Taking the Initiative

Amy Engelberg | American National Bank | Oakland Park, Fla.

Amy Engelberg brings energy and expertise to her community bank customers

By Beth Mattson-Teig

Amy Engelberg is not the type of lender who watches the grass grow. When she joined American National Bank in Oakland Park, Fla., two years ago, it did not take her long to jump into action—and start delivering impressive results.

Her top three priorities as executive vice president and chief lending officer have been growing the loan portfolio of the $226 million-asset community bank, reducing its problem loans and boosting fee income. She has made impressive gains on all three of those tasks.

Engelberg, 40, has been instrumental in boosting loan production from $8 million in 2011 to $35 million in 2012. The majority of that growth, $21 million, was from Engelberg’s own loan production. One reason for that success has been her ability to leverage the relationships that she has established throughout her 19-plus years working in the South Florida banking industry.

Prior to joining American National, Engelberg served as a vice president and commercial lender at a large community bank that had more than $6 billion in assets at its peak. “The other big piece has been keeping the existing customer base happy and cultivating those relationships,” adds Engelberg.

What makes that accomplishment even more notable is that American National is a family-owned, single-location bank with no budget for advertising or marketing. “She really had to go out and do this on her own,” says American National’s President and CEO Ginger Martin. For example, Engelberg researched buildings in the Broward County market that would be a good fit for the bank’s commercial real estate lending niche. She found out who owned the properties and then sent out letters to try and capture their refinancing business.

Engelberg has also worked with the chief credit officer to reduce some of the problem loans in the bank’s portfolio. Criticized and classified assets at American National have since been reduced from 121 percent of the bank’s capital allowance to 42 percent. The bank also has recorded six consecutive quarters with no past dues on existing loans.

“What most of our customers needed was just time,” says Engelberg. “We didn’t really have bad customers or bad properties; it was more a reflection of what was happening in the market.” The bank was able to work with those customers and give them some relief on terms, rate or more time on payment plans. Most of those customers who were genuine, good customers have now worked themselves out of those problems, she adds.

As a community bank, it was important for American National to find solutions without “lowering the boom” and losing important customers, adds Martin. “[Engelberg] brought expertise to the table in terms of finding solutions that made sense for both the borrower and the bank,” she says.

Beth Mattson-Teig is a writer in Delano, Minn.