By G. Scott McComb
Heartland Bank prides itself on being different in a number of very strategic ways. Specifically, the bank thrives on four basic principles. Those are niche expertise, innovation and change, internal personnel growth and speed to market. Using these tools our bank has been able to grow by double digits the last several years and has been in American Banker magazine’s Top 200 for the last five years straight.
Finding a niche is key to community banking as you can get closer to the clients decisions, and provide additional value in the operations of their business. Most lenders don’t have a clue about what the client does, and making that an important part of the value proposition is essential. Our bank can add 75 basis points or more to the pricing directly attributed to value. Our bank’s largest niche is serving hotels and lodging businesses, followed by church and nonprofit lending, owner-occupied small business and Small Business Administration program lending.
ROAE in 2015: 13.21 percent
Assets: $723 million
Retail locations: 12
Heartland Bank’s leaders feel that if change is happening in the bank faster than outside the bank that will keep it ahead of the curve. It recently launched a distribution strategies group to help keep projects on task, provide support for departments to enhance delivery, create their universal banker model and drive efficiency initiatives. Making investments proactively, not reactively is the key.
Investing in its people, Heartland Bank regularly sends its up and comers to outside banking schools and educational programs. This not only adds to the knowledgeable and innovative thinkers in the bank, but it also creates bench strength for future senior management staff and succession planning. Promoting from within is a mainstay of the culture at our community bank.
Speed to market is a tool that community banks can use more, and Heartland Bank leverages it nicely. While the big banks have several hoops to jump through, loan approvals combined with excellent negotiation skills allow the bank to maneuver the competitive landscape easily. Clients are very appreciative and impressed with such fast turnaround.
“Shoot where the Ducks are flying!” is a common theme as our bank delivers value to its clients, not just access to capital. Everyone is trained to seek those clients that treasure and appreciate value, and not to waste time or efforts on “bidding” for the business. Focusing on that segment allows the bank to have loyal clients who understand what a relationship really is.
Heartland Bank spends a great deal of time reinforcing organizational clarity and investing in its leadership team.
G. Scott McComb (Mccombs@heartlandbank.com) is president and CEO of Heartland Bank.