Spotlight On:
Robert Kane, Market President, KeyBank

Spotlight On:
Robert Kane, Market President, KeyBank

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — Philadelphia’s growing economy and robust education and life sciences sectors have been some of the main drivers of small businesses to the area. As reported in our Invest: Philadelphia 2020, many banks are seeing growth in small-business lending and services. KeyBank Market President Robert Kane, spoke to the Invest: Philadelphia team about the ways the institution supports the region’s small businesses and other services in high demand. 

How have you seen the small-business community grow in Philadelphia over the last few years and how is the bank supporting these businesses?

Philadelphia has long been home to successful small businesses, but in recent years the collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors is spurring a new level of growth. Companies are creating quality jobs that are attracting a new generation of talented workers to the region. It is very exciting. As a bank, our most direct link to supporting these businesses is to provide them with the solutions they need to identify and realize their goals. From accounts to lending, payments, workplace solutions and more, we help small businesses thrive. For example, KeyBank is 13th among more than 1,800 SBA Lenders nationally. In the last five years, we have loaned more than $1.13 billion to small businesses across our footprint. We also created an award-winning, AI-enabled tool that provides clients with customized attention and allows a deeper understanding of their needs: the top challenges they face, sales and payment trends and entrepreneurial motivation. In 2019, the biggest challenges small-business owners face are improving cash flow, reducing operating costs, improving financial wellness, balancing growth with quality and hiring and retaining talented employees. We have a number of products to aid in meeting these challenges, including Key@Work, which is a comprehensive, no-cost employee financial wellness program. We also have a program, Key4Women, that supports the financial progress of women in business. It’s a great program, offering mentorship opportunities, access to capital and professional development. 

Which of your services is seeing the most growth in Philly and what opportunities does this present?

We’re seeing the most growth in commercial lending, which serves the needs of companies with $10 million to $250 in annual sales. In 2018, we had growth just short of 16 percent. Our differentiator in the market is we are both a commercial and investment bank. Years ago, you had commercial banks and investment banks. They were separate entities. This is important because when a company decides they want to sell, they typically need to hire an investment banker. KeyBank can provide our commercial clients with access to investment bankers as well as industry experts. It really helps us build deeper relationships. In the greater Philadelphia region, we have a few companies under mandate with KeyBanc Capital Markets to be the companies’ investment banker as part of the sale process. What that does is helps KeyBank become more of a trusted financial adviser to their commercial borrower. If the commercial borrower is going to be sold, we can also introduce our wealth management team to the entrepreneur for advice on his or her estate plan and investment strategy for the proceeds from the sale of the company. All of this results in KeyBank acting as the lender, the investment banker and the wealth manager. Clients value deep relationships. Our model provides that, and we’re experiencing great growth as a result. Last year was our strongest year yet, and 2019 looks equally promising.

What is your outlook for the industry in Philly over the next 18 months?

The outlook for the region is good and overall the economy is very healthy. Manufacturing, industrial technology, healthcare, sustainability—each of these areas and many others are poised for continued growth. At KeyBank, our goal is to grow as well. My job is to expose the bank even further in the marketplace. 2017 was a year of complete consolidation for us. 2018 was a transitional year that got things moving in the right direction and created momentum. 2019 is our year to hire the right people and continue to expand the products we have and begin winning in the market. We want to compete with the Top 5 banks in the region. It’s a very competitive marketplace, and we currently rank 10th. We’re actively trying to grow households and add new clients. This will further grow our loan base. These are the most important factors to our outlook for the future.

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