order to advance the greater good as these banks have done, is a good start and I hope we see much more of it from them and others in the business community as we move toward a more equitable future.”

Opened in mid-February, the Louisville Urban League’s $53 million complex sits on a 24-acre campus in west Louisville, a historically underserved community. The Louisville Urban League raised $43 million by compiling philanthropic gifts, corporate sponsorships and tax credits in just 22 months but there was still a $10 million gap in funding. When alerted to the Urban League’s need for capital, Republic Bank worked with the group of banks to participate and make this loan a reality.

This latest community loan builds upon other significant lending and investment initiatives by Louisville’s banking community to support underserved communities.

For Republic Bank, recent examples include the $3 million Community Loan Fund, launched in 2020 to support small businesses and promote business development and job creation in low-to-moderate income communities and the $28 million Republic Bank Foundation YMCA in West Louisville.

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