15 Minutes With… Tony McKim

President and CEO of the $1.7 billion-asset First National Bank in Damariscotta, Maine

Quick fact

In February 2015, First National Bank announced its “Dream First” vision, which challenges bank employees, customers, banking partners and community organizations to be “courageously optimistic” and to “dream big,” to create an atmosphere of “motivation, enthusiasm and service.”

IB: Why did First National Bank launch its “Dream First” vision?
McKim: At its core, our vision as a bank is to listen to each other and to collaborate to help Mainers achieve their dreams. We’re empowering our employees to help make our customers’ dreams come true, whether that’s purchasing their first home or car, opening a business or planning for retirement. It’s also about being active in the community and believing that together we can effect positive change.

IB: Does your background have anything to do with your passion for optimism?
McKim: I grew up in a small town. My mother died when I was three, and my father wasn’t really involved in my life, so my brother, sister and I were raised by our grandmother, who had already raised seven of her own children. She lived on her Social Security check, so Spam and cold potatoes were common meals. We never thought of ourselves as poor. However, the experience did teach me to be optimistic about the future.

IB: What are some of the elements of the “Dream First” effort?
McKim: We have created a print, television and radio advertising campaign focused on tenacious optimism, with images and stories of people fulfilling their dreams. We also created a “Dream First” rewards campaign, an initiative to keep people shopping locally. Local businesses can sign up and then offer discounts to our customers, which encourages our customers to shop at these local businesses. The speed at which businesses are signing up has been amazing.

IB: What kinds of results are you seeing?
McKim: We have seen customers with shop local discounts of over $50 in a given month. Employees and customers are becoming swept up in the concept. People seem to want to do business with us because of the way we are approaching our communities. We experienced record earnings in 2014, then again in 2015, and once again in 2016.

—William Atkinson