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The Best Banks to Work For

The 50 banks that earned a spot on our third annual ranking of the Best Banks to Work For take their fun seriously.

To make sure employees feel valued and engaged, these banks go well beyond offering competitive salaries, flexible schedules and opportunities to advance. They foster a culture of camaraderie and positivity. Think Ping-Pong. Potlucks. Even a polar plunge in tutus.

Check out which banks made the list and take away some great ideas for creating a happier workplace of your own.

No. 1: Live Oak Bank No. 1: Live Oak Bank Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Assets: $679 million
Employees: 275
Chairman and CEO: James "Chip" Mahan
Pictured: The "Killa Beez" are ready to take on Field Day.

Last year's No. 1 on our list of best places to work is this year's top scorer as well. From providing free Friday lunches to paying the full cost of health insurance, few do as much for employees as this niche lender.

"People ask, 'Why are you spending all that money on employees?'" says Live Oak Bank's chairman and chief executive, James "Chip" Mahan. "They're generating $500,000 in revenue per employee, that's why."

Live Oak, the nation's No. 2 Small Business Administration lender, targets only a few types of borrowers, including veterinarians, funeral homes, dentists and small-town pharmacies. The bank does business across the country and loan officers keep the two company-owned planes busy visiting customers.

When they're at the office, employees can work out with three full-time trainers in the gym. They don't have to leave their pets at home either, because Live Oak's headquarters has a new dog park, which is very popular. "You know, we probably have 30 or 40 dogs in that kennel every day," Mahan says. "We've got video cameras in there, so you can check on old Freddy anytime you want from your work station."

No. 2: HomeBanc No. 2: HomeBanc Location: Tampa, Fla.
Assets: $955 million
Employees: 120
Chairman and CEO: Jerry Campbell
Pictured: LPGA pro Brittany Lincicome joins the annual HomeBanc employee and customer golf outing.

Maggie Cancelino has worked in the banking industry for three decades, but says her six years with HomeBanc in Tampa have been the best. "When I go to work in the morning, I have a smile on my face," says Cancelino, manager of a branch in coastal Belleair. "We're happy, contented bankers. We're professional, but we can still have fun."

There's a strong sense of team at HomeBanc, and it starts with Chairman and Chief Executive Jerry Campbell, who is a big believer in the power of recognition and openness to make employees feel engaged. "We think the environment people work in the relationships, the communication is really important," he says.

Campbell holds a monthly meeting with all employees those at HomeBanc's 14 branches attend by phone where he gives an update on the company financials, candidly answers questions, and then spends 20 minutes or so lauding "heroes" who have gone above and beyond in some way. It might be the lending officer who brought in new business or the branch manager who did something extra to help a customer.

Those people are seen as role models within the eight-year-old company. "It creates a fire and motivation to get recognized next time," says Tony Apicella, director of retail banking.

Financial rewards reinforce the message. HomeBanc pays incentives for referring customers and employees about 40% of the 100-person staff has been referred as well as exceeding loan or deposit targets. "We have no cap on incentives, and a variety of ways to make money by helping the company grow," Campbell says. "We've had circumstances where our top loan officers have made more money than our top executives."

It also pays employees to volunteer, provides generous 401(k) matches that vest immediately and contributes healthy amounts each year to an employee stock ownership program. "People are building equity in the company very quickly," says Deb Hanses Novakoski, an executive vice president. "It really creates a sense that we're in this together."

The money is great, but Cancelino says it's the freedom to personalize how she does her job that makes HomeBanc special. She has taken to handing out pom-poms to customers to celebrate winning their business. "We have a very high energy level, and the customers can feel it," she says.

No. 3: Pinnacle Financial Partners No. 3: Pinnacle Financial Partners Location: Nashville
Assets: $6.3 billion
Employees: 750
President and CEO: Terry Turner
Pictured: What's better than an anniversary party? A themed anniversary party. Themes like "Game Night."

Pinnacle Financial Partners does many of the things that make for a good employer nowadays wellness initiatives, flexible scheduling and a cash incentive plan that paid out $15.2 million to employees in 2014. It even boasts a well-attended book club.

But Chief Executive Terry Turner credits an unusually high level of empowerment as key to making Pinnacle a good place to work. The bank doesn't have a trainee program. People usually need about 10 years of experience somewhere else to get hired. The 750-person staff has an average of 26 years in the industry, which means Pinnacle doesn't require the same "lowest common denominator" controls as other banks, he says.

Employees find the experience liberating. In a recent company survey, they cited "no micromanagement" as the attribute they value most about Pinnacle. "The idea of hiring experienced people and not micromanaging creates a great level of engagement," Turner says. "Our people know what they're doing. They appreciate the autonomy."

It's been a formula for success for the 15-year-old company. Shares of publicly traded Pinnacle have increased in value tenfold since 2000, including a tidy 38% gain for the 12 months ending in June, making it one of the industry's top performers.

No. 4: First Citizens National Bank No. 4: First Citizens National Bank Location: Dyersburg, Tenn.
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 290
Chairman and CEO: Jeff Agee
Pictured: Employees take a break at an onsite fitness center a great way to reduce stress.

Employee health is a priority for First Citizens National Bank. The $1.3 billion-asset bank offers free pilates classes at its on-site fitness center and reimburses gym membership costs. When its hometown of Dyersburg, Tenn., had a community "lose to win" weight-loss event last year, First Citizens paid employees' entry fees and offered additional in-house prizes.

Everyone at First Citizens is on a performance incentive plan that's driven first by the bank's performance, and then by individual production. An additional incentive amount, equal to 10% of that performance bonus, is paid for achieving five health-related goals, such as getting a flu shot or exercising 30 minutes at least three times a week.

"It's a totally separate incentive plan, and you can get it even if your job performance doesn't earn an incentive," says Kerrie Heckethorn, a senior vice president and human resources officer.

It's all rooted in Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Agee's belief that the bank's success is tied to employees finding a happy balance in their lives. First Citizens ranks third in United Way giving in western Tennessee. "If you had a bunch of grumpy Guses working for you, would you have that level of giving?" Heckethorn asks. "I don't think so."

No. 5: Avenue Bank No. 5: Avenue Bank Location: Nashville
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 140
Chairman and CEO: Ron Samuels
Pictured: Avenue Bank execs celebrate the first day of trading of AVNU stock on the NASDAQ.

Give Ron Samuels this: not many other bank chairmen play guitar in their institution's award-winning band. The Hummingbirds, Avenue Bank's 10-man musical troupe does covers of hits from the likes of Keith Urban, the Beatles and Linda Ronstadt. It also regularly participates in and often wins contests against bands from around its hometown of Nashville. In 2012, the Hummingbirds won the right to perform at the CMA Music Festival.

"We're competing against all the music industry companies and winning," says Samuels, who is also Avenue's chief executive. The band's success "creates a lot of excitement around here, and a lot of community spirit."

Since opening in 2007, Avenue has grown to $1 billion of assets with a "concierge service" model that Samuels says creates a warmer experience for customers than using tellers.

The personal touch extends to the work environment. The bank sponsors book clubs and special employee groups, such as one focused on women's professional development. It also holds a companywide gathering each Tuesday morning that Samuels says is "more like a family sitting around the kitchen table" than a business meeting. "It's all about attitude," he says.

No. 6: Paragon Commercial Bank No. 6: Paragon Commercial Bank Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 132
President and CEO: Robert Hatley
Pictured: Paragon Bank's 15th anniversary party.

Paragon Commercial Bank's commitment to employees is evident at its Raleigh, N.C., headquarters building. An on-site gym, buff with tread mills, ellipticals and weights, recently doubled in size. Down the hall, "Bob's Bistro" a sizable break room that has overstuffed chairs, TVs and snacks and is named for President and Chief Executive Robert Hatley is a favorite hangout.

"We do not charge employees to come in and grab a bag of chips or a cup of coffee," Hatley says. "People really appreciate that kind of thing, and it doesn't cost that much."

Paragon is willing to invest in keeping employees happy in ways both big and small. It vests matching 401(k) contributions immediately, brings in massage therapists as a treat and runs several programs to recognize employees.

Hatley is the transparent chief cheerleader. He regularly shares bank financials and performance data with employees. About once a month, he personally takes a group of five or six employees out for lunch.

The system works, Hatley says: Paragon's employee turnover rate is less than 8 percent, well below the industry average. "I know I can't compete with the beach," he says. "But I don't want anyone dreading coming into work on Monday morning."

No. 7: Benchmark Bank No. 7: Benchmark Bank Location: Plano, Texas
Assets: $478 million
Employees: 78
Chairman and CEO: Mike Barnett
Pictured: Employees decorate a float for the 4th of July parade.

Mike Barnett had other jobs before coming to work for the bank his family owned and saw enough to know the hell of a bad manager. At one place in particular, "I was miserably unhappy because of the boss's attitude," he recalls. "It was, 'Why weren't you at your desk at 8 o'clock?' Check-the-box stuff when I could have been driving my kids to school."

As chairman and chief executive of Benchmark Bank in Dallas, Barnett works hard not to be that guy. Benchmark is like a family the kind that eats and plays games together. Micromanagement is not part of the culture. "We're not big clock-checkers," Barnett says. "We have a bunch of people here who are friends, as opposed to employees."

The $478 million-asset Benchmark has four Dallas-area branches and another in Austin. Employees get lunch delivered from a local restaurant every Friday, and enjoy competitive fun such as bowling outings and March Madness tournaments. The last two months of the year, a companywide game of blackout bingo one number is revealed each day creates a lot of excitement: the winner gets a three-day trip to Cabo San Lucas or the Caribbean. "Visitors always say, 'People seem so happy here,'" Barnett says. It's easy to understand why.

No. 8: Bell State Bank & Trust No. 8: Bell State Bank & Trust Location: Fargo, N.D.
Assets: $3.5 billion
Employees: 1,000
President and CEO: Michael Solberg
Pictured: Employees spoof Oscar celebrities at the latest annual Bell Values Awards.

Bell State Bank & Trust turns 50 next year, and in that time it's built a culture that knows its values and does a good job of promoting them. The Fargo, N.D., bank hosts family baseball nights, picnics and nighttime Christmas parties complete with Santa and sleigh rides all to let employees know their importance.

Each employee also gets $2,000 of "Pay It Forward" money from the company to give away half to a cause, charity or person that needs it, the other half to a deserving customer or vendor. "The only rule is that you can't give it to a family member," says Michael Solberg, Bell's president and chief executive. "Banks are very generous at supporting their communities, but a lot of times those decisions are made at the 'C' level. The magic of this is that it's grassroots. Employees are empowered to support causes they think are important."

A highly anticipated, Oscars-style awards ceremony reinforces the attitude of treating employees and customers well. The bank's "How Bell of You!" program encourages employees to nominate co-workers they've witnessed doing something nice for another person either on or off the job for a "Bell Value Award." Nominees get a gift card and a note, and five finalists in each of three categories are honored at the annual red-carpet gala at the historic Fargo Theater. "Everyone wears tuxedos and fancy dresses, and we rent every limo in Fargo to pick up all of our team members," says Julie Peterson Klein, chief culture officer. "It's a very big deal."

The awards that define the culture come in three areas: family atmosphere, personal service and "Pay It Forward." The nominees this year include the team at the bank's Moorhead, Minn., branch, which is led by Bob Buth. They quickly went to the aid of a young girl who dropped a bag of coins in the parking lot on a frigid January morning.

Employees receive an annual clothing allowance of $500 to pay for required business attire like blazers and ties. And every year each one also gets a day off and a $200 gift card. The only string is they must spend the money on a friend or family member and tell the human resources department what they did. "It's not overkill," says Cheryl Stock, a branch manager in Fargo. "All these little things make people happy to go to work."

Solberg describes the formula as "counterintuitive," but effective. "The more we share with employees, the more profitable we get."

No. 9: Veritex Community Bank No. 9: Veritex Community Bank Location: Dallas
Assets: $808 million
Employees: 147
Chairman, President and CEO: C. Malcolm Holland
Pictured: Lending assistants enjoy a Veritex Bowling Night.

As chairman and chief executive of Veritex Community Bank, C. Malcolm Holland gets a kick out of the little things, like writing personalized birthday cards to employees. Holland ran the Texas operations of the former Colonial Bank before it went bust during the Great Recession. After a brief stint with Colonial acquirer BB&T Corp., Holland launched Veritex in 2009. Since then, the Dallas bank has acquired four others and grown to 10 branches and more than $800 million of assets.

Veritex has a culture rife with opportunities for recognition and interaction between employees and the top brass. Several times a year, the staff gets together at the Katy Trail Ice House, a popular local beer garden. "We drink beer, eat things that aren't totally good for you and play games Texans like to play," like horseshoes, says human resources director Marie Reed.

The bank is still relatively new, but has already established some traditions. One fixture is the annual Chairman's Award, which is meant to recognize a special effort. This year's winner was a group of employees who helped raise money for a co-worker who had an aneurysm. "We have a Texas community-bank culture," Reed says. "We're all in this together."

No. 10: FNBC Bank No. 10: FNBC Bank Location: Ash Flat, Ark.
Assets: $360 million
Employees: 109
Chairman and CEO: Martin Carpenter
Pictured: What do you get for 100 pennies collected over 100 days of school? A crisp $1 bill and a lesson in the basics of banking.

It only takes three months for new hires at FNBC Bank in Ash Flat, Ark., to qualify for an enhanced paid-time-off program that gives them an extra 40 hours to use for vacation or other purposes. "Essentially, employees get two and a half weeks of PTO their first year, and it just keeps growing from there," says Steve Braun, FNBC's director of human resources. Potential employees know about the program, "and it gives us a real competitive advantage in hiring."

It's part of a formula that emphasizes a strong work/life balance. "As an organization, we don't just say we care about you and your family, we show it through our actions and policies," says Chad Hudson, an executive vice president and chief lending officer.

FNBC is big on recognition and community involvement. Work anniversaries merit giant Hershey bars with a personalized message from the bank's leadership, while employees can give shout-outs to each other via a companywide intranet bulletin board. One popular program is a "Backpack Extravaganza," which raises money for school supplies and shoes for disadvantaged kids.

When the children come to collect their supplies, FNBC President Marty Sellars even washes their feet as he fits them for shoes. "Being humble is a core value," Braun says.

No. 11: Centier Bank No. 11: Centier Bank Location: Merrillville, Ind.
Assets: $2.8 billion
Employees: 747
President and CEO: Michael Schrage
Pictured: The Schrage family celebrates the 4th of July in the Highland parade.

Popular with employees: An employee-funded outreach program helps co-workers who have serious health issues or are struggling financially. Last year 64 employees received a total of $34,000.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: A "prize patrol" surprises winners of service awards with balloon bouquets, handwritten cards from the CEO and gift certificates.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Centier offers eldercare support, which includes such help as rides for aging relatives to medical appointments and meal delivery.

No. 12: Prime Meridian Bank No. 12: Prime Meridian Bank Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $220 million
Employees: 51
President and CEO: Sammie Dixon
Pictured: Executives help promote October's Think Pink during Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Popular with employees: At each team meeting, an employee who "hits it out of the park" receives a special baseball. The recipient signs the ball and passes it on to another employee at the next meeting.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Each quarter five employees are recognized for exhibiting passion, grace, integrity, tenacity and accountability the bank's five core principles and receive a $50 gift card.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Prime Meridian gives employees scheduling flexibility to accommodate family events, even at the last minute.

No. 13: Choice Financial Group No. 13: Choice Financial Group Location: Grand Forks, N.D.
Assets: $942 million
Employees: 195
CEO: Brian Johnson
Pictured: Choice Financial team members participate in the "Corporate Cup," a fitness challenge in which local businesses compete.

Popular with employees: Choice asks its employees in a survey each year what they think are the best things about working there and its flexibility is a favorite response. Operating on the philosophy that flexibility breeds dedication, the bank encourages employees not to let work keep them away from their kids' soccer games.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Choice reimburses employees up to $400 a year for gym memberships, exercise equipment and preventative care.

Community service initiative: Its annual "Go Hawaiian for Hospice" event raised more than $35,000 in 2014 Attendees of the luau-style lunch enjoy a pig roast and fresh pineapple.

No. 14: Independence Bank No. 14: Independence Bank Location: Owensboro, Ky.
Assets: $1.6 billion
Employees: 289
President and CEO: Chris Reid
Pictured: Each year, local high school seniors receive scholarships from Independence Bank. 2015 saw $91,800 awarded.

Popular with employees: Independence charters a bus once a year for employees and one guest each to go to Nashville for a shopping day. Attendees get a long-sleeve shirt, $10 for lunch and the chance to win gift cards on the bus.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Employees can earn money to use toward their health insurance or gym memberships by eating healthy and exercising. Groups also walk, run, bike or climb stairs together before and after work and during lunchtime.

Community service initiative: Independence intends to build a home with Habitat for Humanity in each of the nine counties where the bank operates. Employees recently completed the sixth house.

No. 15: BankPlus No. 15: BankPlus Location: Ridgeland, Miss.
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 787
President and CEO: William A. Ray
Pictured: NFL quarterback Eli Manning helps present a check from BankPlus to Friends of Children's Hospital for over $627,000.

Popular with employees: Each year BankPlus employees get a day off as an anniversary gift, and every five years they get a gift such as jewelry, furniture, luggage or a vacation.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Top performers selected for the "Five-Star Club" each quarter enjoy lunch with executives, a $500 bonus and a commemorative coin to display on their desks.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank's WellnessPlus initiative includes a spa program for stress, a football-themed challenge to encourage more exercise, a weight-loss program, and health and wellness seminars.

No. 16: Community Trust Bank No. 16: Community Trust Bank Location: Ruston, La.
Assets: $3.8 billion
Employees: 632
President and CEO: Drake Mills
Pictured: Employees get a "job well done" reward with a trip to watch a Texas Rangers game.

Popular with employees: On-site yoga classes are taught by employees who are certified instructors.

Career development/training program: Community Trust has a "dream manager" on staff to assist employees in reaching their professional and personal goals.

Community service initiative: The Project Enrich program gives employees 20 hours of paid work time each year to volunteer with nonprofit organizations.

No. 17: Machias Savings Bank No. 17: Machias Savings Bank Location: Machias, Maine
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 236
President and CEO: Larry Barker
Pictured: Retail loan administration employees participating in Spring Fever Week.

Popular with employees: Winters in Maine can be brutal, so Machias Savings has a "Spring Fever Week" to help employees get through the end-of-winter slump with some fun. The week includes dress-down days, group photo contests and prizes.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Each week the CEO recognizes an employee for demonstrating exceptional customer service. A monthly winner chosen from that group receives $500.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The thrift sponsors trips to concerts, complete with private tent, an open bar and catered food, and employees can take a guest. Past concerts include Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum.

No. 18: Civista Bank No. 18: Civista Bank Location: Sandusky, Ohio
Assets: $1.4 billion
Employees: 325
Chairman and CEO: James Miller
Pictured: During Shelby Bicycle Days, Civista employees raise money for the "Spokes for Kids Challenge" to provide bicycles to children whose families cannot afford them.

Popular with employees: Management has an open-door policy and regularly visits branches to solicit input. Employees are encouraged to call or drop in on senior executives.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Supervisors can nominate employees for additional paid time off as a reward for exceptional work.

Community service initiative: Civista fully matches donations to the United Way, and employees can get a paid day off if they pledge one hour of wages per month for the year.

NO. 19: Security Bank NO. 19: Security Bank Location: Midland, Texas
Assets: $947 million
Employees: 158
CEO: Jim Smitherman
Pictured: Security Bank employees at a Rockhounds baseball game on opening night./p>

Popular with employees: Branches that win a monthly trivia contest get a catered lunch.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: All employees get a bonus in December, based on Security's performance.

Community service initiative: Security partners with multiple organizations in its communities to teach financial literacy to students and adults.

No. 20: Capital City Bank No. 20: Capital City Bank Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $2.7 billion
Employees: 942
Chairman, President and CEO: Bill Smith
Pictured: A promotion for new banking technology gets a boost when crossed with Halloween.

Popular with employees: Winners of a wellness challenge get cash and prizes. Last year 87 employees split $10,000.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: During the February launch of a new online product, employees at the operations center and a temporary call center were treated to massages. Lunch also was provided for nearly two months.

Community service initiative: The bank celebrates Veteran's Day with a week of activities that pay tribute to local service men and women, law enforcement, first responders and doctors.

No. 21: 1st Summit Bank No. 21: 1st Summit Bank Location: Johnstown, Pa.
Assets: $906 million
Employees: 167
President and CEO: Elmer Laslo
Pictured: Management does the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Popular with employees: A discretionary profit-sharing program typically doubles the regular 401K match for all employees.

Activities to relieve stress/promote fun: This bank knows how to party. It hosts an upscale holiday gala, annual trips to Pittsburgh for a baseball game and quarterly events away from the office where employees can win cash, prizes and extra vacation days.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The best cost-savings ideas from employees earn cash rewards every year.

No. 22: The Bankers Bank No. 22: The Bankers Bank Location: Oklahoma City
Assets: $261 million
Employees: 68
President and CEO: Don Abernathy Jr.
Pictured: Bankers Bank employees, back at the Ranch.

Popular with employees: Free soda, coffee and hot chocolate are always available, and there's popcorn on Fridays.

Activities to relieve stress/promote fun: The break room has a pool table and shuffleboard court.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank sponsors an annual weight-loss contest.

No. 23: Charter Bank Eau Claire No. 23: Charter Bank Eau Claire Location: Eau Claire, Wis.
Assets: $597 million
Employees: 61
President and CEO: Paul Kohler
Pictured: Employees volunteer and raise money at the largest fundraising event of the year for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Popular with employees: The CEO sends employees hand-written birthday cards with a small cash gift.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Every department is scheduled for a special week of recognition during the year that includes thank-you gifts for each individual.

Community service initiative: Employees can do volunteer work on bank time.

No. 24: First Horizon National Corp. No. 24: First Horizon National Corp. Location: Memphis, Tenn.
Assets: $25.2 billion
Employees: 4,258
Chairman and CEO: D. Bryan Jordan
Pictured: First Horizon, parent of First Tennessee Bank, prides itself on the diversity of its workforce.

Popular with employees: More than half of First Horizon's employees take advantage of flexible-scheduling options, such as telecommuting, compressed workweeks or job sharing.

Communication tool/practice: The CEO responds promptly to employee emails.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: First Horizon provides health care benefits to employees' domestic partners, children of domestic partners, grandchildren and adult children with special needs.

No. 25: Community Bancshares No. 25: Community Bancshares Location: Brandon, Miss.
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 705
Senior Chairman: Thomas Colbert
Pictured: Community Bank Coast employees volunteering for Habitat for Humanity

Popular with employees: Each spring and fall, full-time employees can request a 60% reimbursement on up to $600 worth of new clothes.

Career development/training program: The two-year "Falcon Program" helps groom future leaders.

Community service initiative: The Flowood, Miss., branch sponsors a 5K Kids Fun Run that raised $8,000 last year for an organization that benefits children with special needs.

No. 26: 1st National Bank No. 26: 1st National Bank Location: Berlin, Wis.
Assets: $354 million
Employees: 90
President: Tom Jensen
Pictured: Changing core providers calls for some stress relief. 1st National Bank handled it by asking employees to decorate their areas using a construction theme.

Bonus/incentive program: 1st National distributes 5% of its quarterly profits to employees, with all full-timers getting an equal share and part-timers receiving half a share. The bank also puts 10% of its profits in a pool that's used to reward employees for things like achieving goals and showing ingenuity.

Career development/training program: Personal development plans, which include cross-training, mentorships and seminars, are created for employees who want to advance.

Community service initiative: To support the Special Olympics, 1st National employees participated in the Fox Valley Polar Plunge this past winter, taking a dip in a frigid Wisconsin lake while wearing pink tutus.

No. 27: United Community Bank of West Kentucky No. 27: United Community Bank of West Kentucky Location: Morganfield, Ky.
Assets: $223 million
Employees: 53
CEO: Garland Certain
Pictured: UCB hosted an Ugly Sweater competition and customers voted for their favorite on Facebook.

Popular with employees: The fitness room is always open, and free pedometers are supplied to everyone.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees wear ugly sweaters to work during the holidays, and customers vote for their favorite on Facebook. Winners receive cash prizes.

Community service initiative: A favorite cause is Union County Happy Pack, a local organization that provides weekend meals to children who may not have anything to eat at home.

No. 28: City Bank No. 28: City Bank Location: Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $2.4 billion
Employees: 642
President and CEO: Cory Newsom

Pictured: President and CEO Cory Newsom was prepared for the ice bucket chairman Curtis Griffith is pouring over his head to raise money for ALS. He wasn't prepared for the other buckets executive are rushing in with.

Popular with employees: A highlight of the annual Easter egg hunt is $2,000 of cash hidden in the eggs.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: At the "Swap in the City" event, female employees give away clothes and accessories they no longer want to each other. The bank adds new work attire to the mix.

Communication tool/practice: A workplace ambassador is available to listen to employees' concerns confidentially.

No. 29: Somerset Trust Co. No. 29: Somerset Trust Co. Location: Somerset, Pa.
Assets: $988 million
Employees: 335
Chairman, President and CEO: G. Henry Cook
Pictured: Employees of Somerset Trust's Vinco Office went without words as they dressed up as mimes for Halloween.

Popular with employees: Somerset's "Lunch with the President" program gives each employee the opportunity to participate at least once a year.

Bonus/incentive program: For the past seven years, Somerset has matched employees' 401(k) contributions up to 10% of wages.

Fitness/wellness program: Lunchtime Wii competitions encourage movement, as employees compete in bowling, kayaking and tennis on the gaming console.

No. 30: Southern Heritage Bank No. 30: Southern Heritage Bank Location: Cleveland, Tenn.
Assets: $250 million
Employees: 68
Chairman and CEO: Lee Stewart
Pictured: Southern Heritage Bank hosts the Cleveland Community Food Drive in November of each year.

Popular with employees: Employees get their birthdays off and the CEO hosts monthly birthday lunches.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Monthly 15-minute chair massages help relax employees.

Communication tool/practice: Employees take turns sending out daily motivational and inspirational quotes each morning.

No. 31: Bank of Ann Arbor No. 31: Bank of Ann Arbor Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 174
President and CEO: Timothy Marshall
Pictured: Bank of Ann Arbor's Trust and Investment team pillages the competition in its annual Halloween contest.

Popular with employees: Each summer the bank sponsors a Thursday afternoon outdoor concert series called Sonic Lunch in its hometown of Ann Arbor.

Activities to relieve stress/promote fun: Departments compete in an annual Halloween costume contest.

Fitness/wellness program: A major renovation at its main office calls for adding a gym, with exercise equipment, showers and changing rooms, for use by all employees.

No. 32: First Internet Bank No. 32: First Internet Bank Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 143
Chairman, President and CEO: David Becker
Pictured: Employees of First Internet Bank (or First IBers, as they call them) observe National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease in women.

Popular with employees: Jeans are acceptable office attire any day of the week.

Fitness/wellness program: On "Walking Wednesdays," employees take a stroll together at lunch, using a paved trail when it's warm outside and going to a nearby mall in the winter.

Communication tool/practice: Following First Internet on social media can give employees a chance at free tickets to concerts and sporting events.

No. 33: Allegiance Bank Texas No. 33: Allegiance Bank Texas Location: Houston
Assets: $1.9 billion
Employees: 292
Chairman: Steve Retzloff
Pictured: Allegiance Bankers is named the top corporate team fundraiser at the JDRF One Walk Houston, which raises money to research type 1 diabetes.

Popular with employees: Surprise breakfasts are a hit.

Community service initiative: Employees deliver weekly backpacks of food to students at Frazier Elementary School in Houston, and donate food for Christmas dinners to the families of students at their adopted school.

Communication tool/practice: Chairman Steve Retzloff regularly hosts roundtable discussions with small groups of employees to solicit feedback and ideas.

No. 34: American Savings Bank No. 34: American Savings Bank Location: Honolulu
Assets: $5.8 billion
Employees: 1,184
President and CEO: Richard Wacker
Pictured: Surf's up! The American Savings Bank executive team having fun in the sand.

Popular with employees: On-site fitness classes, including hula, Zumba and yoga, take place at various times throughout the day.

Career development/training program: Tuition for an accredited university can be fully covered.

Communication tool/practice: A feature on American Savings' intranet allows employees to give management feedback on any topic.

No. 35: FirstCapital Bank of Texas No. 35: FirstCapital Bank of Texas Location: Midland, Texas
Assets: $969 million
Employees: 187
Chairman: Ken Burgess
Pictured: Employees having a little fun at a quarterly celebration, New Years party theme.

Popular with employees: At the close of each quarter, FirstCapital hosts a catered breakfast, with prizes for exemplary accomplishments.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Each employee is given a stack of tokens to distribute to co-workers who do something well. At the end of each quarter, employees can redeem the tokens they've collected for prizes.

Fitness/wellness program: Peddling devices are available to be placed under employees' desks so they can exercise while they work.

No. 36: The Muncy Bank and Trust Co. No. 36: The Muncy Bank and Trust Co. Location: Muncy, Pa.
Assets: $368 million
Employees: 84
President and CEO: Daniel Berninger
Pictured: Pitching in at Habitat for Humanity.

Popular with employees: Employees get an extra day off as a reward for the bank's inclusion in American Banker Magazine's Top 200 Community Banks ranking. It has been on the list for more than five years.

Activities to relieve stress/promote fun: Outdoor picnic tables get a lot of use in summer, especially when the bank hosts cookouts.

Fitness/wellness program: Successfully completing a personal health affidavit earns employees up to $1,000 in health reimbursement benefits.

No. 37: First Green Bank No. 37: First Green Bank Location: Mount Dora, Fla.
Assets: $335 million
Employees: 59
Chairman and CEO: Ken LaRoe
Pictured: First Green Bank sponsors the Charity Challenge, in which young adults in the hospitality sector compete in athletic events to raise money for local charities.

Popular with employees: The 401(k) program has no vesting period and First Green matches employee contributions fully up to 6%.

Communication tool/practice: Video conferencing allows employees in its five locations to participate in meetings without traveling.

Sustainability initiative: First Green gives away 1,000 pine seedlings during Earth Week.

No. 38: Central Bank No. 38: Central Bank Location: Lexington, Ky.
Assets: $2 billion
Employees: 503
Chairman, President and CEO: Luther Deaton
Pictured: Central Bank employees at the ALS Walk.

Popular with employees: Central employees can buy up to three extra vacation days per year and get reimbursed if they fail to use them.

Career development/training program: A job-shadowing program allows employees to observe in other departments that look interesting to them while on the clock.

Community service initiative: From April through October, Central sponsors a public concert in downtown Lexington every Thursday. Employees get free drink tickets, while 39 charities benefit from the event proceeds.

No. 39: Boiling Springs Savings Bank No. 39: Boiling Springs Savings Bank Location: Rutherford, N.J.
Assets: $1.5 billion
Employees: 200
President and CEO: Robert Stillwell
Pictured: Celebrating Boiling Springs' 75th anniversary.

Popular with employees: Ice cream is provided to employees on a hot summer day, thanks to the bank's Cheer Committee.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Every October, Boiling Springs celebrates Employee Appreciation Week. Employees are greeted at the door by senior officers at all locations. All week long, employees receive treats such as pizza, ice cream and prizes.

Community service initiative: Employees volunteer to help renovate and repair houses throughout Bergen County. They have improved more than 200 houses since 1999.

No. 40: Bank of Georgetown No. 40: Bank of Georgetown Location: Washington, D.C.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 109
Chairman, President and CEO: Michael Fitzgerald
Pictured: Employees volunteer at a pet adoption shelter as part of Volunteer Arlington Day.

Popular with employees: On the first Thursday of June, July and August, employees enjoy drinks and games at a happy hour on the roof of the bank's headquarters.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The "Peer Regatta Award" goes to employees who have made an outstanding contribution to the bank. Winners receive a paid vacation day, gift card and plaque.

Sustainability initiative: The headquarters, built in 2013, has lots of natural light and uses motion-sensitive lights to minimize electricity use.

No. 41: Congressional Bank No. 41: Congressional Bank Location: Bethesda, Md.
Assets: $456 million
Employees: 65
President and CEO: Jeffrey Lipson
Pictured: Walking in Washington D.C. during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer.

Popular with employees: An outdoor walking path that circles the office park is lined with scenic views.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees can book a "quiet room" to recharge.

Sustainability initiative: The headquarters and several branches are powered by wind.

No. 42: Chesapeake Bank No. 42: Chesapeake Bank Location: Kilmarnock, Va.
Assets: $659 million
Employees: 209
Chairman, President and CEO: Jeffrey Szyperski
Pictured: Employees gather at the Love sign in Williamsburg to support Virginia Tourism.

Popular with employees: Professional development is a top priority at Chesapeake. All employees have the chance to advance their careers with additional training paid for by the bank.

Community service initiative: Chesapeake employees, from senior management down, participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. Videos of employees getting doused with ice water were posted on YouTube and Facebook.

Communication tool/practice: The CEO calls employees on their birthdays and often encourages them to contact him directly with concerns.

No. 43: CoBiz Financial No. 43: CoBiz Financial Location: Denver
Assets: $3.1 billion
Employees: 427
Chairman and CEO: Steven Bangert
Pictured: Walking Wednesday meetings, led by senior management, take 30-40 employees on brisk walks in downtown Denver.

Community service initiative: Employees fund and lead a grant-giving foundation, and CoBiz matches their contributions. Recipients are determined through an annual community involvement survey.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: A quarterly award recognizes an employee who performs an act of kindness, innovates or shows unusual dedication. The winner receives $750.

Bonus/incentive program: Monthly rewards go to tellers who provide excellent customer service and balance cash draws with no overages, shortages or policy violations.

No. 44: First Premier Bank No. 44: First Premier Bank Location: Sioux Falls, S.D. Assets: $1.5 billion
Employees: 338
CEO: Dana Dykhouse
Pictured: The executive team welcomes employees to PREMIERocks Staff Celebration in October 2014.

Popular with employees: Full benefits are extended to all employees who work more than 20 hours a week.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The bank sponsors an annual employee celebration called PREMIERocks. Last October, country music stars Keith Urban and The Band Perry performed.

Career development/training program: First Premier offers professional and personal courses on everything from leadership to technology. In 2014, 36 topics were covered in 120 different sessions.

No. 45: First National Bank of Middle Tennessee No. 45: First National Bank of Middle Tennessee Location: McMinnville, Tenn.
Assets: $480 million
Employees: 118
President and CEO: Pieter van Vuuren
Pictured: Employees dress as characters most banks would prefer not to see as part of Costumed for a Cure.

Popular with employees: First National (formerly First National Bank of McMinnville) sponsors an annual communitywide Father-Daughter Date Night. Young women dress up and share the night with their fathers or grandfathers.

Community service initiative: On First National's annual "Shred Day," local residents can drop off old tax forms and other sensitive documents to be destroyed.

Fitness/wellness program: Employees participating in 5Ks can get the bank to sponsor them.

No. 46: Zions First National Bank No. 46: Zions First National Bank Location: Salt Lake City
Assets: $19.2 billion
Employees: 2,358
CEO and President: A. Scott Anderson
Pictured: During the annual United Way Day, employees are given the afternoon off to complete a variety of service projects in the community.

Popular with employees: In April, 80 employees took part in National Teach Children to Save Day. The team helped 7,500 students learn about budgeting, interest and understanding needs versus wants.

Fitness/wellness program: Zions' zFIT program supports financial, spiritual, mental and physical well-being through various activities, events and help tools.

Bonus/incentive program: The bank pays employees a bonus for making product and service referrals. Employees earn, on average, an additional $1000 per-year in compensation.

No. 47: Happy State Bank No. 47: Happy State Bank Location: Happy, Texas
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 607
Chairman and CEO: J. Pat Hickman
Pictured: The "Happy Hoopsters" gather to take on a little competition and raise money for a cause.

Popular with Employees: Employees can submit prayer requests via the company's "Happy Hub" intranet.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Wine Wednesdays and Coke Float Fridays are regular afternoon events where employees can socialize.

Valued Perk: A fleet of 13 Volkswagen Beetles branded with Happy State's logo is available to employees. They can sign up to drive one, and during the time they have it, use it as if it was their own vehicle with the bank paying for the gas.

No. 48: North Shore Bank No. 48: North Shore Bank Location: Brookfield, Wis.
Assets: $1.8 billion
Employees: 480
President and CEO: James McKenna
Pictured: North Shore Bank employees participate in the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb.

Popular with employees: North Shore organizes several walks, runs and bikes throughout the year and pays for employees to participate.

Community service initiative: Themed events and dress down days raise funds for a variety of local charities each quarter.

Sustainability initiative: During Earth Day events for the Urban Ecology Center, employees help with planting and weeding in their neighborhoods.

No. 49: Metropolitan National Bank No. 49: Metropolitan National Bank Location: Springfield, Mo.
Assets: $442 million
Employees: 170
President and CEO: Mark McFatridge
Pictured: At the relocation of Metropolitan National Bank's Golden City Banking Center.

Popular with employees: More than half of the employees serve on at least one committee focused on strategic initiatives, allowing them to share ideas and take action.

Career development/training program: Metropolitan University is an internal program that provides employees with paid internships, management training and career guidance.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank reimburses employees $50 per quarter for anything that helps improve their quality of life, including fitness memberships, hobbies and basic necessities.

No. 50: FirstBank No. 50: FirstBank Location: Lakewood, Colo.
Assets: $15 billion
Employees: 2,337
CEO: John Ikard
Pictured: At the finish line for the March of Dimes, for which FirstBank is a major sponsor every year.

Popular with employees: Some FirstBank locations have a ping-pong table in the break room. This year four branches in Lakewood hosted an employee tournament that raised more than $800 for Junior Achievement.

Fitness/wellness program: Quarterly fitness challenges attract a lot of participants.

Community service initiative: Over the past 15 years, more than 2,100 FirstBank employees have volunteered as teachers and mentors through Junior Achievement.

The 50 banks that earned a spot on our third annual ranking of the Best Banks to Work For take their fun seriously. Check out which banks made the list and take away some great ideas for creating a happier workplace of your own.

Comments (1)
As A newly acquired member of the Veritex family, I am very proud to be a member of this organization.
Posted by brad d | Thursday, August 27 2015 at 8:49PM ET
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