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