By David V. Heald
It all starts with hiring good people, who are Santa Cruz County Bank’s greatest asset and the motivating force behind our top performance numbers year over year. Our community bank’s growth, reputation and delivery all hinge upon this most important factor, human capital.
Our superior performance is the result of generation and management of our earning assets. We have experienced, competent commercial lenders and a robust Small Business Administration lending department. This is coupled with strong management of the loan and investment portfolios, which are key to our superior performance. We continue to deliver value to our shareholders through successful implementation of strategic initiatives designed to grow our bank without compromising its stability.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
ROAE in 2015: 13.15 percent
Assets: $513 million
Retail locations: Five
Many other factors contributed to our exceptional performance in 2015, including maintaining asset quality at zero loans past due or on non-accrual; our outstanding reputation for service delivery; and our ranking as a top SBA lender in the county and state. All of these factors drive new business, repeat business from existing customers and referrals from satisfied customers.
Technology and automation continue to drive our industry. Santa Cruz County Bank’s proximity to the Silicon Valley adds increased pressure on delivery channels. To stay competitive in the industry and appeal to a more tech-savvy, sophisticated customer, we have rolled out a suite of online, mobile and remote banking products. We will continue to launch products and services that leverage technology to lower our processing costs, create internal efficiencies and improve our customers’ overall experience.
Our mission to make a lasting commitment to our community commenced the moment we opened our doors in 2004. Since then, Santa Cruz County Bank has been recognized for extraordinary leadership and volunteerism throughout the community. Our bank’s branding message, “Put your money where your life is,” encapsulates its heart and soul, which was established for the community and is 100 percent about community.
A well-recognized and highly regarded community leader, our bank is also known for its commitment to certify and operate every banking office as a Green Business; its innovative arts collaborative program, in which all banking office wall space is dedicated for display of local artwork; and its fervent employee giving and volunteerism programs, so intense the bank has its own dedicated director of community relations. Through a unique community service program, each employee is given an opportunity to donate 40 hours annually toward community service for charitable organizations within its market area, paid for by the bank. And Fridays are deemed Community Giving Fridays, a program that supports the local nonprofit charitable organization of each branch’s choosing.
We invest in relationships, not transactions. Thus, we remain bullish on community banking well into the future, especially in the community we serve. We provide a broad range of mobile and electronic channels for our customers to choose how they wish to bank with us, and we still find that individuals in our community value and appreciate doing business face to face with bankers they know and trust. In the end, it all comes down to relationships.
David V. Heald is president and CEO of Santa Cruz County Bank.