Who were ICBA’s Top Lenders of 2022?

From left, Ally Jones; bank chairman, president and CEO Terry L. Bunnell; and Doug, Genelle and Jagger Jones.

The Peoples Bank helped the Jones family of Legacy Dairy in Hiseville, Ky., relaunch their business. From left, Ally Jones; bank chairman, president and CEO Terry L. Bunnell; and Doug, Genelle and Jagger Jones. Photo by Linkes Photography

Last year, community bank loan producers were faced with both record-low interest rates and a glut of deposits. But as they always do, they came through for individuals and businesses in their communities with a combination of personalized service and prudent risk management practices. Here, we highlight some of last year’s most successful loan producers in the areas of agriculture, commercial and consumer/mortgage lending.

By Ed Avis


Methodology

Using FDIC data for 2021, we calculated a lender score out of 100 for each community bank. The score combines the average of the bank’s percentile rank for lending concentration and for loan growth over the past year in each lending category. We then adjusted each score for loan charge offs in each category at certain percentile thresholds.


AGRICULTURE

Ag lending in the South: Relationships matter

When the owners of a small family dairy asked The Peoples Bank in Marion, Ky., for funding to reopen the business after years of inactivity, chairman, president and CEO Terry L. Bunnell listened. He sensed the family’s passion and liked their idea of starting with selling milk at farmers’ markets, roadside shops and small grocery stores. Another bank might not have taken a chance on them, but The Peoples Bank did. That was about four years ago; today, the dairy is successful and growing.

The Peoples Bank

Marion, Ky.
Asset size: $114 million
Ag lender score: 90.74
Rank in category: 18

“We worked with them with loans to buy equipment and vehicles for delivery and the beginning operational cash needs of the business,” Bunnell says. “The passion they brought to the business is what we’re all about. We want to help people succeed and grow a business, help them accomplish what they’ve set out to do.” Bunnell’s relationship with the dairy owners is not unusual. He attributes the agricultural lending success of The Peoples Bank—a $114 million-asset institution with a loan portfolio that is about 25% ag related—to its one-on-one connections with borrowers. Those relationships show the borrowers that their bank cares about their businesses and wants to help them succeed. In return, those relationships help the bank grow.

“I believe you have to interact with your customers on a regular basis,” Bunnell says. “You’ve got to engage with them to understand their needs. I believe a mistake that is often made is that we assume all farming is the same, and it’s clearly not. Our customers have different needs, and we have different ways to solve those needs.”


Terry L. Bunnell of The Peoples Bank with Doug and Ally Jones of Legacy Dairy

Terry L. Bunnell of The Peoples Bank worked closely with Doug and Ally Jones of Legacy Dairy.


Close-knit relationships

Connections with borrowers has also played a key role in the success of $457 million-asset First Southern Bank in Florence, Ala. However, First Southern’s ag lending also benefited last year from the addition of three loan production offices, says Joe Beaver, the community bank’s president and CEO. The bank, which attributes 31% of its loan portfolio to agriculture, opened loan production offices (LPOs) in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama.

“We identified areas that we feel like are a good fit for us and what we do, and we identified the right lender in those areas,” Beaver explains. In each new market opened in 2021, the community bank found an experienced ag lender who was seeking a new position.

Another element to First Southern’s ag lending success is its robust crop insurance business. The bank provides crop insurance to farmers in 11 states.

“Being in the crop insurance business lends significantly to our understanding of ag lending,” Beaver says. “It also indirectly benefits our lending business. Because of our crop insurance business in Florida, I met an experienced ag lender, and circumstances worked out that we had an opportunity to bring him on board. And in New Albany, Miss., the person who led our crop insurance group had previous experience as a lender, and he moved back into that role when we opened the loan production office there.”

First Southern’s new LPOs have pumped up the community bank’s ag portfolio, but, like Bunnell, Beaver knows that it’s ultimately the relationships with farmers that lead to lending success.

“It’s about understanding what the farmers need, building those relationships, building that trust and standing by them when the times get tough,” he says.


Agriculture: Less than $300 million in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
Red River State Bank Halstad MN 95.32
First State Bank Randolph NE 94.65
Security Bank Midwest Chancellor SD 94.61
4 Anchor State Bank Anchor IL 94.50
5 Prairie Sun Bank Milan MN 94.07
Bank of Lindsay Lindsay NE 93.22
First State Bank Minnesota Le Roy MN 93.20
8 Bank of Hartington Hartington NE 92.13
9 The Citizens State Bank and Trust Company Council Grove KS 92.06
10  The State Bank of Wynnewood Wynnewood OK 92.05
11 Lincoln State Bank Hankinson ND 91.73
12 Security Bank Laurel NE 91.47
13  State Bank of Bern Bern KS 91.42
14  Cedar Valley Bank & Trust La Porte City IA 91.21
15 Campbell County Bank Herreid SD 91.14
16  Metz Banking Company Nevada MO 91.08
17 Progressive Ozark Bank Salem MO 90.96
18  The Peoples Bank Marion KY 90.74
19 Silex Banking Company Silex MO 90.60
20 Horizon Financial Bank Munich ND 90.56
Agriculture: $300 million to $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
NSB Bank Mason City IA 92.38
Iowa State Bank Orange City IA 92.28
BTC Bank Bethany MO 92.13
4 American Bank, National Association Le Mars IA 92.01
5 MBT Bank Forest City IA 91.38
First Southern Bank Florence AL 91.10
First State Bank Buxton ND 91.03
8 First Community Bank of the Heartland, Inc. Clinton KY 90.71
9 First FarmBank Greeley CO 90.53
10  Bank of Pontiac Pontiac IL 90.35
11 Green Belt Bank & Trust Iowa Falls IA 90.33
12 BankNorth Arthur ND 90.33
13  Classic Bank, National Association Cameron TX 89.96
14  United Prairie Bank Mountain Lake MN 89.86
15 Primebank Le Mars IA 89.61
16  Cattlemens Bank Altus OK 89.46
17 Stock Growers Bank Forman ND 89.43
18  Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust Norfolk NE 89.21
19 Citizens Bank Minnesota New Ulm MN 88.81
20 Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Pierz Pierz MN 88.77
Agriculture: More than $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
United Bank of Iowa Ida Grove IA 87.89
Wood & Huston Bank Marshall MO 87.37
Fidelity Bank & Trust Dyersville IA 84.36
4 Independence Bank Havre MT 83.75
5 The First National Bank In Sioux Falls Sioux Falls SD 83.20
Bravera Bank Dickinson ND 83.07
Southern Bancorp Bank Little Rock AR 82.78
8 Plumas Bank Quincy CA 81.80
9 First Bank of Berne First Bank of Berne IN 81.59
10  Minnwest Bank Redwood Falls MN 80.86
11 CBI Bank & Trust Muscatine IA 80.66
12 Dakota Community Bank & Trust, National Association Hebron ND 79.36
13  Citizens Alliance Bank Clara City MN 78.86
14  Guaranty Bank & Trust, N.A. Mount Pleasant TX 78.15
15 Guaranty Bank and Trust Company Belzoni MS 78.10
16  OakStar Bank Springfield MO 77.95
17 PrimeSouth Bank Blackshear GA 77.55
18  American State Bank Sioux Center IA 77.46
19 Exchange Bank Grand Island NE 77.39
20 Vista Bank Dallas TX 77.26

Greg Bynum, Shakita Miller, Julie Pine, Joshua Rowland, and Mike Beattie.

Lead Bank takes the lead with, from L to R, president Greg Bynum; VP and associate general counsel Shakita Miller; EVP, general counsel and chief risk officer Julie Pine; CEO and vice chairman Joshua C. Rowland; and EVP and chief technology officer Mike Beattie. Photo by Steve Puppe


CONSUMER AND MORTGAGE

Helping consumers get ahead

One of the missions of Lead Bank in Lee’s Summit, Mo., is to help consumers who have difficulty accessing the financial system, especially those who have been historically marginalized. So, when the community bank’s leadership learned of a fintech that needed a bank partner to launch a credit-building tech product, they were intrigued.

Lead Bank

Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Asset size: $738 million
Consumer lender score: 96.6
Rank in category: 2

“Our CEO, Josh Rowland, went to a meeting of the Financial Health Network, an organization that helps consumers improve their financial health, and they said, ‘We should introduce you to this fintech who has this product and needs a partner,’” says Greg Bynum, president of the $738 million-asset bank.

That meeting four years ago led to the launch of Lead Bank’s Credit Builder Account program, which is accessed through an app developed by Self Financial, a fintech. Self Financial handles the technology, including access to online accounts and an app, as well as marketing aspects of the program, and Lead Bank provides the compliance and access to the banking system. It is available to consumers in all 50 states.

Why did this program help propel Lead Bank onto Independent Banker’s Top Lenders list? Because the Credit Builder Account program begins with a $1,000 loan to the consumer, which is deposited into a certificate of deposit at the community bank instead of being disbursed to the borrower. The borrower makes monthly payments over the course of 12 months. Assuming the borrower makes the payments on time, they end the year with an improved credit score and $1,000 in savings.

“In our four-year relationship with Self, we’ve helped in excess of a million consumers establish or improve their credit scores,” Bynum reports. “We’ve been really happy with it. It’s a way to help consumers get access to financial services in a financially responsible way. Some banks see fintechs as competitors, but if you can combine the strengths of the banking industry and the strengths of the fintech, it can really be a win-win.”

Two years ago, Lead Bank and Self expanded the program to include a secured credit card. Since the successful Credit Builder Account participants end the program with $1,000 in the bank, they have the cash to secure the card. More than 500,000 customers have received secured cards through the program.


Joshua C. Rowland with Greg Bynum

At left, Lead Bank’s CEO and vice chairman Joshua C. Rowland with Greg Bynum, president. Photo by Steve Puppe


Taking the lead on financial literacy

Teaching people about wise money management is a key part of the Credit Builder Account program, Bynum says. “We do a lot of financial education to help consumers know what behaviors help their credit scores. For example, if their outstanding credit card balance gets above 30% of what’s available, that tends to hurt their credit score, so we send a little notice that says they may want to pay it down.”

Self and Lead Bank will probably add more banking products in the future, but they are not rushing things.

“We’re being very methodical about what products we introduce,” Bynum says. “We’re surveying consumers about what they need; that’s how we came up with the secured credit card. It’s important for us to do it in a financially responsible way so that we’re always helping the consumer develop good financial habits and improve their credit.”


Consumer/Mortgage: Less than $300 million in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
Citizens Guaranty Bank Irvine KY 94.06
The Miners National Bank of Eveleth Eveleth MN 93.72
First Security Bank of Deer Lodge Deer Lodge MT 93.39
4 The National Iron Bank Salisbury CT 93.37
5 The First National Bank of Gilbert Gilbert MN 93.35
Bank of Billings Billings MO 92.94
Second Federal Savings & Loan Association of Philadelphia Philadelphia PA 92.25
8 Bristol Morgan Bank Oakfield WI 92.01
9 Simmesport State Bank Mansura LA 91.74
10  Lowry State Bank Lowry MN 91.42
11 Eclipse Bank, Inc. Louisville KY 91.40
12 Collins State Bank Collins WI 90.94
13  Wrentham Co-operative Bank Wrentham MA 90.55
14  First Federal Savings and Loan Association Aberdeen MS 90.44
15 First Security Bank Byron MN 90.43
16  Wahoo State Bank Wahoo NE 90.41
17 Waterman Bank Waterman IL 90.38
18  Woodsfield Savings Bank Woodsfield OH 90.37
19 Citizens Bank of Morgantown, Inc. Morgantown WV 90.34
20 Bank of Holland Holland NY 90.04 
Consumer/Mortgage: $300 million to $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
Quontic Bank New York NY 97.94
Lead Bank Lee’s Summit MO 96.60
North Shore Bank of Commerce Duluth MN 96.03
4 First Central Savings Bank Glen Cove NY 94.25
5 Passumpsic Savings Bank Saint Johnsbury VT 92.25
The Garrett State Bank Garrett IN 91.96
Beacon Community Bank Charleston SC 91.43
8 First Bank Burkburnett TX 90.80
9 Bank of San Francisco San Francisco CA 90.73
10  Haverhill Bank Haverhill MA 90.53
11 First Capital Bank Laurinburg NC 90.39
12 Sullivan Bank Sullivan MO 89.51
13  Chickasaw Community Bank Oklahoma City OK 89.37
14  American National Bank of Minnesota Brainerd MN 89.04
15 First Savings Bank of Hegewisch Chicago IL 88.20
16  Farmers State Bank Cameron MO 88.07
17 The Bank Jennings LA 87.81
18  1st Colonial Community Bank Cherry Hill NJ 87.67
19 1st National Bank of Scotia Scotia NY 87.04
20 First Federal Bank & Trust Sheridan WY 86.93
Consumer/Mortgage: More than $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
Metro City Bank Doraville GA 98.27
Northpointe Bank Grand Rapids MI 96.28
Martha’s Vineyard Bank Edgartown MA 93.95
4 North Easton Savings Bank South Easton MA 92.70
5 MidFirst Bank Oklahoma City OK 91.91
Leader Bank, National Association Arlington MA 91.41
Kennebec Savings Bank Augusta ME 90.85
8 Main Street Bank Marlborough MA 90.69
9 The Lyons National Bank Geneva NY 89.28
10  TriState Capital Bank Pittsburgh PA 88.18
11 Bradesco BAC Florida Bank Coral Gables FL 87.71
12 Bell Bank Fargo ND 86.47
13  Southern First Bank Greenville SC 86.11
14  Blue Ridge Bank, National Association Luray  VA 85.89
15 The Superior National Bank and Trust Company of Hancock Hancock MI 85.40
16  The Canandaigua National Bank and Trust Company Canandaigua NY 85.13
17 The Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank Dunmore PA 85.05
18  Northway Bank Berlin NH 84.61
19 First Federal Savings Bank of Twin Falls Twin Falls ID 83.46
20 Anderson Brothers Bank Mullins SC 83.04

COMMERCIAL

A sweet spot for underserved commercial clients

“Doing well by doing good” could be the unofficial community banking motto. But in the case of $163 million-asset New Haven Bank, in New Haven, Conn., it is particularly apt. The community bank has succeeded while lending to nonprofits, mom-and-pop businesses and many other clients not well served by megabanks.

New Haven Bank

New Haven, Conn.
Asset size: $163 million
Commercial lender score: 90.00
Rank in category: 19

New Haven Bank is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), meaning that at least 60% of its business must be conducted in low- to moderate-income areas. And it is the only locally owned bank in the city.

“We serve a market that the larger financial institutions really don’t serve well,” says Maureen Frank, the community bank’s president and CEO, adding that its average loan size is about $400,000. “We’ve really developed a sweet spot.”

She explains the bank has focused on serving New Haven’s underbanked community since it was launched in 2010 after a mutual savings bank in town went public and was absorbed by a larger institution.

“When that happened,” she recalls, “the former mayor of New Haven challenged the CEO of that institution to set aside funds so that a community bank with mission-driven objectives could be formed. So that’s where the capital to start New Haven Bank came from.”


Tom Whitbread, William Hice, Maureen Frank, Iris Velazquez, Michael Aquilino and Richard Venditto

L to R, New Haven Bank’s Tom Whitbread, William Hice, Maureen Frank, Iris Velazquez, Michael Aquilino and Richard Venditto focus on serving underbanked communities. Photo courtesy of New Haven Bank


PPP for the people

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was important to New Haven Bank’s success in 2020 and 2021. The community bank netted $32 million in loans those years, including about 200 loans in 2021 for $21 million.

“We lent to retailers, restaurants, nonprofits, small mom-and-pop stores, barber shops, beauty salons, day cares, churches … we did not turn anybody away,” Frank says. “We embraced the spirit of the PPP and handled anybody who came our way. More than half of our loans were to noncustomers.” She says that a third of the noncustomers commented that their current bank at the time either would not give them a PPP loan or would not help them with the process. In contrast, New Haven Bank expended energy making sure all of them were served.

“We spent a lot of time with small businesses whose finances might not have been very sophisticated,” Frank says. “For some of them, their payroll was just a checkbook register.”

Attention to detail

That kind of close attention is part of the community bank’s normal routine. For example, to better serve nonprofit clients, New Haven Bank works to understand the business models and funding sources of each. That diligence pays off: Frank says the bank has not had to deal with any delinquent loans among its nonprofit clients.

The future looks bright enough that New Haven Bank is currently seeking locations in two nearby towns, West Haven and Hamden.

“We’re excited about expanding,” Frank says. “We’re one of the very few banks that received a charter after the financial collapse in 2008, and we’re still going. Any de novo is a challenge, but it’s been rewarding, and I think we’ve helped a lot of people and hope to continue to do that as we grow.”


Commercial: Less than $300 million in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
Barwick Banking Company Barwick GA 99.54
State Bank Rock Springs WY 98.55
California International Bank, N.A. Westminster CA 96.09
4 Kendall Bank Valley Falls KS 96.00
5 United Bank of Philadelphia Philadelphia PA 95.83
PeopleFirst Bank Joliet IL 95.57
CapTex Bank, National Association Trenton TX 94.41
8 Unity National Bank Houston TX 94.07
9 The Home Savings And Loan Company of Kenton, Ohio Kenton OH 93.52
10  North Valley Bank Denver CO 92.87
11 American Bank of Beaver Dam Beaver Dam WI 92.82
12 SouthernTrust Bank Goreville IL 92.17
13  Embassy National Bank Lawrenceville GA 92.00
14  Southern Bank Sardis GA 91.59
15 BCBank, Inc. Philippi WV 91.45
16  FMS Bank Fort Morgan CO 91.27
17 Eagle Bank Polson MT 90.93
18  First Colorado National Bank Paonia CO 90.45
19 New Haven Bank New Haven CT 90.00
20 Ergo Bank Markesan WI 89.66
Commercial: $300 million to $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
MRV Banks Sainte Genevieve MO 97.87
Quaint Oak Bank Southampton PA 97.74
Flagship Bank Clearwater FL 96.82
4 Crown Bank Edina MN 96.30
5 Dundee Bank Omaha NE 95.72
Asian Bank Philadelphia PA 95.35
SouthPoint Bank Birmingham AL 94.89
8 Falcon National Bank Saint Cloud MN 94.71
9 American State Bank Arp TX 93.88
10  Simply Bank Dayton  TN 93.69
11 OptimumBank Ft. Lauderdale FL 93.32
12 Greenwoods State Bank Lake Mills WI 93.25
13  Plains State Bank Humble TX 93.07
14  Bank3 Memphis TN 92.83
15 Prime Alliance Bank Woods Cross UT 92.68
16  Mechanics & Farmers Bank Durham NC 92.49
17 Bank of Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin Dells WI 92.21
18  Texas Heritage National Bank Daingerfield TX 92.02
19 CommerceOne Bank Birmingham AL 91.48
20 First IC Bank Doraville GA 91.30
Commercial: More than $1 billion in assets
Rank Bank Name City State Ag Lender Score
State Bank of Texas Dallas TX 97.34
Cogent Bank Orlando Fl 96.97
CFG Community Bank Baltimore MD 96.44
4 Encore Bank Little Rock AR 96.34
5 Poppy Bank Santa Rosa CA 96.19
MVB Bank, Inc. Fairmont WV 94.15
Forbright Bank Chevy Chase MD 94.11
8 Bankwell Bank New Canaan CT 93.97
9 Woori America Bank New York NY 93.23
10  Pacific National Bank Miami FL 92.96
11 TriState Capital Bank Pittsburgh PA 92.10
12 Southern States Bank Anniston AL 91.67
13  One Community Bank Oregon WI 91.35
14  Metropolitan Commercial Bank New York NY 90.63
15 Summit Community Bank, Inc. Moorefield WV 90.47
16  Transportation Alliance Bank, Inc. Ogden UT 89.78
17 Israel Discount Bank of New York New York NY 89.75
18  Park State Bank Duluth MN 89.21
19 Blue Ridge Bank, National Association Luray VA 88.83
20 Central Bank Storm Lake IA 88.22

Ed Avis is a writer in Illinois.