By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read October 2019 — Connectivity to the community is the key differentiator when it comes to the variety of banks in the region, David Druey, South Florida regional president for Centennial Bank, told Invest:. He also raised some significant points about determining the right talent fit for a role in his bank, and how millennials could benefit from understanding and appreciating the significant advantages that having a human relationship with their bank can bring.
How does your bank differentiate itself in a crowded financial market?
Whether it is a large, regional, super-regional or community bank, the key difference is the connectivity the bank has to the community. Typically, larger banks have a tendency not to focus on small business. They look for large corporations that take out massive loans. They underserve the communities that they have branches in and use their branches for deposit gathering rather than actually servicing the customer’s needs on both the loans and deposits sides. While we are a $15 billion organization, we have allowed each branch to go with what I call their bend, which is allowing them to do the kind of work that they will succeed in. For instance, if there is a need for construction lending in their market, then they should be doing construction lending. This allows our branches to be in the markets on a much more granular level, and not a large-scale or silo level like some of the other larger banks.
How do you determine the right talent to hire from a tight labor pool?
Talent must have the finesse to understand financial statements, business models, clients, people and be good enough to get all the details correct in order to have loan documentation approved. There is a very small group of people who can do this job extremely well, and those who do it well are in high demand. The key is to court them to come work for you, and entice them to come over based on whatever it is that they are not getting at their current institution. When identifying these people, we also look at their reputation and overall if they are a high-quality individual.
Have you observed any significant changes in demand for your services with the influx of millennials into South Florida?
Millennials have a tendency to do everything on their phone, which is fine and we appreciate that technology, but they are missing out on the human component of a banking relationship. Having a relationship with one’s bank is vitally important to their financial well-being. When that relationship solely exists on technology, there is no connection with the financial institution. Millennials are missing out on the connectivity and relationships with banking professionals that could ultimately help them with whatever they may need. The positive trend we are observing is that as these millennials age, they are starting to realize that to start a business or buy a home they need to have some connectivity and relationship with their bank. They are migrating more toward having relationships with financial advisers and banks because they need them as a service provider.
Due to the strict regulatory banking environment, have you seen a trend of people looking at more nontraditional lenders?
In South Florida, we are always competing against two things, cash and nontraditional financing. South Florida has quite a few nontraditional financing options, but these options typically charge for the nontraditional financing through fees and a higher interest rate. This idea is comparable to the convenience store versus a chain grocery-store mentality. A convenience store may be easier to access but you will pay $6 for a gallon of milk, while a chain grocery store may be a bit more effort to access but will result in a savings of $2 for the same product. The same idea applies for lending from a traditional source like a bank versus a nontraditional lender.
To learn more about our interviewee, visit: