Thinking Big, Acting Small


By Jae Evans

Community banks are vital to the financial industry, and there are numerous challenges that face community banks every day. Whether it is changes in our regulatory environment, shifts in consumer preferences or employee expectations, it is important to stay true to who you are and what you stand for. Follow your vision and mission as you make decisions. Keep your core values at the forefront of your strategic planning.

At Isabella Bank, we believe our core values, philosophies and commitment to our community have been the keys to our success as well as the foundation to our future growth.

As the financial industry continues to face changes from various directions, our stance of “thinking big, acting small” is imperative to our future success. We need to provide the sophistication of products and services offered by larger institutions, with the warmth and familiarity of a community bank that connects with its customers. It is important for us to stay true to our business model of local decision-making and superior customer service while continuing to be creative and responsive to our customers’ banking needs.

Isabella Bank
Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
ROAE in 2015: 13.14 percent
Assets: $1.67 billion
Retail locations: 29
Employees: 401
Founded: 1903

We believe in providing exceptional experiences to our shareholders and customers that result in loyal, long-term relationships. We operate on the principle that “the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer is the same as the difference between meeting expectations and exceeding expectations.” Our mission is to have devoted customers who speak passionately about Isabella Bank and recommend us to their friends, family and coworkers. This culture within our organization is the driving force behind our employees providing the level of service our customers have come to expect.

Our community is our best investment, and our employees’ community involvement is a testament to our commitment. In 2015, our employees logged more than 5,000 hours of community service with more than 300 organizations within the communities where they live, work and worship. Their commitment, coupled with the bank’s financial commitment, generates a significant, positive impact across our footprint.

As we look forward to the future, we recognize the challenges facing community banks. At Isabella Bank, we believe these challenges provide us with many opportunities for growth. Together, we will embrace these opportunities and use them to enhance our 113-year legacy. Our core values, philosophies and commitment will drive the decisions we make today as well as tomorrow, paving the way for continued success.

Jae Evans is CEO of Isabella Bank.