By Richard Beard
We all are aware that community banks struggle with increasing regulatory burdens, low interest rates and competition from both banks and nonbanks in all that we do, from lending to payment systems to deposits. We, like many of you, have thought about the banking landscape over the next five to 10 years. It led us to a new model where we encourage other community banks to join with us in putting our banks together under one charter but with the distinct identity and name of the institutions present.
In 2013, Lewiston State Bank and Bank of American Fork, both well respected, more than 100-year-old institutions, put the idea into practice. Back-office functions, regulatory burdens and compliance functions, legal services, accounting services and marketing activities are shared. This model has worked for us.
American Fork, Utah
ROAA in 2015: 1.37 percent
Assets: $1.5 billion
Retail locations: 18
In 2015, we took our holding company public as People’s Utah Bancorp. It is listed on the Nasdaq. This was necessary to give liquidity to shareholders. The merger has been successful on both economic and cultural measures. Last year we delivered the highest net income in our history, which began in 1905 for Lewiston State Bank and 1913 for Bank of American Fork.
We now operate under the consolidated bank name People’s Intermountain Bank with the two legacy bank franchises operating under their respective names. We have advisory boards made up of locals who can help us make sure we’re always tapping into the local culture and changes and providing just what our communities need and want. Our customers in the communities we serve see the same people and names they have been familiar with as we move forward.
Our intent is to add other good community banks to the family. This will allow for sustained, longer-term, high-growth development in our geography.
We believe keeping local bank names and local people are keys to our success and growth. Although there may be drawbacks to a brand recognition that is not universal, we believe it is more than offset when local residents still have “ownership” in the bank. Our names, people and practices reflect our communities. Given the challenges we face, we believe that this is the only real viable way to preserve the old-time community-bank feel. Westerners, Western banks and we believe many in the Intermountain West are loyal to their communities. This model allows us to tap the deep-rooted culture and grow in the communities we serve.
Richard Beard (email@example.com) is CEO of People’s Intermountain Bank.