Businesses Speak Out - Bankers Edition

Banking Edition June 2020

A collection of short interviews and education from local businesses and amazing insights into the challenges today, focusing on the Banking Industry.

ActionCOACH, Heather Marquez (HM) virtually sits down with bankers to learn how they are working through COVID-19.  Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic, as well as ideas. Most importantly, visit the company websites.  Reach out to those who offer services you can use.  Let’s support each other and get through this together!


Wells Fargo, Phil Nash

Commercial Relationship Manager 

Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational financial services company headquartered in San Francisco, California, with central offices throughout the United States. It is the world's fourth-largest bank by market capitalization and the fourth largest bank in the US by total assets. 

HM:  Who is your customer target audience, the ideal customer you are reaching out to?

PN:   Wells Fargo has three areas of focus and it would be number one is affordable housing; number two is financial education; and number three is small business growth. 

HM:  What would you say was the greatest impact that COVID-19 has had on your business?

PN:  From a customer service standpoint, having to close branches, limit hours and having staffing shortages related to quarantines.  Branch availability has made a big impact in my business and commercial banking – secondary to that our customers are financially impacted by either being forced to close, or their business in general is disrupted by lack of economic activity.  And then the systems administration helping clients, deferring interest and payments, actually administratively having to make that happen, that was challenging.  And the Government Programs, we had to invent the wheel on those too.  It presented delays and stress because you want to present fast options to your customers and we were slow to the market, that created challenges and challenging conversations.  

HM:  What one or two actions have you taken to make a difference in your business? 

PN:  The big thing is more frequent touches with our customer.  I used to want to talk to somebody maybe once a quarter, now it’s three times a week because everything changes so quickly.  We are sending periodicals, articles, with the latest information our teams have drummed up, or some of our CPA partners – making sure to push it out to my customers.  Trying to add value by providing information, making sure that you have the customers best interest at heart at all times. 

HM:  What mistakes did you make along the way in your career and how can other people in business and banking learn from your experience? 

PN:  I think the biggest thing that I learned, and I didn’t understand it right away, is making sure that the expectations are clear from the initial contacts, not making big promises that you can’t follow up on.  You don’t want to undersell, but I think there should be parity between the two parties…making sure people know here’s exactly what you can expect.  If you inundate people with a huge list of things they need to do and take all this time and be a really hard process. I think it probably creates a better experience that they know what they are going into matches what is explained.  So right away, I didn’t do that very appropriately.  Do it the right way the first time, don’t try to create shortcuts for yourself, it just creates a better experience at the end of the day.  So that’s a big lesson I’ve learned since I got started in it. 

HM:  What is most inspiring to you today and what is keeping you positive going through this? 

PN:  There’s that inner drive to keep going and be there for people.  I have to be there for my employer because there’s things that pop up like these PPP loans and the directive to have fewer people in the gathering space. If you have the ability to work from home, you need to be there.  We just needed to have as few people exposed to the public as possible, so our employees on the front lines started working in shifts.  I guess being there for people is driving me! 

Contact:

Philip.d.nash@wellsfargo.com  

319-235-4800

Great Western Bank, Ryan Cose 

Great Western Bank (NYSE:GWB) is a regional financial services company focused on business and agribusiness banking. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, our banking model seeks to balance the best of being a “big enough & small enough” bank, providing capabilities typical of a much larger bank, with a customer-focused culture usually associated with smaller banks. We rank as the 5th largest US farm lender (as of December 31, 2019) with more than 170 banking branches across nine states. 

HM:  Who is your customer target audience, the ideal customer you are reaching out to? 

RC:  We are commercially driven, but we don’t limit ourselves to a specific type of customer. We like to have a household relationship both on the business side as well as the retail side, where you have your everyday checking account, savings account or money market with your loan – we want to be your go to financial institution.  Whether it comes from the business side of business or retail side, no matter what, we want anybody who’s bankable.  We don’t have a specific demographic that we go after. 

HM:  What would you say was the greatest impact that COVID-19 has had on your business? 

RC:  Probably traffic, not having our lobbies open and adapting to the drive-through.  We’ve seen an uptick in drive-thru of course.  We can still be reached through through email, phone and can set appointments to where people come in, but that’s pretty few and far between.  We still opened a lot of business accounts, some of them due to the PPP so those funds can be direct deposited into it.  We want them to know we are able to maintain that relationship.  We have also grown some more with new businesses as well as existing business. 

HM:  What one or two actions have you taken to make a difference in your business? 

RC:  As far as staff, we’ve been giving employees a week off. Buying lunch for the employees, and actually buying lunch for the essential workers.  Last week we bought lunch for one of the local ER.  When we open our doors again, we are putting up plexiglass up in our lobbies and our teller lines and bankers desk.  Going above and beyond to take care of everyone.  We have a call every day for updates; sending out positive emails, things like that.  Our new CEO/President is sending out daily updates, and taking a step beyond and has reached out to some of our commercial customers as far as the PPP loans, touching base with them. 

HM:  What mistakes did you make along the way in your career and how can other people in business and banking learn from your experience? 

RC:  You want to make sure that you’re putting the right people in the right positions.  Make sure that you are tough enough to be able to get the right people put in the right place; and you might not know that until after the fact.  Maybe have one or two follow up interviews after that first initial interview.  Also have several other people sit in with you with different questions.  Another one would be make sure you’re staying caught up on what’s on your plate.  Have your daily schedule laid out.  Put your most important tasks first, get those done.    I’ve learned from those mistakes and have my ducks in a row in the last couple years now. Have your daily, weekly, monthly tasks and set reminders.  I think that really helps to go above and beyond and be successful.  

HM: What is most inspiring to you today and what is keeping you positive going through this? 

RC:  I would have to say our new CEO/President.  He just got hired and then all of a sudden this hit the fan.  He’s been an inspiration to me just to see how positive he’s been and those emails he sends out with positive reinforcement and things he has done for his employees.  That’s been a great inspiration. 

Contact:

Ryan.cose@greatwesternbank.com

319-242-7444

Denver Savings Bank, Ryan Sheridan, President

Denver Savings Bank opened its doors at the corner of State and Main Streets in Denver, Iowa, on January 2, 1902, with assets of only fifteen thousand dollars. In 2014 the bank decided to open its first branch location in Brothers Market, Denver’s new grocery store. The branch allows us to further meet our customer’s needs with its extended hours and convenient location.  With the addition of our current bank president, Ryan Sheridan, in 2015, we are excited to move towards the future. Denver Savings Bank is proud to be part of the Denver community, and embodies our mission statement: “Inspiring trust, individualizing service, and cultivating opportunities that improve quality of life for our customers, employees, shareholders, and community.”

HM:  Who is your customer target audience, the ideal customer you are reaching out to?

RS:  We work with customers all throughout the Cedar Valley, probably more than anything else, a commercial bank.  The bulk of our loan portfolio are business loans.  We do a lot of commercial real estate as well as equipment loans, operating lines of credit, those types of things.  After the commercial piece, we do a ton of residential mortgage loans. We do those throughout the entire Cedar Valley.  We also do business and mortgage loans throughout the country, various states – that surprises people.  So we have a far reaching customer base. 

HM:  What has been the greatest impact COVID-19 has had on your business?

RS:  I would say the biggest thing is with the PPP loan program.  Some banks or credit unions have struggled with the process, for us we’ve had just a tremendous influx of new customers that we’ve never worked with before, but they’ve heard that we could handle the PPP loans quickly and efficiently.  We’ve had a lot of referrals to us, just a new customer to the bank; so that’s probably the biggest impact. 

HM:  What one or two actions have you taken to make a difference in your business?

RS:  From an internal structure standpoint, we’ve never had people working remotely before.  We have 2 locations, both in Denver, so we segregated staff between the two locations, so that if one location were to get affected by COVID, that wed have another site that was still fully operational with its own team, and then just the people working remotely.  It’s been pretty effective.  It allowed us to see going forward that we can operate under different structures.  We are having a record year right now, so despite everything that’s on the news out there, its been a good year for us. 

HM:  What mistakes did you make along the way in your career and how can other people in business and banking learn from your experience?

RS:  I’m a huge reader, we read books as a team.  I think the mistake that any leader can fall into is not continually learning and growing.  We have to be willing to constantly evolve and change.  Mistakes earlier is maybe not understating how import having the right team around you is.  The biggest thing I would tell any leader is you have to have the right people in the right seat, it’s absolutely essential. The other thing too is just be willing to shake thing sup.  I think you can shake up the leadership team multiple times until you have the right chemistry, those are the things I think you learn over time. It’s about having the right people around you. 

HS:  What is most inspiring to you today and what is keeping you positive going through this?

RS:  I think the biggest inspiration is just watching our team perform on their own, like they’re empowered.  So I get inspired when I see our leadership team making decisions based on their judgements. I get inspired just by watching a really effective team working together. 

Contact:

319-984-5635

Rsheridan@bankdsb.com

 

US Bank, Regional President, Steve Brewer

We are committed to building your trust every day.

We work as a partner to provide financial products and services that make banking safe, simple and convenient. Our dedication to making ethical decisions and doing the right thing is at the heart of what we do and has earned us recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere® six years in a row.  Bank local with us and find a variety of U.S. Bank products and services designed to help you achieve. Enjoy checking and savings accounts, credit cards, merchant services, investment management, mortgage calculators, home loans and more. Our team is ready to help you every step of your financial way. Visit us at the branch, or browse this page to learn more.

HM:  Who is your customer target audience, the ideal customer you are reaching out to?

SB:  Consumer and business banking, commercial banking, AG banking, wealth management, mortgage lending, basically the full gamut of banking services provided within my region.

HM:  What has been the greatest impact COVID-19 has had on your business?

SB:  We had to figure out how to take care of our customers in a safe way.  A lot of us were set up to work at home in March and we closed the lobbies.  In our banks, it was appointment only.  We closed some of them permanently during COVID, because we use those employees to run the drive-thru facility and then the staff inside to help with all the different projects, manning call centers, working with our mortgage customers doing payment deferrals and loan modifications.  We did end up doing over 93,000 PPP Loans, and got off to a slow start because of the number of applications we got took us a while to get set up. But we’ve adjusted and worked through it.  Probably the biggest thing in the last two months, is customer care calls and customer outreach, probably 20 times normal. And then communicating with our employees how we can help them from home, with a lot done digitally; loan applications, digital documents, digital signing, funding right into an account off a mobile phone. That kind of platform has been growing and becoming more important. 

HM:  What one or two actions have you taken to make a difference in your business?

SBThe biggest thing is we gave a 20% raise to all the branch essential people.  If we’re making you work with a crew and facing the environment, and you essentially have to be there, you got a pay bump.  We had a lot of exempt employees, salaried employees, volunteer to go work in some of our op centers to handle the processing, so we put them on basically at the same pay rate hourly so they could get overtime, a lot of them were working 7 days a week, so that was a really good benefit.  The company has been really good about recognizing going above and beyond what we are asking people to do and compensating for that, we feel pretty good about that.  

HM:  What mistakes did you make along the way in your career and how can other people in business and banking learn from your experience?

SBI think the bank’s biggest mistake that probably hurt us and the most difficult conversation we’re having with customers is, we tried to come out with a digital solution for the SBA/PPP loans that really wasn’t ready.  It took us a good week to build that out and then to come up with a manual process so all of the bankers in the local markets can handle their customers themselves without relying on digital apps. Because we were presented with a little different problem, we had all these issues to work through. 

HS:  What is most inspiring to you today and what is keeping you positive going through this?

SB:  I think watching the reaction of my team.    Seeing how they do things differently and how everybody rolls up their sleeves overnight without any pushback.  A lot of people redeployed and pivoted.  I’m just really proud of how they responded to what we asked them to do and what our customers needed them to do.  They’re just keeping that customer focus, and wanting to help out in a tough situation.  The spirit is still very much alive and well.  A lot of good examples of people that went above and beyond - that really inspires me the most!

Contact:

319-235-3285

Steve.d.brewer@usbank.com


During the Covid-19 Crisis, I am putting aside 5 pro-bono hours a week to coach 5 business owners who need help to survive, re-open and thrive.

Call me:  #563-260-1530 or

Email me: heathermarquez@actioncoach.com

Please be safe, cautious and follow all guidelines. Remember to support your local business and be kind to one another.


Future ActionCOACH Mink Links events.

During this complimentary two hour workshop you will learn 6 ways to grow and develop your business.

This is our 7th annual Live2Lead Cedar Valley leadership development event. For the first time ever Live2Lead will be a virtual event.

Catch our last quarterly GrowthCLUB in 2020. During this ALL DAY workshop you will plan your success for 1st quarter 2021.

Click to find out more