Center for Banking and Finance

Established: October 16, 1996

Current Director: Dr. Steve Lacewell


The endowment for the Center for Banking and Finance, located in the Department of Economics and Finance in the College of Business and Public Affairs, will provide funding for the following:

  • An endowed professorship to supply a salary supplement and related expenses such as travel and other professional expenses for the Center Director/Endowed Professor. 

  • Scholarships and other expenses such as the bank simulation game, financial data bases, etc., for students majoring in banking and finance. 

  • Speakers on current financial topics, training for financial professionals and/or sponsoring financial educational classes in conjunction with the Kentucky Bankers Association. 

  • Increasing the number of internships and co-op opportunities for Murray State students as the Center strives to develop stronger relationships between Murray State and financial institutions.

Dr. Steve Lacewell, Associate Professor of Finance, continues serving as Coordinator/Director of the Center for Banking and Finance. The Center continues its search for a major private donor to turn this into a named and endowed professorship.

Outreach to Banking Professionals

The Center for Banking and Finance at Murray State University was created through the generous donations of several area banks. As Murray is located in a rural area, bankers were frustrated at having to devote considerable time and cost having managers and employees travel to larger metropolitan areas such as Louisville and St. Louis for training. The original objective of the Center was to provide employee and management training, as well as other educational opportunities, for bankers located within the University’s service area. This proves to be a unique challenge due to the fact that banking in rural areas is much different than banking in urban areas. This is primarily due to two reasons. First, the customer base in rural areas tends to be less educated regarding financial issues than those in urban areas. Employment is rural areas tend to focus on agriculture, small and medium-size manufacturing facilities, and small businesses. Thus, to succeed as a financial services provider one must educate consumers as to the various financial services and products that will help them succeed in their personal and professional financial endeavors. Second, bank employees in rural areas tend to be less trained and educated. Thus, easy access to job-specific training as well as courses in finance, accounting, economics, etc. is critical to developing and maintaining efficient bank employees. The Center for Banking and Finance has been active in several key areas regarding bank training, education, and small business development. These activities are discussed below:

Professional Outreach

Dr. Steve Lacewell, Director of Murray State’s Center for Banking and Finance, has conducted five Leadership Development/Management Training Programs for the Paducah Bank and Trust Company in Paducah, Kentucky. Each program is 18 months in length and covers all aspects of bank management. The program is primarily for mid-level employees with future management potential. The participants meet once per month for 4-6 hours and various topics are covered. One interesting aspect of this training program is that in-bank expertise is used if at all possible. Thus, a senior commercial lender will conduct the section on commercial lending. This not only provides a cost savings to the bank but also allows the instructor to tailor the presentation to the bank’s own customer base as opposed to a more generic presentation given by an outside party. Two additional programs are scheduled to begin in early 2006.

Dr. Lacewell has also been approached by two additional banks regarding the possibility of providing the aforementioned training for their institutions. Talks with these banks are ongoing.

The Center is constantly soliciting the opinion of area bankers regarding the needs of their institutions. Possibilities include a regional banking conference and/or banking school to be held on the campus of Murray State University. This is in the formative stages and will be an ongoing process.

The Center is in the process of forming an advisory committee. This committee will consist of senior-level financial managers from the University’s service area.

The Center played an active part in a grant application to provide training to bankers in rural Mexico. Although the grant application was unsuccessful for this year, we will actively pursue this program and others like it in the future.

Community Service

Dr. Steve Lacewell, as director of the Center, serves on the Opportunity Loan Fund Committee for the city of Paducah, Kentucky. This is a joint program sponsored by the Paducah Chamber of Commerce and Paducah-area banks. Its purpose is to provide loans to minority small-business owners. Types of loans include start-up loans, inventory and equipment purchases, and operating loans. Loan applicants will be first encouraged to apply for traditional bank financing. If the applicant does not qualify for bank financing they will be considered for a loan directly from the Chamber of Commerce. A pool of money was given to the Chamber by the Tennessee Valley Authority several years ago for this purpose. Dr. Lacewell has received approval from the committee to utilize Murray State students to help analyze the loan applications. This is a wonderful opportunity for Murray State students to obtain real-world experience while helping to expand the local business community.

A program of this nature is also in the development states for surrounding cities.

Internships and Permanent Employment

Dr. Lacewell has been active in establishing (or attempting to establish) the “Let’s Keep Them At Home” program in Paducah, Murray, Mayfield, and Paris, TN. This program focuses on the “brain drain” in rural areas. This occurs when young people leave rural areas due to the lack of job opportunities. This program works with local businesses to establish internship opportunities for area students. Hopefully students will be encouraged to relocate, after college, back to these rural areas thus providing businesses with young, well-educated employees with a desire to stay in the area due to family, friends, etc.

The Center for Banking secured several internship opportunities for students during the 2008– 2009 academic year. This is a great start for this program and a wonderful opportunity for Murray State students as well as internship sponsors.

Several students applied for internships in the Henderson “Let’s Keep Them At Home” program. Applications were distributed in classes but the actual number of students receiving internships in not known.

The Center for Banking was directly involved in the employment of six graduates during the year. This is an excellent start and provides excellent opportunities for both students and financial institutions.

Bank Research

Dr. Lacewell has been very active recently in the research area. He has had multiple articles published in academic journals and has made several presentations at academic conferences. Dr. Lacewell is also in the formative stages of offering banking classes on an international basis. Talks are ongoing.

Financial Information

Center activities for 2004-05 were funded from non-endowment sources as the endowment funds were not established in time to post earnings for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2004.

Gift and Pledge Payments Schedule

People’s 1st National Bank Corp. 8/29/97 $50,000
People’s 1st National Bank Paducah 8/11/98 $50,000
Union Planters Bank of Paducah 10/6/99 $50,000
Union Planters Bank of Murray 12/31/01 $10,000
US Bank 1/27/03 $10,000
Union Planters Bank of Murray 4/21/03 $10,000
Union Planters Bank of Murray 12/31/03 $10,000

The Murray State University Foundation has oversight responsibility for managing this endowment fund.

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