Home Bank The highest-performing neighborhood banks of 2021 – Impartial Banker

The highest-performing neighborhood banks of 2021 – Impartial Banker

The highest-performing neighborhood banks of 2021 – Impartial Banker

Illustration by Eight Hour Day

Impartial Banker’s annual itemizing top-performing neighborhood banks of 2021 alongside interviews with among the winners. In true neighborhood financial institution trend, every has its personal story to inform and its personal path to success.

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

What suits one doesn’t match all.
Whether or not it’s services and products, expertise methods or worker advantages, unbiased neighborhood banks resolve on their very own phrases what’s finest for his or her enterprise and their clients. This independence was extremely invaluable throughout one more yr the place clear heads and nimble toes had been crucial to success. On the subsequent pages, you’ll discover our listings of the top-performing neighborhood banks of 2021 alongside interviews with among the winners. In true neighborhood financial institution trend, every has its personal story to inform and its personal path to success. —Molly Bennett, government editor, Impartial Banker

Lower than $300 million

By William Atkinson

Lower than $300 million
Rank Financial institution Identify Metropolis State 3-yr common pre-tax ROA
Philadelphia Belief Firm
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 & Belief Firm Livingston TN 2.97
10  The Bippus State Financial institution Huntington IN 2.91
11 McKenzie Banking Firm 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  Dwelling Financial institution of California San Diego CA 2.74
17 First Safety Financial institution of Deer Lodge Deer Lodge MT 2.69
18  North Valley Financial institution Denver CO 2.68
19 First Western Federal Financial savings Financial institution Speedy Metropolis 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 & Belief Cheyenne WY 2.57
24 The First State Financial institution Abernathy TX 2.57
25 First State Financial institution Elmore Metropolis OK 2.55

Trevor Lavy

Trevor Lavy, chairman and CEO, Precedence Financial institution

No. 7

Precedence Financial institution
Fayetteville, Ark.

$100 million

3-year common
pre-tax ROA:




Trevor Lavy, chairman and CEO
Precedence Financial institution

Q: What does your neighborhood financial institution do rather well?

A: As in any profitable group, it’s the individuals who make the distinction. Our individuals work longer, tougher and smarter to serve our clients.

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

A: We shove the decision-making course of as far down as we will within the financial institution. Nice individuals don’t wish to be micromanaged. They need duties to finish during which they will see their very own influences in the long run outcomes. This creates happy individuals and happy clients.

Q: Do you have got any plans for future enhancements?

A: We’re all the time trying to enhance, so this implies discovering extra nice individuals to work right here who’re searching for greater than only a job.

Sam Blackard

Sam Blackard, government vp, Peoples State Financial institution

No. 12

Peoples State Financial institution
Cherryvale, Kan.

$18 million

3-year common
pre-tax ROA:




Sam Blackard, government vp
Peoples State Financial institution

We aren’t doing something groundbreaking out right here. Fairly the alternative, actually—we regularly select to lag behind opponents in providing new services and products purely on account of boundaries to entry from a pure value standpoint.

In case your definition of a high performer relies on ROA, then the 2 main causes for our degree of efficiency is our leverage and LTD (mortgage to deposit) ratios. With a view to compete as a small financial institution, now we have been pressured to maintain higher-than-peer capital ranges, in order that our lending restrict permits us to service native debtors’ wants. If we had been to have capital ranges extra according to peer averages, we might barely be capable to originate and maintain mortgage loans of any measurement. 

Crucial factor has been our capability to assume outdoors the field and make offers work that different banks could not be capable to. I do really feel that is an space during which we excel and do higher than another banks. This isn’t to say we’re higher bankers, however that is what now we have to do with a purpose to carve our area of interest.

I additionally really feel now we have accomplished a fairly good job of conserving down our non-interest bills, contemplating that we’re a single-location financial institution. We additionally value for danger and maintain a easy stability sheet. This has allowed us to face up to modifications in rates of interest with out a lot hassle.

Future enhancements? We’re trying into investing 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 common
pre-tax ROA:




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

“We use the ‘Miracle on thirty fourth Road’ method to serving shoppers,” says Tom Swenson, Financial institution of Montana’s CEO and chairman of the board. “That’s, we search for shoppers who really are a pure match for our tradition and restricted merchandise. If we all know we aren’t the perfect match for them, corresponding to not having the perfect product for assembly their present wants, we direct them to who we all know is best at assembly their wants.”

Financial institution of Montana supplies really customized business mortgage options for a small variety of transactions, in contrast with different banks. “In these transactions, we’re clearly including worth to our clients’ enterprise,” Swenson says. “This method sacrifices most progress and measurement for sturdy efficiency relative to our measurement.”

The neighborhood financial institution’s marketing strategy is to repeat success tales. “We plan to maintain doing what we’ve been doing nicely—simply extra of it,” says Swenson. “It will enable us to proceed to develop slowly and construct long-term worth.”

$300 million to $1 billion

By Ed Avis

$300 million to $1 billion
Rank Financial institution Identify Metropolis State 3-yr common 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 Metropolis Kansas Metropolis MO 4.88
9 Apex Financial institution Camden TN 4.7
10  Peoples Financial institution Mendenhall MS 4.24
11 First Neighborhood Financial institution of Tennessee Shelbyville TN 4.22
12 Quontic Financial institution New York NY 3.6
13  FSNB, Nationwide Affiliation Fort Sill OK 3.52
14  Pioneer Belief Financial institution, Nationwide Affiliation Salem OR 3.19
15 Chickasaw Neighborhood Financial institution Oklahoma Metropolis OK 3.07
16  Capital Neighborhood Financial institution Provo UT 2.95
17 AMG Nationwide Belief Financial institution Boulder CO 2.92
18  First Financial institution Burkburnett TX 2.89
19 Dwelling 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 Outdated Monroe Outdated Monroe MO 2.63
25 Residents 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 common
pre-tax ROA:




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


BankVista has been the SBA Lender of the Yr in Minnesota for six years operating, which positioned the neighborhood financial institution completely to assist shoppers throughout COVID-19. The financial institution issued 2,182 PPP loans in 2020 and 2021. Recipients included non-clients, a lot of whom subsequently moved their banking relationship to BankVista.

“We have a look at dangerous occasions as a time of alternative, not a time to crawl into your shell,” says Stefan Freeman, CEO and president. “That served us nicely through the pandemic.”

Underlying BankVista’s success has been a administration philosophy centered on open debate about easy methods to enhance, Freeman provides. The neighborhood financial institution makes use of the Entrepreneurial Working System, generally referred to as EOS Traction, to maintain departmental efforts aligned.

One more reason BankVista does nicely is its “individuals first” idea, says Amy Meyer, senior vp, CFO and COO. This consists of quarterly and annual “shopper expertise” awards for workers who excel, and an emphasis on bank-wide communication to maintain associates conscious and abreast of the group’s targets and the function every particular person performs.

“We’re really making an attempt to be a community-focused financial institution at the beginning, each with our clients and internally,” Meyer says. “I’m happy with the whole lot 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 every of the final two years, however the amount of loans doesn’t get in the best way of private service. “We attempt to convey the neighborhood financial institution mannequin to mortgage 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 mortgage mortgage course of continues to be a thriller and troublesome for many individuals to navigate, in order that they’ve come to understand a excessive degree of service.”

Dempster says his financial institution does have the expertise to deal with mortgage transactions nearly, and a few clients choose that. However there are all the time actual individuals accessible for purchasers who need a face-to-face assembly.

The neighborhood financial institution’s private contact extends to business banking, Dempster asserts. In contrast to clients of many bigger establishments, debtors at Willamette Valley Financial institution work immediately with resolution makers. “We’ve got the flexibility to spend a little bit extra time with the borrower, understanding what their targets are, having the ability to work tougher to make the transaction work for each the borrower and the financial institution,” he says.

The private contact results in growing relationships with clients, he provides. “We get numerous clients referring new enterprise to us, which is the final word stamp of approval in my view.”

Phil Pecora

Philip Pecora, president and CEO, Genesee Regional Financial institution

No. 21

Genesee Regional Financial institution
Rochester, N.Y.

$1 billion

3-year common
pre-tax ROA:




Philip Pecora, president and CEO
Genesee Regional Financial institution

Q: Why has Genesee Regional Financial institution succeeded?

A: We strategically positioned ourselves to benefit from the market. We’ve been the primary SBA lender in our marketplace for the previous two years, so we had been nicely positioned to help our shoppers with the PPP program. We had been performing so swiftly that we took care of our personal shoppers, after which we had capability to tackle some clients who couldn’t get [PPP loans] from their common financial institution. We transformed numerous these relationships.

Q: How about your mortgage enterprise?

A: Over the previous three years, we’ve greater than doubled our mortgage enterprise. We did $458 million final yr. As a result of we bought into the mortgage enterprise solely 10 years in the past, we centered on the acquisition enterprise, whereas our competitors centered on refi. We had been gaining extra market share by calling on all of the Realtors.

Q: What else will increase your success?

A: Expertise. We centered on expertise to deal with the transaction aspect of our enterprise, to make the again finish seamless. That enables us to give attention to the non-public aspect of the enterprise. What differentiates us is the non-public relationships, however the expertise is a must have. We’re not going to steer in expertise [as a smaller bank], however now we have to be quick followers.

Greater than $1 billion

By Colleen Morrison

$300 million to $1 billion
Rank Financial institution Identify Metropolis State 3-yr common 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 Commerce 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 Metropolis Financial institution Doraville GA 3.27
12 BankSouth Greensboro GA 3.21
13  Cross River Financial institution Fort Lee NJ 3.08
14  Bell Financial institution Fargo ND 3.05
15 Cedar Rapids Financial institution and Belief Firm Cedar Rapids IA 2.95
16  CFG Neighborhood 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 chief working officer, NBKC Financial institution

No. 1

NBKC Financial institution
Overland Park, Kan.

$1.04 billion

3-year common
pre-tax ROA:




Michael Bartkoski,
government vp and chief working officer

NBKC Financial institution

Q: What has led NBKC’s progress?

A: We’ve got been lucky to develop deep partnerships with some nice fintechs. This line of enterprise has been a major contributor to our progress in non-interest-bearing deposits and charge earnings. Most significantly, it has modified the best way that we take into consideration product supply and buyer acquisition.

We even have seen progress in our nationwide dwelling loans enterprise. Whereas it has been a good market, our success displays an intentional give attention to our individuals, customized expertise growth and buyer critiques/satisfaction.

Q: How did COVID have an effect on you?

A: The disruption in our each day lives was a rallying level to check out new concepts. We doubled down on our efforts to care for our individuals, and we discovered that a few of our roles carried out higher remotely. We discovered rather a lot about how our groups work that can enable for higher flexibility transferring ahead.

Q: How does your group contribute to your success?

A: We’ve got been laser-focused on constructing the perfect groups attainable, and now we have been acknowledged as a high employer 5 years operating. Any success that we get pleasure from is the results of having nice individuals.

Michael Solberg

Michael Solberg, president and CEO, Bell Financial institution

No. 14

Bell Financial institution
Fargo, N.D.

$10 billion

3-year common
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 focus fairly closely on constructing a tradition that pulls and retains nice individuals over the long term, and that actually has paid off with decrease turnover and nonetheless a capability to exit and organically entice staff in new progress markets for us.

On the finish of 2021, we gave each worker $10,000 as a bonus to thank them. 5 thousand {dollars} they bought to maintain, and $5,000 they needed to exit and provides to a household or a person or a company in want.

One of many issues we’re tremendous happy with as a neighborhood financial institution, in each metropolis and each a part of the nation, neighborhood banks paved the way with giving again. What makes our program a little bit completely different is it’s not our house owners or our board or our executives deciding the place to take a position these tens of millions of {dollars}, it’s our 2,000 staff.

It actually offers which means to the work that all of us do on the financial institution day-after-day. For those who care for individuals, the numbers care for themselves.

Harold Reynolds

Harold Reynolds, chairman and CEO, BankSouth

No. 12

Greensboro, Ga.

$1.2 billion

3-year common
pre-tax ROA:




Harold Reynolds, chairman
and CEO


For BankSouth, celebrating its seventy fifth anniversary in 2021 got here with some icing on the cake: It was additionally one of many neighborhood financial institution’s high efficiency years so far. Climbing to simply beneath $1.2 billion in property, the Greensboro, Ga.-based financial institution attributes its progress to a sizzling housing market, its give attention to builder and residential mortgage lending, and the financial success in its markets.

“We simply noticed big progress in homebuying; we originated and put in properties for about 6,000 households final yr,” says Harold Reynolds, chairman and CEO. “We had been very instrumental in growing this space, and to see the change and the alternatives it’s generated for thus many individuals and companies, and to know you’re part of that… that’s neighborhood banking.”

However this success doesn’t stem from happenstance. Reynolds factors to BankSouth’s give attention to innovation as a contributing issue. The financial institution has run a program for greater than 5 years the place staff submit concepts for addressing ache factors, and people strategies make their approach to government administration and subject-matter consultants for consideration and, incessantly, implementation.

“I don’t move a chance to make a pitch for modern concepts,” Reynolds says. “We’ve had some big wins popping out of that. We’re not afraid to attempt issues that we haven’t accomplished earlier than.”

How we compiled these rankings

ICBA compiled this yr’s rankings with the goal of recognizing neighborhood banks which might be constant excessive performers. Utilizing FDIC information, we took into consideration pre-tax return-on-assets (ROA) figures from the previous three years, with the latest yr weighted at 3x, second most up-to-date yr at 2x and third most up-to-date yr at 1x. We then divided the neighborhood banks into three broad segments primarily based on asset measurement and ranked every phase primarily based on our three-year weighted common ROA. A financial institution will need to have a ranking of C or larger by Kroll Bond Scores (previously LACE) to be thought-about for rating.

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