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The Town of Six Mile has received a Municipal Achievement Award for Our Bank. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 18. The town won in the 1-1,000 population category. Twenty-nine cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
Recently, the Town of Six Mile found itself without a community bank for the first time since 1919. In 2013, the regional bank that had occupied a downtown bank building made the decision to close, leaving Six Mile's nearly 700 residents without a bank within a 10-mile radius. Officials began work on recruiting a new financial institution to downtown.
Their first step was to secure and refurbish the 94-year-old bank building. Officials convinced the outgoing bank to deed the property to the town in exchange for a potential Community Reinvestment Act credit. Officials then worked with a regional bankers" association to identify an institution to open a branch in Six Mile. The incoming bank could also receive Community Reinvestment Act credit for opening in an unbanked community and bear no capital expenditures to relocate.
At community meetings, residents provided testimony about what having a bank nearby meant to them. Once a bank agreed to locate in Six Mile, even more residents volunteered to help gut the building to reduce renovation costs.
Hundreds of residents turned out to celebrate the grand opening of Our Bank in downtown Six Mile. The town will receive payment for use of the building once the bank becomes profitable.
"Our Bank is a great example of residents and local officials coming together to improve the quality of life," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.