Writer: Jerrica DuBois
2 min read July 2023 — Regional leaders in the banking and finance industry continue to strive to make their mark on the region, not only through investment, but also services such as business loans and financing.
Carlos Munguia, president of the Dallas region for Amegy Bank, and Ronny Korb, charter president for Pinnacle Bank, spoke with Invest: and shared their thoughts on the opportunities in the banking sector to support businesses, top priorities moving forward, and words of wisdom to the young talent entering the industry.
What is your overall analysis of the state of the banking sector?
Carlos Munguia, President – Dallas Region, Amegy Bank: It is undeniable that our market is highly competitive. A remarkable fact is that we have the same number of full-service banks as New York City does. This presents both opportunities and challenges. In addition to the immense care we provide to each of our customers, our bankers’ resourcefulness, preparedness and exceptional creativity are what set Amegy Bank apart. We consider ourselves very lucky to be operating in such a diverse economy.
Ronny Korb, Charter President, Pinnacle Bank: Pinnacle Bank is the largest family-owned bank in the United States and our ownership has made a conscious decision to leave dividends in the bank in order to facilitate growth and provide additional strength for our customers. This strategy has paid off, as the bank has been seen as a safe haven for deposits during recent economic turmoil. The community banking model that we employ has also contributed to our success, as people prefer relationship banking and feel comfortable banking with a well-established and trustworthy institution. As a result, Pinnacle Bank has seen growth in deposits and a return of customers who view us as a place of safety during uncertain times. This solid reputation has been built on years of operation and a commitment to providing excellent service to our customers.
What is the role that Amegy plays in supporting business owners and creating their new businesses and programs, especially small businesses?
Munguia: I’m happy to share that we’re equally committed to serving local family-owned midsize and small operating companies, which sets us apart from other banks. Our focus on this space has shown through our recent success with the PPP program. We were in the Top 10 nationally out of 5,000 banks when it came to volume and dollars lent. We’re dedicated to maintaining and adding new relationships in the market. We make it a priority to know who all the financial and other professional resources that cater to small businesses are in the community, because we recognize a variety of needs arise when starting up or maintaining a business. That’s why our Small Business Administration (SBA) group is so valuable. They were instrumental during PPP and they continue to be a key resource for our Commercial Banking and Business Banking groups. If for some businesses, the SBA isn’t the right solution, we have other resources we can introduce to provide the needed solution. We always encourage small business owners to weigh all options to ensure they ultimately access the most appropriate solution for their company.
What is your outlook for Pinnacle for the near term and what are your top priorities?
Korb: The focus today is on maintaining our deposits. Interest rates have gone up and we have had to adjust our rates accordingly. This has resulted in us paying more for deposits, causing our net interest margin to shrink. We can expect a tougher year compared to last year. Additionally, integrating a new acquisition requires merging cultures, creating a cohesive team and establishing a shared vision and mission, which will take time. As a family of banks, we will be investing in growing our banks and developing the community banking culture across all our markets. This will help us maintain a healthy margin and achieve growth targets, despite the challenging market conditions. We are hoping to accomplish this with teamwork, a positive outlook and strong leadership.
How can banks counter the reality of customers losing faith in their financial institutions?
Munguia: A lot of it has to do with education, accurate information and proactive client communications. It is essential to educate bankers by equipping them with transparency and factual information to engage in conversations with clients who may have concerns. In these conversations, bankers must share insight and perspective to make clients feel at ease and informed. With a saturation of published media and opinions in today’s digital age, it is important for bankers to ensure clients receive accurate and firsthand information to serve their personal and business financial well-being.
What advice would you give to the young talent that is just entering the industry?
Korb: One thing I’ve learned is that helping people can be fulfilling and a lot of fun. As a banker, being able to partner with others and help make their dreams come true, whether it’s building a house or a business, or providing the tools they need, is incredibly rewarding. It’s a joy to be able to help others achieve their goals. But I won’t sugarcoat it. There will be tough days in any career, and that’s especially true in the early stages. My advice to young people is to stay the course. If you can weather the tough times and be loyal to your company, the rewards can be immense. At Pinnacle Bank, we promote from within, so there’s a lot of opportunity for young talent to grow into bigger roles. And when I see young people with potential, I often think to myself, that this could be the next leader of our company.
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