Ripple Effects

Chuck Johnston
Chuck Johnston

By Chuck Johnston

It is a great honor to be listed among the higher-performing independent community banks of America! North Valley Bank operates in the North Denver Metropolitan area and serves primarily commercial clients. We were once about 95 percent consumer oriented but lost most consumer borrowers to credit union and large-bank competition. Our lending niche is construction (owner and non-owner) and real estate investment financing. We have 35 employees including five commercial lenders.

The ripple effects of the subprime mortgage default crisis resulted in some difficult years for North Valley Bank, but we have rebounded by developing greater efficiencies and superior asset quality. Not only did we learn to do more with less, we’ve been able to eliminate all classified assets and maintain zero loan delinquencies. As a result of this, plus careful maintenance of our net interest margin and continued loan production, our earnings have returned to desired levels.

North Valley Bank
Thornton, Colo.
ROAA in 2015: 2.30 percent
ROAE in 2015: 21.83 percent
Assets: $148 million
Retail locations: Two
Employees: 35
Founded: 1963

Another key contributor to our success has been our commitment to education. Whether it’s supporting our employees’ general business-degree plans, staying abreast of regulatory change or promoting continued growth in job skills, we maintain a strategic focus on education.

While North Valley Bank has two mantras—“service that exceeds expectations” and “excellence in everything we say and do and write”—nothing stimulates higher revenues than our system of performance-based compensation and sales incentives that are only limited by a team member’s aspirations and our ongoing credit quality standards. We’ve found that organizational success depends on our leaders “walking the talk.” A leader can expect sales results from subordinates when that leader is also held accountable to produce sales. This top-to-bottom accountability strengthens our team approach to our bank’s performance and promotes an atmosphere where all team members share the credit and compensation for our success!

We have enjoyed the many fruits of membership in ICBA since 1963. We face many challenges and threats from large-bank and nonbank competition. Higher capital and loss-reserve requirements are also looming. The business of banking is not getting any easier. Thankfully, ICBA continues to be a highly effective force looking out for the best interests of community banks!

Chuck Johnston ( is president and CEO of North Valley Bank.