Many of us dream about starting our own company. For some, it is about trying something entirely different, for Tom and Dave it was about staying in banking but doing it better and adapting to a changing landscape.
Banks were built for frequent trips to a teller and for lenders to ponder loan decisions for a long period of time. In today’s fast paced, information driven world customers will not tolerate that model any longer. Dave and Tom strove to and have disrupted that model. Settlers bank is – except where regulation requires or due to vendor limits – entirely paperless.
The vision was a good one. While some banks were struggling to keep their doors open during the Recession, Settlers bank, under the leadership of Dave and Tom, systematically has grown to $250 million ($50 million added in the last year) and over 30 full time employees in its short 10 year history (30% increase in the last year). Tom and Dave would be the first to tell you that the bank’s success is a team effort with the key contribution being to foster a culture of inclusiveness and entrepreneurialism.
Employees own and develop their ideas for improvement. In fact, all new employees are invited to lunch with Dave and Tom where they are encouraged to always be thinking about how to improve the company that they just joined and to be fearless in presenting their ideas.
Decades of industry experience taught Tom and Dave that changing a business model and corporate culture is hard. Cost and staff realignment are the biggest challenges for most businesses. For banking, you need to add regulation to the barrier list. Tom and Dave knew that starting fresh was the quickest way to overcome the barriers that banking faced - so they started Settlers bank with a clean balance sheet. Everything about banking was re-thought to the extent that regulations would permit.
• Eliminate the complicated and slow in favor of efficiency and client responsiveness.
• Make the bank paperless so it can operate faster.
• Make remote check deposit and mobile banking affordable and accessible for client convenience.
• Take the bank to the clients and keep the decision makers accessible for fast decisions and client interactions.
• Reverse the ATM service charges of other banks because clients hate having to pay just to get at their own money.
Today these items are a reality for Settlers bank, its staff and, more importantly, it’s clients. All because during the worst of times, Dave and Tom continued to be fearless and kept their eye on the goal – to make banking easier, relevant and the way clients wanted it.