First Bethany Bank
SMALL TEAM, BIG IMPACT
The women of First Bethany Bank & Trust prove you don't need big-bank backing to make big changes.
A trio of female senior officers significantly boosted the bottom line at the $181 million-asset Oklahoma bank with inventive tactics, while still making numerous investments in the community and in grooming their own staff for bigger roles.
With this kind of spirit, the First Bethany women rightfully take their place alongside those from much larger institutions being recognized here as Top Teams.
Jane Haskin, president and CEO of First Bethany, says she is proud of its performance through difficult economic times.
The bank achieved record profitability last year with a 26 percent jump in net income from the prior year, to $2.5 million. First Bethany had solid returns of 16 percent on equity and 1.1 percent on assets in 2011. The results were largely aided by some very proactive women who volunteered to scour the books, line by line.
Senior Vice President and Cashier Janet Connel saved the bank more than $100,000 annually by renegotiating the price on every major vendor contract last year. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Priscilla Cude's daily management of the securities portfolio resulted in sales gains of $125,000 last year and $627,000 so far this year.
Though First Bethany has only one branch, its target market-the Latino community-led it to become the first bank in the nation selected by TransCard to offer a reloadable prepaid card for the underbanked.
A handful of women at the bank also are heavily involved in local school systems and charity fundraisers. Connel helped another employee organize a charity bingo and auction event for an impoverished school in the area, raising $10,000. It was the first charity event and largest donation for the school.
Connel, Cude and Haskin also are Junior Achievement instructors for a financial literacy program called EverFi.
"We're really strong believers in financial literacy," says Haskin, who writes a financial column in the local newspaper every month.
"We've all been in banking for a long time, so if someone has a good idea, we try to encourage one another and recognize individuals for their talents," Haskin said.
One of those recent recognitions involved subsidizing the tuition for a young woman on staff at the bank to get her MBA from a local private university. The bank, despite its limited capacity, also has other leadership programs, sometimes partnering with outside organizations, to groom professionals for management roles.
Haskin, who says she was surprised to have her group recognized as a Top Team, was adamant all of her team's efforts are simply a part of everyday community banking.
"I've worked in larger banks and small banks and I just have a real passion for what community banks do," says Haskin, a 34-year industry veteran. "Sometimes you think, 'Oh well, I'm just a small bank,' ... but we have a niche that we service, and our model might not work well for a large bank, but it works well for us."
Jane Haskin, President and CEO
Priscilla Cude, EVP and CFO
Janet Connel, SVP and Chief Cashier
Headquarters: Bethany, Okla.
2011 Assets: $180.9 million
No. of Female Corporate Officers: 3 of 5 total
No. of Female Management/Operating Committee Members: 6 of 9 total
INFLUENCE IN KEY P&L ROLES
In her career as a business banker, Lori Chillingworth has had opportunities to move into the big-bonus arena of large commercial lending and private banking services. But the Zions First National Bank executive says her gut instead pulled toward helping the little guy, where the bonuses may be less remunerative but the experience no less rewarding.
"I'm lucky to be at a point where I can take my several decades of experience of lending in this area and create an entire business line around this focus," says Chillingworth, who since 2010 has headed a revamped small-business banking division at Zions, where mom-and-pop clients are served by retail branch staff with a hands-on approach.
Chillingworth's work, part of the retail banking division overseen by Executive Vice President LeeAnne Linderman, is emblematic of the impact women leaders have across P&L units within parent company Zions Bancorp.
Julie Castle, chief operating officer of Zions' Contango Capital Advisors, increased revenue in wealth management by 12.4 percent in 2011. Susan Speer built the largest private-banking business in Utah by cross-selling an average of six products per household to affluent clients.
Women make up almost half of the corporate officer roster at Zions (453 out of 1,145) and five hold seats on the 16-member executive management team. The corporate divisions and regional markets headed by women have helped the bank achieve 22 percent market share in Utah, as well as impressive gains in its secondary market in Idaho, where Zions has moved into the No. 3 spot under regional retail head Toni Nielsen.