Creating a Model Bank


Bank VI
Salina, Kan.
ROAA in 2015: 2.48 percent
ROAE in 2015: 24.49 percent
Assets: $76 million
Retail location: One
Employees: 13
Founded: 2005

By Tom Wilbur

Bank VI was founded in 2005 upon these sets of values: character, integrity and trust. Our bank is a direct result of the changes going on within the banking industry toward consolidation and mergers, and emerging larger banks. We believe there are huge potentials in staying fundamentally sound and community-centered, and in reestablishing a home-owned and home-operated banking franchise. Our clients are our neighbors, our friends and people we attend church with. We know our clients well and they know us.

Our slogan is “Care about people first, and the rest of the business will follow.” Our team backs that up with significant outreach in our area, including local fundraising events, volunteerism, service on local nonprofit boards, and the operation and oversight of a student bank called Bank Stewart run by fourth-graders at nearby Grace Stewart Elementary School in Salina.

Philosophically, we pay a little more interest on deposit products than other banks in our area, allowing word of mouth to be our primary means for advertising. Instead of paying big expenses in marketing, we simply pay our clients more interest and ask that they consider speaking to others about banking with us.

Any bank or entity can make someone a loan. At Bank VI, our goal is to build relationships—the kind of relationships where we can tell people “no” on loan requests that don’t make sense for them and go on to help them set a plan to achieve their next target or financial goal in the future, if they’ll stay the course.

Loan quality always drives high performance, and we have a strong lending team. We price loans fairly for risk and treat all who enter our bank with respect. Generally, all of our people know our clients on a first-name basis. We care about them, their families and the market we serve. We are experts at commercial lending and residential lending. We stick to what we know very well. On larger projects, we originate and sell participations to other banks, as we constantly remain above a 100 percent loan-to-deposit ratio (that’s where the yields and better performance exist).

Keeping employee expenses and operational overhead under control are critical variables in banking. We operate efficiently, but we pay our team good wages and benefits and expect high performance from them, at every position. If we need to make a change, we do.

Our board of directors is committed to making the bank a model bank, in every area, and our directors solicit business for us, helping us build upon new relationships ongoing. We’re looking forward to 2016—anticipating solid growth and continued high performance ahead.
Congratulations to all community banks that are prospering their communities and making a difference out there.

Tom Wilbur ( is president and CEO of Bank VI and has been in bank management and oversight for more than 30 years.