Spotlight On: Larry Miller, President & CEO, NDBT (North Dallas Bank & Trust Co.)

Spotlight On: Larry Miller, President & CEO, NDBT (North Dallas Bank & Trust Co.)

2022-08-01T10:11:27-04:00July 29th, 2022|Banking & Finance, Dallas, Spotlight On|

2 min read July 2022 Invest: spoke with Larry Miller, president and CEO of NDBT (North Dallas Bank & Trust Co.), about the trends that have powered its growth over the past two years and how the unique characteristics of community banks are a differentiator. “Many of our strategies today have been influenced by what we learned during the pandemic,” Miller said.

What have been your key takeaways for NDBT over the past year?

So much of what we have done in the last 12 months has been influenced by the lessons learned during the pandemic. As a community bank we are used to serving on the front lines with our small business customers, but that role was really amplified during the pandemic when we faced a number of challenges ranging from intense customer anxiety, technological challenges, shelter in place requirements and the establishment of an expanded relationship with the SBA during their rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). From this experience we learned that first and foremost, our bankers make the difference. The pandemic was truly an “All hands on deck” environment and community bankers stood up and took on whatever task was necessary to work through the challenge. I am tremendously proud of our bankers who took on new roles, worked incredibly long hours under some of the most stressful conditions and never once complained about what was required of them. At NDBT, we embraced the mantra “We’ve got this” and were very effective in serving our customers during this time. Second, we learned that frequent, real time communication with our bankers, customers and communities was essential to ensuring that we all came through the pandemic safely, effectively and together. Third, we confirmed that the strategic deployment and utilization of the technological platforms we have available to us today is both effective and secure when it comes to meeting all of our customer’s needs.

Looking back on it now, it is phenomenal to realize what community bankers accomplished during this difficult time. For example 90% of all PPP loans originated in the US were handled by community banks, representing approximately 50% of total PPP proceeds loaned. The remaining 50% of funds were provided by the larger regional and money center banks toward the end of the first round of loans, well after the time when most community banks had already taken care of the majority of their customers. Early on it felt like the big banks were firmly on the sidelines while the community bankers forged ahead.

How has demand in services shifted as the population has grown?

The population growth impacting our market in recent years has brought with it a corresponding increased demand for banking and financial services, particularly within the real estate lending arena, deposit services area and wealth management space. Demand for housing, both in the single family and multi-family sectors, as well as increased demand for new products in the retail, hospitality and commercial real estate sectors has provided tremendous opportunities for us to develop a significant number of new customer relationships. As a community bank, we are intentional about developing well rounded, meaningful deposit and loan relationships with all of our customers and our performance in 2021 confirms we were successful in this effort. Our deposits grew by 19% in 2021 while loan growth exceeded 26% for the year. Our Trust and Wealth Management Division had a strong year as well, adding a significant number of new customer relationships by year’s end. Going forward, we are well positioned to continue to serve our real estate borrowing customers while working to diversify our portfolio through additional business and professional loans, commercial working capital lines, equipment loans and consumer lines.

How does NDBT engage the community?

At NDBT, our mission statement calls us to provide excellent service to all members of the communities we serve. We do this by maintaining a dedicated, manageable and measurable approach to our community service effort. We understand that today’s employees are eager to serve so in 2019 we created our community engagement initiative, NDBT Cares. NDBTC allows us to elevate the community service aspect of our mission statement as we educate and equip our employees regarding service opportunities and connect them to organizations within our communities in need of assistance. As part of our strategy, we challenge departments throughout the bank to embrace a charity of their own choice and then equip them to serve where they are most passionate. As a result, we have developed meaningful relationships with more than a dozen organizations such as Family Compass, Make A Wish, The Human Impact and Cristo Rey Preparatory School. Today our employees are actively working to help prevent child abuse, assist the chronically homeless in our southern sector, teach financial literacy, comfort critically ill children and their families and work side by side with high school students we employ while we teach them the art of community banking.

What is your outlook for NDBT over the next two to three years?

The North Texas business sector is on fire. We’re in a great market and we’re not afraid to compete because of the energy and synergy here. It’s a big market and we’ll take on all comers because we believe our brand resonates, we offer authentic intelligence and are making a difference in our community.

We are prioritizing marketing and communications. Our growth strategy includes better storytelling that reaches more people across all social media platforms. We are also making significant investments in our IT systems and staff because that will continue to be a huge part of how we do what we do moving forward. Human Resources is another top focus because human capital has never been more critical to achieving our success. I don’t know how many banks our size have a chief human resources officer or a full time training officer, but we do because attracting, developing and retaining top banking talent is a top priority for us. In today’s market, we are competing with every industry and every employer for talent which is driving the cost of talent up. We are projecting a double digit increase in personnel costs for 2022, a percentage increase that is more than double what it was last year. We have to make sure to fairly value the roles and responsibilities of our employees and then fairly reward them for their contribution. We remain committed to coach, train and equip our bankers for career success because they are ultimately the next generation of the region’s financial service professionals.

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