Community Banking Can Help Build a Better St. Louis. Here’s How.
When you think of banks or banking, a few general characteristics come to mind – the bank’s asset size, the loan-to-asset ratio, ratio of core deposits to assets – you get the picture. When you think of community banks, specifically as compared to banks with a national presence, two general themes come to mind, community and locally owned.
However, if you dive a bit deeper into the differences between the larger, more national banks and your locally owned and operated community banks, there is another singular characteristic that emerges as a key difference that truly defines community banks:
A great bank isn’t just defined by the size of assets under management or a favorable loan-to-asset ratio. While the size of a bank can vary, we should all agree the purpose of a bank shouldn’t just be growth. Instead, a bank should be defined by how well it serves its community.
A bank aspiring to meet the higher standard of “service to its community” – rather than the prescriptive standard of growth for growth’s sake – should continually ask itself three questions:
Does the bank have a passion for SMB’s (small to mid-sized businesses) and burgeoning entrepreneurs?
Does the bank have a passion for its community?
Does the bank really know its community?
At Saint Louis Bank, the answer to each of these questions is “Yes.”
We have a passion for providing service to our clients, our entrepreneurs because we are entrepreneurs. In 2018, our CEO, Travis Liebig, led a group that purchased and is reinventing Saint Louis Bank around this higher standard. That’s right: In case it wasn’t obvious, we not only have a passion for our community—we are literally named for our community.
We are deeply proud of our connection to this city and the broader St. Louis region. In fact, “Pride of Place” is one of our core values. So is “Unleashing Inspiration”—and at Saint Louis Bank, central to our strategy is to better serve the place we call home by inspiring and unleashing the talent right here in our own backyard.
And in our own front yard.
And in our own side yard.
And in the fields on the edge of Wentzville to the Wildey Theater in Edwardsville.
And on the patios of the new urban lofts dotting the downtown skyline.
And on the playgrounds of every school in every district of our region.
There is talent in St. Louis. There is enormous potential in St. Louis. There is a better future waiting for our St. Louis; but the entrepreneurs, our dreamers and believers, who will build our brighter future need financial institutions that better understand this point while simultaneously working to serve its community by looking beyond traditional measures that only work for the bank. They need a bank that looks at the community. And at the person.
Our mission is simple – to return banking to the community. Our charge, as a community bank, is to serve businesses and entrepreneurs who possess the same qualities we strive for: diligence, charisma, genuineness, vigilance, honor, resourcefulness, and an unshakable drive to achieve big things.
St. Louis will be best served by the banking community when we, as bankers, engage our community. We need to actively seek out dreamers and believers who have a good idea and are excited about making a difference in St. Louis by owning a small business or starting their own company. We need to understand their needs, work to meet them where they are, and build together.
Every bank in this region needs to stop waiting for the community to walk into its lobby. Instead, we need to walk through our own lobby on our way into the community we’re charged with serving and ask, “What can we do for you today?”
That’s what Saint Louis Bank does. Does your bank do the same?