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Bank branch open

The money is in the bank. And now the bank is in the inner city.

SunBank's effort to bring services to the inner city got its start June 5, when a West Tampa branch opened at 1705 N Howard Avenue.

West Tampa residents, many of them African-American, have tended to have to head downtown to get checkbooks, savings accounts and home loans. Most banking officials around the city admit that poor neighborhoods rarely have banks.

But the money-business effort in a one-story building shared by a Tampa Police Department substation has the neighborhood and banking officials excited.

"If this really works, we want to build a permanent facility down here," said Lester O'Brien, the bank manager. "The whole idea was getting into the inner city.

"The next nearest bank is really downtown."

And longtime residents say it's a long trek to downtown. With the new branch, the trip should not take so long.

"We've got five people here and 1,500 square feet of space," O'Brien said. That's more than enough space to help out. The bank has a two-year lease in the city building.

West Tampa activists and city officials are looking at the bank and other local efforts as a way to get the neighborhood back on its feet.

"We did our marketing research and saw that this was the place to put a bank," he said. "If this works, we could look to do the same in other Tampa neighborhoods."

To get in touch with banking officials, the number to call is 224-2121.

Members sought

The Tampa Bay Chapter of 100 Black Men would like to add a few more men to its numbers.

The organization, several years old in the Tampa Bay area, is aimed at providing positive black male role models to black youth, especially black males.

Since the organization was formed, the group has concentrated on mentoring and fund-raising.

But acting President Amory Sanders said the group has about 15 members right now and could use more for its mentoring program.

"We'd like to expand the program," he said. "In order to do that we need more members."

He said the organization wants to give young people one-to-one attention.

"We really want people who can help us by giving time to the kids," he said.

Dues are $50 annually. For more information, call Sanders at 578-0808.

Union gets new VP

The Rev. Gerald White, the new vice president of Local 108 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is the first black person to hold that position.

White, who has worked at Tampa Electric Co. for 10 years, is among officers who will take office on July 1. The group will be sworn inat the general meeting on July 8.

The other officers are John Lucas, president; Mark Hudnell, treasurer; Floyd Suggs, business manager; and Mike Lezenby, recording secretary. The local also elected executive board members.

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