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HomeBankingThe highest-performing network banks of 2021 – Impartial Banker

The highest-performing network banks of 2021 – Impartial Banker

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Impartial Banker’s annual list top-performing network banks of 2021 along interviews with one of the winners. In true network financial institution type, each and every has its personal tale to inform and its personal trail to good fortune.

By means of Molly Bennett, with contributions from William Atkinson, Ed Avis, and Colleen Morrison

What suits one does now not are compatible all.
Whether or not it’s services, era methods or worker advantages, impartial network banks come to a decision on their very own phrases what’s very best for his or her trade and their consumers. This independence used to be extremely treasured all over but every other 12 months the place transparent heads and nimble ft had been important to good fortune. At the subsequent pages, you’ll in finding our listings of the top-performing network banks of 2021 along interviews with one of the winners. In true network financial institution type, each and every has its personal tale to inform and its personal trail to good fortune. —Molly Bennett, government editor, Impartial Banker

Lower than $300 million

By means of William Atkinson

Lower than $300 million
Rank Financial institution Identify Town State 3-yr moderate pre-tax ROA
Philadelphia Believe Corporate
Philadelphia PA 9.12
Brazos Nationwide Financial institution Richwood TX 6.11
First Federal Financial institution, A FSB Tuscaloosa AL 5.52
4 Allied First Financial institution, SB Oswego IL 5.22
5 Nebraska State Financial institution Oshkosh NE 3.66
Neighbors Financial institution Clarence MO 3.18
Precedence Financial institution Fayetteville AR 3.08
8 Cumberland Safety Financial institution, Inc. Somerset KY 3.07
9 Union Financial institution & Believe Corporate Livingston TN 2.97
10  The Bippus State Financial institution Huntington IN 2.91
11 McKenzie Banking Corporate McKenzie TN 2.88
12 Peoples State Financial institution Cherryvale KS 2.83
13  PrinsBank Prinsburg MN 2.8
14  Douglas Nationwide Financial institution Douglas GA 2.77
15 Sherburne State Financial institution Becker MN 2.74
16  House Financial institution of California San Diego CA 2.74
17 First Safety Financial institution of Deer Resort Deer Resort MT 2.69
18  North Valley Financial institution Denver CO 2.68
19 First Western Federal Financial savings Financial institution Fast Town SD 2.68
20 Financial institution of Montana Missoula MT 2.68
21  First Financial institution of Ohio Tiffin OH 2.58
22 Ultima Financial institution Minnesota Fosston MN 2.57
23  Wyoming Financial institution & Believe Cheyenne WY 2.57
24 The First State Financial institution Abernathy TX 2.57
25 First State Financial institution Elmore Town OK 2.55

Trevor Lavy

Trevor Lavy, chairman and CEO, Precedence Financial institution

No. 7

Precedence Financial institution
Fayetteville, Ark.

$100 million

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Trevor Lavy, chairman and CEO
Precedence Financial institution

Q: What does your network financial institution do in reality neatly?

A: As in any a hit group, it’s the individuals who make the adaptation. Our folks paintings longer, tougher and smarter to serve our consumers.

Q: Is there anything else you assume your financial institution does higher than different banks?

A: We shove the decision-making procedure as some distance down as we will within the financial institution. Nice folks don’t need to be micromanaged. They would like duties to finish during which they may be able to see their very own influences in spite of everything effects. This creates glad folks and glad consumers.

Q: Do you’ve any plans for long term enhancements?

A: We’re all the time taking a look to make stronger, so this implies discovering extra nice folks to paintings right here who’re in search of greater than only a process.

Sam Blackard

Sam Blackard, government vp, Peoples State Financial institution

No. 12

Peoples State Financial institution
Cherryvale, Kan.

$18 million

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Sam Blackard, government vp
Peoples State Financial institution

We aren’t doing anything else groundbreaking out right here. Fairly the other, in reality—we frequently select to lag at the back of competition in providing new services purely because of limitations to access from a natural price point of view.

In case your definition of a peak performer is according to ROA, then the 2 number one causes for our stage of efficiency is our leverage and LTD (mortgage to deposit) ratios. To be able to compete as a small financial institution, we have now been pressured to stay higher-than-peer capital ranges, in order that our lending prohibit permits us to carrier native debtors’ wishes. If we had been to have capital ranges extra in keeping with peer averages, we might slightly be capable of originate and stay loan loans of any measurement. 

Crucial factor has been our skill to assume out of doors the field and make offers paintings that different banks won’t be capable of. I do really feel that is a space during which we excel and do higher than any other banks. This isn’t to mention we’re higher bankers, however that is what we need to do with a view to carve our area of interest.

I additionally really feel we have now finished an attractive excellent process of conserving down our non-interest bills, taking into account that we’re a single-location financial institution. We additionally worth for chance and stay a easy steadiness sheet. This has allowed us to resist adjustments in rates of interest with out a lot hassle.

Long run enhancements? We’re taking a look into making an investment in a brand new espresso maker.

Tom Swenson

Tom Swenson, CEO and chairman of the board, Financial institution of Montana

No. 20

Financial institution of Montana
Missoula, Mont.

$225 million

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Tom Swenson, CEO and chairman of the board
Financial institution of Montana

“We use the ‘Miracle on thirty fourth Boulevard’ way to serving customers,” says Tom Swenson, Financial institution of Montana’s CEO and chairman of the board. “This is, we search for customers who in point of fact are a herbal fit for our tradition and restricted merchandise. If we all know we aren’t the most efficient fit for them, corresponding to now not having the most efficient product for assembly their present wishes, we direct them to who we all know is best at assembly their wishes.”

Financial institution of Montana supplies in point of fact customized business mortgage answers for a small collection of transactions, when put next with different banks. “In those transactions, we’re obviously including worth to our consumers’ trade,” Swenson says. “This manner sacrifices most enlargement and measurement for sturdy efficiency relative to our measurement.”

The network financial institution’s marketing strategy is to copy good fortune tales. “We plan to stay doing what we’ve been doing neatly—simply extra of it,” says Swenson. “This may increasingly let us keep growing slowly and construct long-term worth.”

$300 million to $1 billion

By means of Ed Avis

$300 million to $1 billion
Rank Financial institution Identify Town State 3-yr moderate pre-tax ROA
FinWise Financial institution Murray UT 9.9
Willamette Valley Financial institution Salem OR 8.7
Stafford Financial savings Financial institution Stafford Springs CT 7.98
4 Financial institution of England England AR 7.91
5 One American Financial institution Sioux Falls SD 6.21
Magnolia Financial institution, Inc. Hodgenville KY 5.66
College Financial institution Ann Arbor MI 5.39
8 Central Financial institution of Kansas Town Kansas Town MO 4.88
9 Apex Financial institution Camden TN 4.7
10  Peoples Financial institution Mendenhall MS 4.24
11 First Group Financial institution of Tennessee Shelbyville TN 4.22
12 Quontic Financial institution New York NY 3.6
13  FSNB, Nationwide Affiliation Citadel Sill OK 3.52
14  Pioneer Believe Financial institution, Nationwide Affiliation Salem OR 3.19
15 Chickasaw Group Financial institution Oklahoma Town OK 3.07
16  Capital Group Financial institution Provo UT 2.95
17 AMG Nationwide Believe Financial institution Boulder CO 2.92
18  First Financial institution Burkburnett TX 2.89
19 House Mortgage Funding Financial institution, F.S.B. Warwick RI 2.88
20 HNB Nationwide Financial institution Hannibal MO 2.81
21  Genesee Regional Financial institution Rochester NY 2.69
22 BankVista Sartell MN 2.68
23  Presidential Financial institution, FSB Bethesda MD 2.66
24 The Financial institution of Previous Monroe Previous Monroe MO 2.63
25 Electorate Financial institution Carthage TN 2.6

Stefan Freeman

Stefan Freeman, CEO and president, BankVista

Amy Meyer

Amy Meyer, senior vp, CFO and CCO, BankVista

No. 22

Sartell, Minn.

$471.6 million

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Stefan Freeman, CEO and president, and
Amy Meyer, senior vp, CFO and CCO


BankVista has been the SBA Lender of the 12 months in Minnesota for 6 years working, which situated the network financial institution completely to assist customers all over COVID-19. The financial institution issued 2,182 PPP loans in 2020 and 2021. Recipients incorporated non-clients, a lot of whom therefore moved their banking dating to BankVista.

“We have a look at dangerous instances as a time of alternative, now not a time to move slowly into your shell,” says Stefan Freeman, CEO and president. “That served us neatly all over the pandemic.”

Underlying BankVista’s good fortune has been a control philosophy concentrated on open debate about find out how to make stronger, Freeman provides. The network financial institution makes use of the Entrepreneurial Working Gadget, often referred to as EOS Traction, to stay departmental efforts aligned.

One more reason BankVista does neatly is its “folks first” thought, says Amy Meyer, senior vp, CFO and COO. This contains quarterly and annual “shopper enjoy” awards for workers who excel, and an emphasis on bank-wide conversation to stay pals mindful and abreast of the group’s targets and the position each and every person performs.

“We’re in point of fact seeking to be a community-focused financial institution in the beginning, each with our consumers and internally,” Meyer says. “I’m happy with the whole thing we’ve been in a position to accomplish.”

Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster, president and CEO, Willamette Valley Financial institution


Ryan Dempster, president and CEO
Willamette Valley Financial institution

Willamette Valley Financial institution has issued greater than $1.6 billion in mortgages each and every of the closing two years, however the amount of loans does now not get in the best way of private carrier. “We attempt to carry the network financial institution fashion to loan banking,” says Ryan Dempster, president and CEO of the financial institution, which has 17 places in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. “We’re discovering that the loan mortgage procedure continues to be a thriller and tough for many of us to navigate, so that they’ve come to understand a excessive stage of carrier.”

Dempster says his financial institution does have the era to care for loan transactions just about, and a few consumers favor that. However there are all the time actual folks to be had for patrons who need a face-to-face assembly.

The network financial institution’s personalized touch extends to business banking, Dempster asserts. Not like consumers of many better establishments, debtors at Willamette Valley Financial institution paintings at once with resolution makers. “We be capable to spend a bit extra time with the borrower, working out what their targets are, having the ability to paintings tougher to make the transaction paintings for each the borrower and the financial institution,” he says.

The personalized touch ends up in growing relationships with consumers, he provides. “We get numerous consumers referring new trade to us, which is without equal stamp of approval personally.”

Phil Pecora

Philip Pecora, president and CEO, Genesee Regional Financial institution

No. 21

Genesee Regional Financial institution
Rochester, N.Y.

$1 billion

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Philip Pecora, president and CEO
Genesee Regional Financial institution

Q: Why has Genesee Regional Financial institution succeeded?

A: We strategically situated ourselves to profit from the marketplace. We’ve been the number 1 SBA lender in our marketplace for the previous two years, so we had been neatly situated to lend a hand our customers with the PPP program. We had been appearing so hastily that we took care of our personal customers, after which we had capability to tackle some consumers who couldn’t get [PPP loans] from their common financial institution. We transformed numerous the ones relationships.

Q: How about your loan trade?

A: During the last 3 years, we’ve greater than doubled our loan trade. We did $458 million closing 12 months. As a result of we were given into the loan trade best 10 years in the past, we targeted at the acquire trade, whilst our pageant concentrated on refi. We had been gaining extra marketplace proportion through calling on all of the Realtors.

Q: What else will increase your good fortune?

A: Era. We concentrated on era to care for the transaction facet of our trade, to make the again finish seamless. That permits us to concentrate on the private facet of the trade. What differentiates us is the private relationships, however the era is a must have. We’re now not going to guide in era [as a smaller bank], however we need to be speedy fans.

Greater than $1 billion

By means of Colleen Morrison

$300 million to $1 billion
Rank Financial institution Identify Town State 3-yr moderate pre-tax ROA
NBKC Financial institution Overland Park KS 8.31
Gateway First Financial institution Jenks OK 6.35
State Financial institution of Texas Dallas TX 4.17
4 Plains Trade Financial institution Sioux Falls SD 4.06
5 Chief Financial institution, Nationwide Affiliation Arlington MA 3.74
First Financial savings Financial institution Beresford SD 3.71
Northpointe Financial institution Grand Rapids MI 3.62
8 BNC Nationwide Financial institution Glendale AZ 3.52
9 Stearns Financial institution Nationwide Affiliation Saint Cloud MN 3.4
10  Wallis Financial institution Wallis TX 3.34
11 Metro Town Financial institution Doraville GA 3.27
12 BankSouth Greensboro GA 3.21
13  Pass River Financial institution Citadel Lee NJ 3.08
14  Bell Financial institution Fargo ND 3.05
15 Cedar Rapids Financial institution and Believe Corporate Cedar Rapids IA 2.95
16  CFG Group Financial institution Baltimore MD 2.89
17 Emigrant Financial institution New York NY 2.89
18  The Yellowstone Financial institution Laurel MT 2.86
19 Financial institution of Utica Utica NY 2.83
20 United Texas Financial institution Dallas TX 2.63
21  Sutton Financial institution Attica OH 2.57
22 Anderson Brothers Financial institution Mullins SC 2.43
23  Meridian Financial institution Malvern PA 2.43
24 Western State Financial institution Devils Lake ND 2.42
25 MVB Financial institution, Inc. Fairmont WV 2.41

Michael Bartkoski

Michael Bartkoski, government vp and leader working officer, NBKC Financial institution

No. 1

NBKC Financial institution
Overland Park, Kan.

$1.04 billion

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Michael Bartkoski,
government vp and leader working officer

NBKC Financial institution

Q: What has led NBKC’s enlargement?

A: We have now been lucky to expand deep partnerships with some nice fintechs. This line of industrial has been a vital contributor to our enlargement in non-interest-bearing deposits and price source of revenue. Most significantly, it has modified the best way that we take into consideration product supply and buyer acquisition.

We even have noticed enlargement in our national house loans trade. Whilst it’s been a positive marketplace, our good fortune displays an intentional center of attention on our folks, customized era building and buyer opinions/delight.

Q: How did COVID have an effect on you?

A: The disruption in our day-to-day lives used to be a rallying level to take a look at out new concepts. We doubled down on our efforts to care for our folks, and we discovered that a few of our roles carried out higher remotely. We discovered so much about how our groups paintings that can permit for higher flexibility transferring ahead.

Q: How does your group give a contribution for your good fortune?

A: We have now been laser-focused on development the most efficient groups imaginable, and we have now been identified as a peak employer 5 years working. Any good fortune that we revel in is the results of having nice folks.

Michael Solberg

Michael Solberg, president and CEO, Bell Financial institution

No. 14

Bell Financial institution
Fargo, N.D.

$10 billion

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:


bell.financial institution


Michael Solberg, president and CEO
Bell Financial institution

Wholesome cultures are what separate numerous the high-performing banks. We center of attention lovely closely on development a tradition that pulls and keeps nice folks over the longer term, and that in reality has paid off with decrease turnover and nonetheless a capability to head out and organically draw in workers in new enlargement markets for us.

On the finish of 2021, we gave each worker $10,000 as an advantage to thank them. 5 thousand bucks they were given to stay, and $5,000 they needed to move out and provides to a circle of relatives or a person or a company in want.

One of the crucial issues we’re tremendous happy with as a network financial institution, in each town and each a part of the rustic, network banks paved the way with giving again. What makes our program a bit other is it’s now not our house owners or our board or our executives deciding the place to take a position those tens of millions of bucks, it’s our 2,000 workers.

It in reality provides that means to the paintings that all of us do on the financial institution on a daily basis. If you happen to care for folks, the numbers care for themselves.

Harold Reynolds

Harold Reynolds, chairman and CEO, BankSouth

No. 12

Greensboro, Ga.

$1.2 billion

3-year moderate
pre-tax ROA:




Harold Reynolds, chairman
and CEO


For BankSouth, celebrating its seventy fifth anniversary in 2021 got here with some icing at the cake: It used to be additionally one of the crucial network financial institution’s peak efficiency years thus far. Hiking to only underneath $1.2 billion in resources, the Greensboro, Ga.-based financial institution attributes its enlargement to a sizzling housing marketplace, its center of attention on builder and residential loan lending, and the industrial good fortune in its markets.

“We simply noticed massive enlargement in homebuying; we originated and installed houses for approximately 6,000 households closing 12 months,” says Harold Reynolds, chairman and CEO. “We had been very instrumental in growing this house, and to look the trade and the alternatives it’s generated for such a lot of folks and companies, and to grasp you’re part of that… that’s network banking.”

However this good fortune doesn’t stem from happenstance. Reynolds issues to BankSouth’s center of attention on innovation as a contributing issue. The financial institution has run a program for greater than 5 years the place workers publish concepts for addressing ache issues, and the ones ideas make their solution to government control and subject-matter professionals for attention and, incessantly, implementation.

“I don’t cross a chance to make a pitch for leading edge concepts,” Reynolds says. “We’ve had some massive wins popping out of that. We’re now not afraid to take a look at issues that we haven’t finished ahead of.”

How we compiled those ratings

ICBA compiled this 12 months’s ratings with the purpose of spotting network banks which can be constant excessive performers. The usage of FDIC knowledge, we took into consideration pre-tax return-on-assets (ROA) figures from the previous 3 years, with the latest 12 months weighted at 3x, 2d most up-to-date 12 months at 2x and 3rd most up-to-date 12 months at 1x. We then divided the network banks into 3 wide segments according to asset measurement and ranked each and every phase according to our three-year weighted moderate ROA. A financial institution would have to have a score of C or increased through Kroll Bond Scores (previously LACE) to be regarded as for score.

William Atkinson is a author in Illinois. Ed Avis is a author in Illinois. Colleen Morrison is a author in Maryland.




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