Business

Lead Bank aims for a new look in Kansas City’s Crossroads district

Landon and Sarah Rowland have put notable footprints in the Kansas City business, civic and philanthropic communities. Their son Josh Rowland now is planting another footprint in the resurging Crossroads area.

The younger Rowland is preparing to move into a new Lead Bank branch in a renovated building at 1801 Main St., where he hopes to lead a “reinvented” bank.

“”My family, the ownership group of the bank, is from Kansas City. It’s our stomping grounds,” said Josh Rowland, who is vice chairman of the $140 million institution. “From the inception of owning the bank, our goal was to find the opportunity to be located in the center of Kansas City. This location coincided with the amazing development of the Crossroads.”

When the branch opens this summer after a $2 million building renovation, Rowland said he expects to apply the community banking principles used in the family’s headquarters bank in Garden City, Mo., and in its first expansion in the Lee’s Summit/Blue Springs area. That means understanding the needs of the business and individual customers it serves.

In the new Crossroads location, “We’re trying to take traditional bank architecture and reinvent what a bank space needs to be,” Rowland said. For example, there won’t be traditional teller cages.

“We’re trying to open financial dialogues with open space,” he said. “We’re trying to emphasize that the people who are there are capable of helping people use the bank for whatever needs they have.”

Rowland said Lead Bank (pronounced like heed, not head) expects to tap into the millennial generation and entrepreneurial characteristics of the Crossroads, gaining some visibility simply because it’s on the developing streetcar line.

“The advantage of any community bank is that it is part of the fabric of the neighborhood it’s in,” he said. “We have to be committed to what’s happening in our communities and be a driver for economic development.”

To that end, Lead Bank is cooperating with the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City on a Launch KC business grant competition. The new branch will provide first-floor office space and other services for up to two years to four to six startup companies that emerge from the competition.

The bank also is constructing the building’s top floor to include an audio-visual equipped conference facility and rooftop patio capable of holding up to 200 people for community meetings and events.

Rowland said the bank hopes to build customer loyalty by introducing a “membership model” that will give member customers a “cash-back return on interest paid on loans” and membership discounts on fees for services ranging from daily bookkeeping to myriad financial advice.

He said the bank also intends to continue strengthening community ties in its eastern Jackson County and Cass County locations. The family purchased the former Garden City Bank in 2005 and in 2008 opened its Lee’s Summit address, where most of the bank’s leadership works.

The Crossroads branch is being designed by Clockwork Architecture + Design. Centric Projects is the general contractor, and PKMR Engineers is the engineer.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and @kcstarstafford.

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