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Shelter Insurance's 100,000 square foot home office is located on Columbia's Broadway (2023 file photo courtesy of Shelter spokesman Brad Johnson)

(LISTEN): Longtime Columbia banker says finance is emerging as key component of area economy

Shelter Insurance’s 100,000 square foot home office is located on Columbia’s Broadway (2023 file photo courtesy of Shelter spokesman Brad Johnson)

The traditional three pillars of Columbia’s economy have been education, health care and insurance.

They still are in some ways, even with State Farm’s headquarters no longer in town. The University of Missouri and MU Health Care remain the top two employers in Columbia/Boone County by far, with 8,709 and 5,092 employees. Former Landmark Bank chairman Jeff MacLellan, who’s been studying economic trends in Columbia for 35 years, says finance may be the third pillar now.

“You know throw in your banks and VU and Flat Branch, and I mean that is an emerging sector here. It’s financing personal needs, whether it’s a home loan or car loan or whatever. That is probably the third big branch now that’s driving this economy,” Mr. MacLellan tells host Fred Parry on 939 the Eagle’s “CEO Roundtable.

2023 statistics from Columbia Regional Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) indicate Veterans United Home Loans in the third-largest employer in Columbia/Boone County, with 3,474 employees. Shelter Insurance is still the seventh-largest employer, with almost 1,400 employees.

Click here to listen to Fred’s full interview with Mr. MacLellan.

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