> Saint Louis Bank
Redefining What It Means To Be A Community Bank
Redefining What It Means To Be A Community Bank
A further challenge has also emerged, one that affects our entrepreneurs, small businesses, and St. Louis as a whole. With the ongoing consolidation of financial institutions, nearly 70% of all banks have disappeared. St. Louis, once home to numerous homegrown banks, such as Boatmen’s, Mark Twain, and Southwest, today counts with only 3 homegrown banks, out of the top 10 banks by deposits. Increasingly, banks are consolidating into large entities headquartered outside our region, quickly losing touch with the communities they serve.
In 2018, recognizing a gap in the banking landscape caused by the declining number of local partners for small businesses in St. Louis—Travis Liebig, current President & CEO, led a group of investors in the purchase of Saint Louis Bank, a community bank founded in 2005 and specializing in lending to small- to mid-sized businesses.
Nationally, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for almost half of all economic activity. We believe that local banks play an indispensable role as partners to small businesses. As a locally owned bank, we know the communities and businesses we serve. We live in the same neighborhoods as our clients and bring firsthand knowledge of the local economy and culture. We are dedicated to helping small businesses succeed, as they are the lifeblood for growth in our region.
A bank that understands its community makes a great difference when it comes to lending decisions. It is the difference between a client being viewed only as a set of numbers, rather than as an actual human being. An opportunity that is evaluated based on abstract guidelines made hundreds of miles away by an institution and individuals who may rarely set foot in St. Louis can result in a very different outcome than when the same opportunity is evaluated by people who are intimately familiar with the region and are personally invested in its growth—and that of its small businesses.
Saint Louis Bank knows that a set of numbers never tells the complete story. We never forget about the people behind the numbers—the entrepreneurs, creators, innovators. It’s about the businesses who believe as strongly as we do in all of what our region has to offer.
We strive to be the St. Louis bank and to redefine what it means to be a community bank. Whether an individual represents an established private company, a purpose-driven organization, or they are a rising entrepreneur, if they care about their people, about our community, about St. Louis, we want to be their banking partner. We want to create something big – together.
At the birth of Saint Louis Bank in 2005, the technology we integrated into our banking was cutting edge, especially for a bank of our size, and client service was an equally significant focus. We wanted to give our clients freedom; they could go online to check balances and make deposits, but if they had a question, they were only a phone call away from talking to a real person. It was “high tech with a high touch” from the start.
Though our founding leaders understood that technology and innovation were here to stay, they also understood that nothing could ever completely replace a true relationship. At their core, banks—especially community banks—are built on relationships.
That belief was galvanized with our change-in-control in 2018; banks must continue to invest in innovation and find ways to work smarter, but this must not be done to the detriment of personal engagement. We refuse to believe that you must choose between innovation and wisdom. We are the bank where our clients can expect both. We can serve our community best by combining experience with technology to ensure our clients feel understood.
Today, technology has spread into so many more areas of business. It’s not just about digitizing client processes—which for banks may include loandocument processing and cash management services and tracking—but it’s also about enriching employee experiences through advancements in how we track client satisfaction data, deliver personal and professional development resources, and encourage internal collaboration. The platforms banks have access to today allow data and analytics to provide real-time feedback on how business activities are measured, managed, and improved upon.
Saint Louis Bank has made investments in a cloud-based loanoperating and document management system to increase efficiency and transparency within the loan cycle, helping us reduce the time required to approve and close loans. We have also invested in a cloudbased human resource management platform to streamline recruiting, onboarding, and performance management to improve prospect and team member experiences, providing greater clarity for each team member’s professional development.
With assets of $500 million, just over 50 team members, and currently one location, with plans to open two new locations in 2020, Saint Louis Bank has the advantage of being relatively small. Our size allows us to be agile enough to integrate innovations faster and more cost-effectively than many of our competitors.
We believe that by equipping our team with the resources needed, in terms of technology, professional development, and quality of life amenities, we will achieve better client outcomes. To that end, we have also spent the past year building what we call the Saint Louis Bank Way—an idea rooted in our core values of making community possible, unleashing inspiration, keeping our heads up and eyes open, maintaining principled progress, demonstrating pride of place, and renewing trust every day.
Saint Louis Bank’s drive to innovate doesn’t start and stop at our doors. For us, investing in our community goes beyond business activities. The Saint Louis Bank team volunteers its time individually and as a group in many causes throughout our communities, such as Arch Grants’ Global Startup Competition and World Food Day. Our bank has also made investments in organizations such as SixThirty, a global fintech fund and business development program. Both of these organizations encapsulate the spirit and drive that Saint Louis Bank aims to amplify.
We are dedicated to making community possible by helping people turn their dreams into reality—and we are just getting started. Saint Louis Bank is continuously seeking out and partnering with nonprofit and for-profit organizations that believe in changing and enhancing the narrative of the St. Louis region.
We want to create and promote connectivity between individuals, inspire our community to do more, and pave the road to achieving the dreams of our fellow citizen, making decisions with their best interest in mind and demonstrating an awareness of not only what’s directly ahead, but what may be expected further along. Everything we do, we do with the understanding that trust isn’t granted, it is earned and renewed or revoked with every action or inaction. We aim to create something for our team, clients, and our community that is more than just a place to borrow and deposit money. We are working to create an experience, a place that is greater than the sum of its parts.
We feel fortunate to play a part in the region’s transformation, and we look forward to supporting the goals of fellow entrepreneurs and community members continuing to drive St. Louis forward. Saint Louis Bank is positioned to lead banking in our region into a new era by combining innovative technology, entrepreneurship, and talent management strategies that will breathe new life into what has been considered by some to be an antiquated and stale industry. And we will do so by putting people at the center, because when you succeed, we all succeed.
Our logo takes inspiration from the classic knight chess piece from the strategy game with an ancient legacy and a rich history in our city. The knight represents capabilities that no other piece possesses. While pawns, rooks, bishops, and queens can move as many spaces as are clear before them, the knight can only move a finite distance and direction from its starting position. In order to fully utilize this piece, the player must have a vision for the future and an ability to think multiple steps ahead.
A closer view of our logo also reveals homage to some of Saint Louis’ legacy. The face of the knight is fashioned with the same armor piece that is proudly displayed on the magnificent bronze sculpture standing atop Art Hill, the Apotheosis of St. Louis. The strong jawline of the horse, and its eyes are seen from the negative space of the raised sword that Louis IX holds firmly atop his horse—with the off-kilter guard protecting his hand devoutly replicated within. At the base of the Saint Louis Bank Knight is a replication of the base of a stone column that has historically been present at strong institutions, like banks.
Our logo represents the goals and aspirations of the founders, shareholders, teammates, and clients of Saint Louis Bank. We stand steadfastly with our heads up and eyes open, looking for an opportunity to make the right moves to help our clients and our region succeed. We are strategic, we think beyond the obstacles before us, and we understand that we are all strengthened when the community and region work together and make the appropriate moves. Strategy, commitment, and discipline are foundational principles of our team and our bank as we seek to better our region and build up our home.