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Left, Jami Peebles, senior vice president and regional manager, Ken Homan, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager, and Diane Homan, senior vice president of trust administration, Central Trust and Investment Co.
Left, Jami Peebles, senior vice president and regional manager, Ken Homan, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager, and Diane Homan, senior vice president of trust administration, Central Trust and Investment Co.

1980s Decade Award Finalist: Central Trust and Investment Co.

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Shortly after Central Trust and Investment Co.’s 2009 acquisition of Springfield Trust Co., Central Trust’s leaders took a hard look at southwest Missouri’s growth potential.

“We had about $100 million in assets under management and had never really taken the steps to grow that business,” says Jami Peebles, senior vice president and regional manager. “We decided about two years ago we were going to be really focused on growing our business in southwest
Missouri because the economy here seems to be more resilient than most,” she added.

Central Trust offers investment management, retirement and trust and fiduciary services, according to www.centrustco.com, and specializes in managing portfolios of more than $300,000.

The trust company, owned by Jefferson City-based Central Bancompany Inc. – also the holding company of Empire Bank and Ozark Mountain Bank – had a strong presence in Columbia, Jefferson City and St. Louis, but less so in Springfield, where the company established operations in 1989, Peebles says.

Central Trust’s focus on opportunities to expand in the Ozarks, however, has paid off.
Staff has increased to 25 employees from four, and assets under management have grown to about $700 million, Peebles says.

Peebles said the trust company’s continued growth despite a down economy is directly attributable to its history of being somewhat conservative.

“Our company … is so well-positioned,” she says. “We have no debt, we are very strong financially, so when other banks were struggling, we had rainy-day savings and were able to make investments.”

That’s not to say growth was without its challenges. Central Trust had to conquer the issues that are inherent in any merger.

“We did have a lot of training issues that had to be resolved — two computer systems, two databases,” Peebles says.

But those issues didn’t affect the company’s clients.

“I had a comment from one client … when he was asked, ‘What do you feel about the merger?’ … he said, ‘You know, it’s been pretty seamless for me,’” says  Diane Homan, senior vice president of trust administration, adding that’s exactly what she hoped to hear.

According to its Web site, Central Trust diversifies across industry sectors with long-term return potential, measuring results against a five-year horizon in order to allow for long-term compounding for maximum results.

The company’s economic reach extends beyond its clients into the construction sector, as Central Trust is remodeling the third floor of its location at National Avenue and Walnut Lawn to accommodate its expanded staff.

Several local companies – from architects and builders to interior designers – are involved in the project that’s expected to cost between $1.5 million and $2 million.

“We’re excited about combining the two teams,” Homan says. “Logistically, it’s difficult to get everyone in one place.”

The company also has been active in supporting Ozarks and nonprofit organizations, underwriting events for Springfield Symphony Orchestra, ARC of the Ozarks, Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, United Way of the Ozarks and Springfield Workshop. Central Trust also is the presenting sponsor for the American Heart Association’s local Go Red for Women campaign.

“Central Trust didn’t just come in and sweep Springfield Trust off its feet,” said Homan, who had been with Springfield Trust for three years before the merger. “It came in to support the community.”[[In-content Ad]]

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