ICBA’s Top Loan Producers: Quaint Oak Bank in Pennsylvania

Back row, from left to right: Thomas Oleksa, commercial loan officer; Melissa Wright, Credit Analyst; Jose Colon, commercial loan officer; Maureen Plunkett, vice president of credit administration; and Raymond Porambo, associate vice president of commercial lending. Front row, from left to right: Jessica Zdanowicz, credit analyst; Curt Schulmeister, chief lending officer; Suzanne Bullotta, credit analyst; and Alex Zetick, commercial loan officer.

At Quaint Oak Bank in Southampton, Pa., everybody lives and breathes lending, where everyone is constantly talking about production. “You have to build a lending mentality within the organization, from the CEO right through,” says Robert T. Strong, president and CEO of the $132 million-asset community bank.

Strong enjoys taking senior staff to lunch, but the in-house joke is that there’s no free lunch if you accept his invitation—you’ll certainly talk lending!

That unrelenting focus has paid off. With its loan volume reaching 87 percent of its overall assets, Quaint Oak Bank stood in a tie for 55th place in this year’s 100 best overall top-producing lenders among ICBA member banks. Last year, Quaint Oak Bank closed $60 million in loans, which represented 50 percent of its $120 million-asset size at year-end 2013. Furthermore, its subsidiary mortgage company closed over another $46 million in residential loans, which were sold immediately into the secondary market, and so do not show up on ICBA’s top-lender calculations.

Alongside a proactive lending culture, another driving factor toward consistent success in winning loans is speed for the borrower. Quaint Oak Bank’s credit administration department meets at least once a week to discuss every loan application in process. As soon as a new loan application comes through the door, it proceeds promptly to the bank’s loan committee, well within two weeks.

The bank’s core philosophy is to concentrate on the sectors it knows best, which in this case involves the small construction and rehabilitation loans it has been servicing for years. Its small contractor and builder customers are also highly experienced in the local Philadelphia-area market, which is undergoing a lively resurgence of housing and commercial building renovation.

A snapshot of Quaint Oak Bank’s loan portfolio typically shows about 15 percent in construction loans. Originations in this category over the past year, however, have risen as high as 47 percent. The variance is due to the short-term nature of the loans, which roll on and off the balance sheet relatively quickly. Although they are not amortizing loans, they produce substantial fee income as the rapid turnover of those loans allows the same funding dollars to be reloaned several times a year.

The bank also uses adjustable rates to keep interest risk at bay. The construction, commercial, residential and SBA loans that comprise its portfolio are generally rate-sensitive.

Since the recession, Quaint Oak Bank has faced stiffer loan competition against larger lenders, which have increased their appetites for smaller loans while chasing volume. That change has created more motivated competitors trying to poach loans on Quaint Oak Bank’s established turf. Strong expects that trend to continue, in the context of a tepid recovery, but that does not daunt him.

“We’re out there every day building relationships, and nine out of 10 times our next loan comes from our last loan on a referral basis,” he says.