Finest Neighborhood Banks to Work For 2022 – Impartial Banker


Clockwise from prime left: Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution, Wheaton, Ailing.; Neighborhood Monetary Providers Financial institution, Benton, Ky.; Financial institution of Montana, Missoula, Mont.; CNB Financial institution, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.; Midwest Financial institution, Norfolk, Neb.

What nice resignation? In our annual office survey, staff of ICBA’s greatest neighborhood banks to work for informed us they profit from participating cultures, alternatives for development and modern advantages.



Financial institution of Montana: Breaking the mildew

By Roshan McArthur

When a neighborhood financial institution’s staff discuss with it as “a second household,” it speaks volumes, and that’s precisely what we heard from the group at Financial institution of Montana in Missoula, Mont. They describe the financial institution’s tradition as one among laborious work however fixed help—a spot the place their voices are heard and their achievements celebrated.

Now we have medical insurance that’s 100% paid by the financial institution, and we established two funds which might be designed to cowl the deductibles for members of the family, children, the complete gamut.”
—Tom Swenson, Financial institution of Montana

An entrepreneur with a background in accounting and finance, CEO and chairman of the board Thomas Swenson arrange Montana Enterprise Capital Company in 1998 with a concentrate on job creation and financial growth lending. On Thanksgiving 2007, he based Financial institution of Montana, which now has one department and 13 staff.

Swenson’s objective has been to create a group of people who can handle themselves but additionally perform effectively collectively. Because of this, the $246 million-asset neighborhood financial institution deliberately has no tellers; as a substitute, everybody has quite a lot of roles designed to present them a way of possession. Canine are welcome within the office, and there’s a gentle provide of snacks for any of the 11 kids of employees members who might occur to cease by.

“We wish to encourage household involvement and powerful relationships, so we attempt to do issues that mirror that in a tangible manner,” Swenson says. “Now we have medical insurance that’s 100% paid by the financial institution, and we established two funds which might be designed to cowl the deductibles for members of the family, children, the complete gamut.”

In reality, Financial institution of Montana is ranked primary out of 38 banks within the state for common salaries and advantages, in response to FFIEC information. The financial institution points time-of-need bonuses, prolonged maternity and paternity depart, and even sabbaticals.

Causes to remain

“As soon as we’ve been right here for 10 years, we’re awarded a three-month paid sabbatical,” says Emilie Johnston, chief operations officer. “Two of us have gotten to take it up to now. I took a month, and my husband and I mounted up the home slightly bit, after which we did a West Coast journey and went to Europe for a month. It was very effectively spent!”

When requested the way it feels to work with an organization that offers advantages like that, she says, “I don’t know if there are phrases. I don’t know the best way to describe that feeling, truthfully. However you don’t wish to work anyplace else, proper?”

Swenson believes in giving his group causes to remain. “One of many issues that we felt prompted individuals to go away is the sensation of being trapped, which you could’t have the life experiences that you just’d like,” he says. “In order that was the origin of the sabbatical. How about encouraging individuals to go take that lifetime break? However they don’t must stop to do it.”

Crew members who wish to put money into coaching are inspired to take action. One simply accomplished her CPA examination, handed a mortgage underwriter coaching program and ran the Chicago Marathon. “We strongly imagine in empowering individuals in order that they’re one of the best selves that they are often,” Swenson says. “Reasonably than attempting to manage them, we give them a way of freedom to carry out. I’ve had individuals say to me, ‘Aren’t you involved that they’ll stop?’ We’re not frightened of that. We don’t function from a place of worry.”

Can Financial institution of Montana’s success be replicated?

When requested what recommendation he has for different banks, CEO Tom Swenson is fast to emphasize the unorthodox nature of his neighborhood financial institution and that what works for his group might not apply to others. “We’re on the right path to precisely the place we’re, however I don’t know that I can repeat it,” he laughs.

Emilie Johnston, COO, believes investing in staff is vital. “You’ve heard the phrase ‘The consumer comes first,’ ‘The consumer’s at all times proper’?” she asks. “A variety of the time, they’re, however quite a lot of the time, ensuring your staff are glad will make your purchasers glad.

“Tom is almost all shareholder of our holding firm,” she provides, “however he by no means refers to us as his staff. He at all times refers to us as his coworkers. I believe that easy verbiage change reveals everybody that they’re an integral a part of the group.”



Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution: The premier league

By Roshan McArthur

Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution

Wheaton, Ailing.

Property: $325 million

Ask staff at Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution (GRNB) in Wheaton, Ailing., what they love about working there, and the record is fairly exhaustive. A catered lunch as soon as every week, baked items for breakfast on Monday mornings, and birthday, anniversary and retirement celebrations all rank extremely.

However these treats are balanced with advantages that embody 100% medical insurance protection and a 401(okay) matched from the very first day of employment. Different advantages embody versatile schedules, the choice to work remotely as wanted and versatile paid day without work.

This all contributes to what many describe as a wholesome work-life stability, with loads of alternatives for development. It’s a hardworking setting however one the place leaders have an open-door coverage, encourage staff to make their very own choices and are extremely supportive {of professional} growth.

As group members describe it, theirs is “a tradition of worth and care.” Additionally they say that “GRNB doesn’t take shortcuts with regards to caring for its staff and making certain their happiness on the financial institution and of their function.”

Because of this, it’s not shocking to listen to that worker turnover on the financial institution over the previous 12 years has been near zero.

120 years within the making

Based in 1903, Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution has grown from round $30 million in belongings in 2010 to roughly $325 million immediately.

Describing itself as a “boutique banking firm,” GRNB now serves small to mid‑measurement companies and people all through Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Florida. Its Tampa Bay, Fla., workplace opened in 2020.

There’s a group delight in our tradition for the robust success and high quality of labor that we accomplish collectively.”
—Mark Scheffers, Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution

Dedication to development

“Our tradition begins on the prime,” says chairman and CEO Mark Scheffers. “Our management constantly articulates and demonstrates a dedication to being an important place to work.”

GRNB’s excessive efficiency and success as an organization supplies group members with alternatives to develop and achieve expertise.

“Now we have established a tradition the place colleagues are extremely supportive of one another, which supplies for an important group setting,” he provides. “There’s a group delight in our tradition for the robust success and high quality of labor that we accomplish collectively.”

Academic advantages

To advertise skilled development, the financial institution supplies custom-made coaching, each one-on-one and for groups, in addition to exterior conferences and webinars.

“We meet with our group members individually yearly to debate their targets and targets,” Scheffers says, “after which work along with them to assist them to obtain them.”

It could be remiss to finish this story with out mentioning the VIP baseball and basketball tickets that just about each group member talked about of their survey response.

“We offer all our staff with complimentary use of VIP tickets to sporting occasions like Chicago Cubs or Chicago Bulls video games,” says Scheffers, “with entry to all-inclusive golf equipment for meals and drinks, the place they will convey and entertain their household and mates, all without charge to our group members or their company.”

Seems like a profitable system.

Don’t accept lower than one of the best

Requested what recommendation he has for different banks hoping to emulate Grand Ridge Nationwide Financial institution’s success, chairman and CEO Mark Scheffers believes a dedication to being “premier” is vital. By that, he means “glorious, industry-leading, among the many very elite or greatest at school.” Apply that objective, he says, to the way in which you deal with your group members and your prospects and to the way you conduct your self financially.

“If an organization isn’t profitable in any of these three key areas,” he says, “then it finally can’t maintain being an important place to work.”



CNB Financial institution: A robust tradition of studying

By Bridget McCrea

CNB Financial institution

Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Property: $530 million institution

CNB Financial institution’s staff really feel empowered to make choices, benefit from the open strains of communication that they’ve with the establishment’s leaders and infrequently work collectively to attain enterprise targets. These are simply a number of the attributes that make the $530 million-asset neighborhood financial institution in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., an important place to work.

“It’s usually stated that if you happen to hold staff glad, then the purchasers will care for themselves,” says Mark D. Harrell, president and CEO. “We imagine that. We additionally firmly imagine that if we take nice care of our associates, these staff may even take nice care of our prospects.”

Harrell additionally credit the financial institution’s board members—the vast majority of whom are house owners—with staying true to CNB’s mission and supporting its 104 staff throughout eight areas. Based in 1934, the financial institution serves a rural neighborhood the place some prospects don’t even have broadband entry, whereas others commute to neighboring Washington, D.C., for his or her IT jobs.

Mentoring is a two-way avenue

A robust tradition of studying is led by Karen Richards, vp of selling, who additionally oversees the creation of profession paths for its associates.

A component-time teller who aspires to handle a department, for instance, can work their manner up by varied tiers and obtain bank-provided ICBA Neighborhood Banker College programs and self-paced studying all through the method.

CNB Financial institution additionally runs a mentoring program the place veteran staff are paired with newer associates who wish to study extra about completely different positions, new abilities and profession alternatives.

The mentors wind up studying from their mentees as effectively, making the year-long relationship a win-win for the financial institution.

“About 12 individuals have gone by this system, myself included,” Richards says. “We get quite a lot of good suggestions from the mentees, but it surely additionally winds up being ‘reverse mentoring’ in that all of us study lots from the youthful associates.”

At CNB, staff are inspired to get to know their prospects and to concentrate on offering options versus promoting merchandise. Harrell sees this as an vital distinction for the financial institution, which takes care of buyer wants by serving to them get monetary savings, plan their monetary futures and achieve peace of thoughts.

Many occasions, particular person options are custom-made to a particular consumer’s wants. So, if what’s supplied doesn’t match their wants, employees members really feel empowered to make choices that result in extra particular, personalised options.

“We work in a extremely regulated space, so we keep in our lanes as tightly as we will,” says Harrell, “however on the identical time, we enable our of us to ship to prospects one thing that could be tweaked a bit right here or there. We don’t simply use cookie-cutter options for everybody, and that’s actually helped us as a neighborhood financial institution.”

This philosophy aligns with the three pillars that CNB rests on: intelligence, expertise and customised options. “When you could have this sort of setting, everybody feels good about what they’re doing,” says Harrell. “All of us really feel a way of accomplishment.”

Taking a pulse on worker engagement

In immediately’s tight labor market, neighborhood banks have to supply alternatives for development and assist staff develop profession paths. “In the event you try this, they may stick with you,” says Karen Richards, VP of selling of CNB Financial institution in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

“Ask for suggestions and act on it,” she continues. CNB has a Management Advisory Committee devoted to this mission. It meets month-to-month, gathers worker suggestions after which presents the knowledge to the financial institution’s senior management group.

“We’re regularly asking associates what we’re doing effectively and the place we will enhance,” says Richards. “Then, the committee discusses the suggestions and takes motion on it.”

Via a latest Pulse Survey, Mark D. Harrell, president and CEO, discovered that greater than 90% of staff perceive what they do day by day and the way these actions and actions contribute to the financial institution’s mission. “That’s exceptional in an period the place worker engagement is notably low,” says Harrell. And he’s proper: By Gallup’s final rely, simply 36% of U.S. staff really feel engaged of their work and workplaces.



Midwest Financial institution: The place household at all times comes first

By Bridget McCrea

At Midwest Financial institution, staff have administration’s full help and are even inspired to take time away from work and prioritize household features. That is one among a number of the reason why the $990 million-asset neighborhood financial institution in Norfolk, Neb., has very low worker turnover and whose employees has made it among the best neighborhood banks to work for.

“Household is at all times first,” says Sue Bachman, senior vp and human sources supervisor for the 150-employee, 10-branch financial institution. “If Jimmy has his first baseball recreation on a Thursday, we would like you to be there for him.” That household time doesn’t come out of staff’ trip or sick time, both; it’s merely paid day without work.

There have been many occasions when staff’ households have had well being points or wants and each possession and administration stepped up and took extraordinary steps to care for them.”
—Doug Johnson, Midwest Financial institution

One huge household

In accordance with Amy Schroeter, vp and HR for Midwest Financial institution, the neighborhood financial institution’s household focus extends exterior of enterprise hours. The financial institution’s occasions often embody an invite for the whole household. And when a partner or accomplice walks by the financial institution’s entrance door, they’re handled like household, too.

“Their households turn into our households,” says Schroeter.

A privately owned neighborhood financial institution, Midwest Financial institution has been within the arms of the Cooper household because it was based 70 years in the past. Through the years, 4 generations of Coopers have stayed true to their philosophy of working collectively to function as a very good employer, present a good return to shareholders and provides one thing again to the communities the financial institution serves.

Rent them effectively, deal with them effectively

Doug Johnson, president and CEO, says Midwest Financial institution has at all times centered on hiring good individuals, figuring out that banking abilities could be discovered. Then, it really works laborious to deal with these individuals effectively by supporting them each out and in of labor.

“There have been many occasions when staff’ households have had well being points or wants and each possession and administration stepped up and took extraordinary steps to care for them,” Johnson says. “Different staff see that occuring and know that’s how we do enterprise.”

As an employer, Midwest Financial institution encourages its staff to volunteer in and provides again to their native communities. Bachman says the neighborhood financial institution itself can also be energetic within the areas it serves. Working collectively, the financial institution and its staff assist varied charitable and neighborhood causes obtain their targets.

Take Midwest Financial institution’s Worker Jean Fund, for instance. Associates are free to get comfy and put on denims on Friday, however they must pay for the privilege. The cash collected is positioned in a fund after which distributed to numerous neighborhood foundations, organizations and nonprofits.

Prospects profit, too

Johnson says the financial institution’s prospects additionally profit when staff have the autonomy they want to have the ability to make good choices and work as a group to attain enterprise targets. Additionally they readily settle for duty and take private accountability for his or her actions.

This company tradition has a optimistic impact on customer support. “Our staff know they will make choices on the spot which might be useful to our purchasers and hold the financial institution’s enterprise curiosity in thoughts,” Johnson says. He additionally notes that staff use their greatest judgment to contribute to and partake locally financial institution’s success.

“They don’t must at all times knock on administration’s door and ask, ‘Can I do that?’” he provides. “They’ve fairly a little bit of latitude and authority to have the ability to make choices.”

Create a very good tradition and defend it

“Don’t be afraid to have enjoyable,” says Amy Schroeter, vp and HR at Midwest Financial institution in Norfolk, Neb. “We get our work finished, however we additionally play Seize the Flag, run contests among the many branches and have pumpkin adorning contests within the fall.”

Sue Bachman, senior vp and human useful resource supervisor, advises different banks to construct a very good tradition after which work to guard it throughout the whole establishment—even when branches are unfold out geographically. “We do every kind of issues to construct unity,” she says.

The neighborhood financial institution hosts an annual vacation occasion for all associates and their spouses, for example, and celebrates Breast Most cancers Consciousness Month as a group.

Doug Johnson, president and CEO, is concerned with the financial institution’s day-to-day operations and its individuals, which has helped Midwest Financial institution develop and defend its company tradition. “He cares concerning the staff, visits with them and listens to them,” says Bachman. “At quite a lot of firms, associates might by no means meet and/or see their CEOs. Now we have one who’s very current and concerned always.”



CFSB: A real tradition of caring

By Judith Sears

A tradition of service and caring distinguishes Neighborhood Monetary Providers Financial institution (CFSB), in response to Jason Jones, president of the $1.4 billion-asset neighborhood financial institution. “What makes us completely different is that we do really care about our financial institution, our purchasers, our group and our stockholders,” he explains. “Tradition for us is not only a noun; it’s a verb. It’s what we do.”

To domesticate a tradition of caring, CFSB leaders emphasize frequent and clear communication all through the Benton, Ky., financial institution’s eight areas and amongst its 270 staff. “It’s an outlined communication technique to hold everybody within the loop,” says Allen Waddell, senior VP and assistant HR director. “Data is shared throughout the financial institution, whether or not it’s our financials, strategic alternatives or imaginative and prescient for the longer term. That further effort to ensure all people’s on board actually units CFSB aside.”

Crew connections

Jones and Michael Radcliffe, who’s chairman, CEO and chief credit score officer, alternate creating weekly movies with information concerning the neighborhood financial institution that they e mail to all group members. CFSB group members can submit questions anonymously about any issues, and Radcliffe and Jones will reply to them on the movies. “We emphasize the power to speak brazenly,” Jones says. “We’re as clear as we could be.”

CFSB’s 55 group leaders meet month-to-month to take a deeper dive into financial institution accomplishments, challenge updates and present monetary info. These conferences additionally present coaching in particular management subjects.

On the particular person degree, every group chief plans month-to-month conferences with every of their direct reviews. These transient one-on-one conferences give group members a possibility to speak with their group chief about something of concern or curiosity to them. “Folks really feel extra comfy in their very own area,” Jones observes. “In the event you put them in a extra comfy place the place they know you on a extra private degree, it permits them to be extra sincere.”

A sturdy set of worker advantages additional underscores the CFSB tradition of caring. The financial institution pays 100% well being and dental and has beneficiant paid day without work insurance policies. CFSB additionally totally funds an worker inventory possession plan (ESOP). “The workers of our financial institution personal roughly 30% of the inventory. We’re working for ourselves,” Jones says.

In response to worker ideas, CFSB just lately created a 401(okay) program, giving group members the choice to diversify their investments.

The financial institution’s calendar is chock-full of celebrations, comparable to month-to-month Tradition and MVP of Ops Awards and birthday celebrations for every group member. “We’re consistently making a giant deal out of issues and celebrating our group,” Waddell notes. Just lately, when CFSB’s loss mitigation division achieved the bottom delinquency ratio within the financial institution’s historical past, all 20 members of the division and their plus-ones have been handled to a chic restaurant dinner.

Waddell says group members have responded positively to CFSB’s generosity, producing a virtuous cycle. “This 12 months we’re on observe to have our most worthwhile 12 months in our historical past,” he says. “Every time we care for our group in wage and advantages, they care for our purchasers. When our purchasers are taken care of, we might be worthwhile.”

Coaching cultural specialists

CFSB’s Specialist Program is a method the financial institution circulates its cultural values. Over 12 months, chosen group members shadow each division within the financial institution for a half day, as soon as a month. Self-study guides and month-to-month conferences information contributors’ expertise.

Jason Jones, president of the Benton, Ky.-based neighborhood financial institution, believes this system has had a number of good outcomes. Crew members achieve a extra complete view of the financial institution and an appreciation for various obligations. Additionally they get the chance to combine with group members from completely different departments. Some contributors uncover new areas of curiosity.

The CFSB Specialist Program contributors replace the self-study division guides every year, making certain the knowledge is updated and offering a useful suggestions loop for administration. “It helps us to be in contact,” Jones says. “It creates groups the place individuals wish to be the place they’re. It’s a win-win for group members and the financial institution.”

Knowledge Dive

What do neighborhood financial institution staff reveal about their workplaces and the {industry} extra broadly in 2022?


Every self-nominated neighborhood financial institution’s full-time staff have been requested to finish a office survey hosted by Avannis, an impartial analysis company. Entry to the survey was protected by a PIN distinctive to every financial institution. Solely neighborhood banks that met a minimal of 40% worker participation have been eligible for recognition. The survey consisted of 48 scaled responses, and from that an “index” or composite rating was calculated. The index represents the common proportion of staff who gave the highest ranking (Strongly Agree) throughout all questions. For instance, a financial institution whose staff chosen solely probably the most optimistic responses would obtain an index rating of 100%. Eligible banks have been then sorted into 5 asset lessons. The neighborhood financial institution with the best index rating in every asset class was chosen because the winner in that class.

Roshan McArthur is a author in California. Bridget McCrea is a author in Florida. Judith Sears is a author in Colorado.


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