By Felipe Rivas
2 min read October 2019 — The Charlotte Metro Area is home to a plethora of banks and financial institutions. While local and nationally-recognized banks provide similar services, many residents prefer to go to a local bank for their banking needs. HomeTrust Bank is a local bank keen on providing personalized service to its clients. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, HomeTrust Bank Charlotte Market President Jeffrey Mylton talks about the advantages of local banks, the challenges they face, its relationship with the local business community and the outlook for Charlotte’s banking sector.
How would you describe the bank’s trajectory since entering the Charlotte market five years ago?
It has been a nice steady climb. We have added new relationship managers who are more in line with midmarket-type lending. We’ve also added several new divisions, one of which is equipment finance and the other is our SBA division, as well as a larger, more robust residential mortgage area. Two of the three divisions are headquartered here, as opposed to our headquarters in Asheville, so the bank realizes where a lot of the growth will come from over time.
What advantages does the Charlotte market provide over bigger national banks?
I would say a lot of customers are looking for personalized service. Just about every big bank has small business lending somewhere else. You come to them locally, but the approval process is out of the market. We provide the speed, flexibility, and personal service that a big bank can’t provide.
What will your partnership with fintech company AvidXchange accomplish?
A client that would take advantage of AvidXchange would have to be processing a lot of transactions. That’s more of a middle-market company, which is the type of company we are seeking in that middle-market segment where we would like to be more prominent. It’s a way to get our name out and have people realize our capabilities are just as good as the bigger banks.
What are the greatest challenges facing community banks in Charlotte?
A lot of community bank growth has been done by boosting the balance sheet with real estate. I think everybody understands you have to be diversified. You have to have a deposit base in order to lend. Real estate’s great, but you can’t do everything with real estate. There are so many more business opportunities for a bank when it is servicing business customers.
As this market grows, people are looking for a bank that can satisfy their needs. Other than a few things that a big bank does, such as mergers and acquisitions, we can do what they can do. Most of the time we can provide it either more efficiently or less expensively.
We’ve seen just about all but about two community banks disappear here in Charlotte, but you’re also seeing big growth in credit unions. I think the reason that they’re becoming so active is because of the void of community banks. People would rather deal with a personal relationship where somebody locally cares. Big banks don’t provide that. So you’re seeing us thrive as one of the few left, as well as the credit unions.
How can regulators or economic engines like the Charlotte Regional Business Partnership help address some of those challenges?
They are directing attention to a need. They’re attracting customers and business to the city, which gives us an opportunity to do business. When those companies come here, they are looking to work with someone that actually works and makes decisions locally. Many large banks don’t make business decisions here.
How is HomeTrust responding to the emerging millennial market and the demands of this generation?
Whether it’s remote data capture, creating our app so you can do all your banking services on your phone, or Popmoney, where you can transfer money between different accounts, those are all things that can continue to evolve. And as they evolve we continue to make sure we have what we need to be competitive.
What’s your outlook for the finance sector in Charlotte and what emerging businesses are you involved with?
There are so many multifamily projects being done. Opportunities are there for all residents of these multifamily projects to be banking customers. We aim to serve all customer segments, millennials to retirees, as well as small to middle-market companies.
As for emerging businesses, we have relationships with quite a few of these types of companies. Those that are involved in cloud computing, data centers, and related businesses in fiber optics. Technology and digital businesses just keep changing, but we’re active on all fronts. We have quite a few cloud computing-related businesses.
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