Best Banks to Work For 2019

Becoming one of American Banker’s Best Banks to Work For doesn’t happen by accident.

Their leaders must work purposefully every day to ensure that employees are engaged, having fun and enjoy what they are doing.

They also have to answer a lot of survey questions from us about their leadership philosophy, going above and beyond for employees, efforts to recruit a diverse workforce, their most effective ways to communicate and more.

A few themes emerged from their answers. These managers go out of their way to create a collaborative workplace and listen to feedback from others. They connect with employees through frequent communication over different mediums — emails, town hall meetings, branch visits and even text messaging.

Many executives emphasized how they attempt to leave their egos at the door and view themselves as serving those farther down in the organizational chart.

Here are insights from top executives at the 85 banks who made our seventh annual ranking.

1. Oakworth Capital Bank
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Birmingham, Ala.
Assets: $619 million
Employees: 87
CEO: Scott Reed

Finding strengths: The best leaders are the ones who care about finding the right role for everyone within their organization, says Scott Reed, Oakworth Capital's CEO.

“A leader that cares will guide an associate towards a role that fits his or her greatest strengths and ultimately his or her greatest level of achievement,” Reed said. “This is certainly true in my experience. I try very hard to understand an associate’s strengths and determine how to position them to leverage those strengths to both help the organization and move him/her towards personal and career objectives.”

Pictured: Employees and their families participate in events during the 2019 Birmingham Corporate Challenge. The field day includes competitions such as tug of war, dodgeball and a home run derby.
2. Bell Bank
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Fargo, N.D.
Assets: $6 billion
Employees: 756
President and CEO: Michael Solberg

Pay it forward: Bell Bank encourages its employees to give to charity through its Pay It Forward program. This year full-time employees received $2,500 while part-time workers got $1,000 to donate to a cause they care about. So far, $14 million has been given out through the initiative.

“The best part is that it is grassroots giving — our employees letting the needs speak to them and deciding where their funds will help the most,” said Michael Solberg, the bank's president and CEO.

Pictured: Employees enjoy the Bell Value Awards luncheon.
3. Montecito Bank & Trust
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Santa Barbara, Calif.
Assets: $1.5 billion
Employees: 225
Chairman and CEO: Janet Garufis

Everyone can be a leader: Around 30 years ago, Montecito Bank & Trust Chairman and CEO Janet Garufis participated in a development program called the Leadership Challenge. The experience changed her life. The program preaches five practices of exemplary leadership — “model the way,” “inspire a shared vision,” “challenge the process,” “enable others to act” and “encourage the heart” — that are now used throughout the bank, including in annual reviews and job descriptions.

“It was a transformational experience for me, and since then I’ve come to really develop what I would call a shared leadership model,” Garufis said. “I truly believe that every associate has the capacity for leadership, whether formal or informal, and as the leader of our organization, it’s my responsibility to give them opportunities to develop their own leadership philosophies.”

Pictured: During Montecito’s summer all-staff meeting, employees enjoy dinner and a presentation from executives.
4. TIB The Independent BankersBank
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Farmers Branch, Texas
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 284
President and CEO: Michael O’Rourke

Acknowledging the little things can make a difference: President and CEO Michael O’Rourke has a few daily goals — being approachable, supporting the industry’s trade associations and banking schools, and being seen as a trusted partner by employees.

“Always doing the ‘little things’ that create a family culture and atmosphere. Calling each employee on their birthday and thanking them for being a trusted partner and a part of the TIB family,” O’Rourke said. “Celebrate major events throughout the bank. Always have a smile on your face while in the bank. Focus on our employees — not on my phone when in public areas of the bank.”

Pictured: TIB’s executive team gives out treats to the bank’s employees on Valentine’s Day this year.
5. The First State Bank
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Oklahoma City
Assets: $334 million
Employees: 55
Chairman and CEO: David Durrett

Feeling festive: Management at First State Bank likes to get into the holiday spirit each year with a blowout Christmas get-together. Employees and guests are treated to a nice dinner, live music and dancing, games and prizes such as televisions and airline tickets.

“We go way out every year for our Christmas party,” said Chris Turner, president and chief financial officer.

Pictured: The operations team has fun at the Oklahoma Arts Festival.
6. Centier Bank
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Merrillville, Ind.
Assets: $4.5 billion
Employees: 869
President and CEO: Michael Schrage

Weaving a tale: As part of its stepped-up recruitment efforts this year, Centier Bank plans to post a series of videos on its website and LinkedIn page about employees’ experiences working there. Management hopes that this will convey how working at Centier has affected employees’ lives and how workers bring value to the bank.

“Candidates will hear our associates’ stories about the Centier culture, community impact, volunteer efforts, career growth, and our benefits and how they’ve become ambassadors of change and career enhancement,” said President and CEO Michael Schrage.

Pictured: Centier associates gather for a group photo during the bank’s Renaissance-fair-themed Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony. The event recognizes some of the top performers from the organization.
7. Lead Bank
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Kansas City, Mo.
Assets: $306 million
Employees: 70
CEO: Josh Rowland

Work-life balance is tied to corporate values: To be true to Lead Bank’s values of compassion, openness, imagination and nimbleness, CEO Josh Rowland says management must treat employees well. Work-life balance is essential to that.

“Work-life balance is fundamentally about understanding the whole person, understanding their unique situation compassionately and with openness, [and] then responding imaginatively and nimbly together to enable everyone to thrive and get our work done,” Rowland said.

Pictured: Employees participate in Bowl for Kids’ Sake to support Big Brothers Big Sisters.
8. First Citizens National Bank
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Dyersburg, Tenn.
Assets: $1.7 billion
Employees: 344
Chairman and CEO: Jeff Agee

Strategic plan for a more diverse board: Last year First Citizens created a strategic plan that called for a more diverse board by 2020. Since then its executive team has worked to identify minority female candidates who are interested in joining any of the advisory boards in markets that the bank serves. The goal is to have these advisory board members eventually become directors, and the bank is already in the process of adding a new female director to its board.

“We think serving on one of our advisory boards gives candidate time to get to know us and our bank, as we learn more about them and their commitment to community banking — basically to see if we are a right fit by bringing strengths complementing one another to our bank and board,” said Jeff Agee, chairman and CEO.

Pictured: Employees at First Citizens National Bank get ready for the Vintage Affair Grape Stomp, a charity event in Franklin, Tenn.
9. Peoples Bank
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Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $513 million
Employees: 114
Chairman and CEO: Larry Allen

Leaving love as a legacy: Peoples Bank Chairman and CEO Larry Allen, whose career has spanned 40 years, would like to be remembered as someone who cared deeply about everyone he worked with.

“I want my employees to know and feel I am sincere, that I care about them and I am here for them through good and bad,” Allen said. “I want them to know I make business decisions with them in mind and their loyalty to me and the bank comes with that same loyalty and dedication to them from me. As my CFO says, ‘Larry’s love language is giving to others without expecting anything in return,’ … which I hope is my legacy.”

Pictured: Some of Peoples Bank’s employees enjoy a team-building exercise at the Lubbock Panic Room. They had to find a way out of a small cabin in the wilderness during a blizzard.
10. Paragon Bank
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Memphis, Tenn.
Assets: $410 million
Employees: 80
CEO: Robert Shaw Jr.

Catching up over breakfast: CEO Robert Shaw Jr.’s most effective way to communicate is during a monthly all-employee breakfast. The event allows the bank to highlight successes, great customer service and employee milestones.

“Face-to-face communication is so much clearer and personal than emails,” Shaw said. “Those breakfasts help make sure I get a chance to visit with and see every employee.”

Pictured: Paragon employees from Memphis, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Colorado gathered at the Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis for the annual all-staff outing.
11. First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Pascagoula-Moss Point
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Pascagoula, Miss.
Assets: $310 million
Employees: 57
President and CEO: Weldon Perkins

Knowing when to step back: President and CEO Weldon Perkins leads his team by letting them solve problems on their own because this fosters growth.

“My philosophy has always been to let people do their job and work through obstacles on their own, growing in the process,” Perkins said. “I don’t always agree 100% with how an employee is handling a situation, but I’ve learned that if you leave them to figure it out, they usually do.”

Pictured: Employees of First Federal donate personal items to a nursing home in Gautier, Miss., during the Christmas season.
12. Benchmark Bank
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Plano, Texas
Assets: $620 million
Employees: 107
CEO: Jonathan Filgo

Learning how to empower others: CEO Jonathan Filgo developed his leadership style from watching Mike Barnett, the bank’s former CEO and current chairman, and Bill Brewer, its president.

“They empowered trustworthy, capable people to execute their job duties as they best saw fit and were open to ideas and suggestions from employees that would benefit Benchmark Bank,” Filgo said. “I have adopted this management style of sanctioning autonomy while being accessible to all employees.”

Pictured: Benchmark employees are all smiles during a holiday party.
13. Pinnacle Financial Partners
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Nashville, Tenn.
Assets: $25.4 billion
Employees: 2,347
President and CEO: Terry Turner

Go above and beyond: Terry Turner, Pinnacle’s president and CEO, is there for employees through good times and bad. He has prayed with employees who were worried about potentially being diagnosed with cancer, sat in hospital waiting rooms as workers were on the verge of losing a spouse and attended countless weddings and high school graduations.

“Love is not an initiative,” Turner said. “It’s just caring about the people you live and work with as you live life together.”

Pictured: Employees in Virginia show their holiday spirit during the company’s annual tacky-sweater contest.
14. Forward Bank
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Marshfield, Wis.
Assets: $451 million
Employees: 126
President and CEO: William Sennholz

Rewarding family time: Forward Bank promotes family first through its employee benefits. For instance, this year it started offering an annual “an evening on us” perk where employees can be reimbursed up to $50 for entertainment. This could be for a dinner out with a spouse or pizza and a movie with their children.

“It’s our way of showing employees we respect their life outside of work as well as their time with us,” said Dave Clark, executive vice president. “When employees feel that their employer really cares, they’re more engaged and willing to go the extra mile for the customers and ultimately the company.”

Pictured: Employees serve up pie to staff members on March 14, which is also known as Pi Day.
15. Live Oak Bank
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Wilmington, N.C.
Assets: $4 billion
Employees: 501
Chairman and CEO: James “Chip” Mahan

Acting like a tech company: Live Oak Bank creates an environment where employees can thrive by offering a number of perks, such as an on-site health clinic, a fitness facility and training programs to teach leadership and development.

“Most people who visit our campus say it looks more like a technology company than a bank, and in many ways that is what we are,” said James “Chip” Mahan, chairman and CEO. “We believe in the power of innovation, critical thinking, hard work and support. … If we can do something for our team to ensure they are healthy, safe and fulfilled, we will do it, because that is what empowers our folks to show up every day ready to work hard for our customers.”

Pictured: Live Oak Bank employees pack more than 100,000 meals for Nourish NC, a local nonprofit that feeds children in the region.
16. The Westchester Bank
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White Plains, N.Y.
Assets: $895 million
Employees: 70
President and CEO: John Tolomer

Feel free to overshare: President and CEO John Tolomer encourages his employees to include him in communication, even if they are unsure if he needs to know. He returns the favor by giving updates on a range of issues, such as providing shareholder letters to staff, so everyone is aware of what is going on at the bank.

“I frequently tell the staff I have a delete button, so it is better to communicate with me than not," Tolomer said. "I assure them they will never hear a negative if I receive something I don’t need. I tell them I will do the same with them.”

Pictured: Employees take part in the Corporate Run for Fun, which raises money for charity.
17. Machias Savings Bank
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Machias, Maine
Assets: $1.5 billion
Employees: 278
President and CEO: Larry Barker

Putting family first: President and CEO Larry Barker wants to ensure employees spend time with their families. That’s why Machias Savings Bank offers extra days off — on top of regular vacation days — for workers to be with their loved ones.

“If your child has a Little League game this afternoon, we encourage you to be there,” Barker said. “In fact, we’re going to be disappointed if you’re not there. Even better, we’re going to pay you to be there.”

Pictured: Every year, senior management rewards up to a dozen employees with a special treat. This year the group went to a Boston Red Sox game.
18. 1st Summit Bank
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Johnstown, Pa.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 189
President and CEO: Elmer Laslo

Keeping turnover to a minimum: 1st Summit Bank is fortunate to have 4% turnover most years, said President and CEO Elmer Laslo. A bankwide mentoring program helps ensure all employees reach their full potential and keeps workers engaged.

“In my many years of running the bank, this has paid off as we have great longevity of staff,” Laslo said. “I know that the better we treat our people, the better they will serve customers.”

Pictured: Employees at 1st Summit’s downtown Johnstown office prepare for the city’s Christmas parade.
19. Chesapeake Bank
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Kilmarnock, Va.
Assets: $890 million
Employees: 220
Chairman, president and CEO: Jeff Szyperski

Reaching a younger demographic: Chesapeake Bank has broadened its employee recruitment efforts to more colleges and will also pay up to $10,000 of the principal on student loans for full-time employees.

The student loan repayment program is meant to “help employees break free of this constraint from their education,” said Jeff Szyperski, chairman, president and CEO. “Our philosophy is that employees will have difficulty saving for retirement until they are able to eradicate their student loan debt.”

Pictured: A drone takes a picture of employees spelling out “GPTW,” which stands for “great place to work,” during this year’s summer party.
20. Independence Bank
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Owensboro, Ky.
Assets: $2.5 billion
Employees: 402
Chairman and CEO: Chris Reid

“Five things” meeting: Every year Independence Bank hosts a “five things” meeting where its roughly 400 employees are divided into groups of 10. Each group writes down five suggestions for each of these categories: Things that should never change, things that need to change, future projects that should happen and what Chris Reid, chairman and CEO, should change.

“From this discussion, ideas are formed, inefficiencies and concerns are addressed and solutions for progress are mapped out,” Reid said. “This has been proven to be a successful means of shaping the future of our company. … Each year at the Five Things Meeting, we highlight what’s been accomplished and where we stand on current items that made the list. This has demonstrated to be effective year after year because our employees get behind this, because it’s their vision on how we can be the best."

Pictured: Independence Bank employees participate in the second annual fundraiser for Sebree Elementary School. The night includes dinner, inflatable bounce houses and employees dressing up as hens to race.
21. Apollo Bank
21. Apollo Bank.jpg
Assets: $703 million
Employees: 90
Chairman and CEO: Eduardo Arriola

Being an open book: Chairman and CEO Eduardo Arriola writes an email every Friday to the entire bank. He shares his thoughts on the bank, clients, service — and the television shows and movies he’s seen recently.

“It’s not a formal or long email. It’s my way of communicating with all of them, across the different branches, with my thoughts of the week,” Arriola said. “It sparks a conversation as team members reply and we engage in one-on-one conversations. I see it as my way to stay connected with the team in a very real way.”

Pictured: Apollo employees participate in an escape-room challenge.
22. First Bank & Trust
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Brookings, S.D.
Assets: $2.9 billion
Employees: 628
President and CEO: Dave Waligoske (for the holding company, Fishback Financial)

Revamping online recruitment efforts: Fishback Financial, the holding company of First Bank & Trust, is updating its website to enhanced the careers section. The changes will include making its job openings listing easier to sort by region and job function and emphasizing the bank's culture and benefits with employee testimonials. The online application will be easier to save and return to so applicants don't have to complete it all at once.

“At Fishback Financial Corporation, we hire good people, we make our expectations clear, and then we get out of the way,” said President and CEO Dave Waligoske. “This has led to a spirit of empowerment around the organization, and has fed into our culture as an employee-owned company with our" employee stock ownership plan.

Pictured: First Bank employees indulge in Blizzards from Dairy Queen to support Miracle Treat Day, which raises money for children’s hospitals.
23. Marquette Savings Bank
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Erie, Pa.
Assets: $881 million
Employees: 134
CEO: Michael Edwards

Different types of diversity: Marquette tries to hire a diverse staff by working with a local veterans' center as part of a job fair and Pennsylvania's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to help recruit employees with disabilities. The bank also partners with an organization called Eagles Nest, which prepares young adults for the workforce, to hire minorities.

“We have participated in lectures regarding employer expectations and provided guidance to students,” Edwards said of its work with Eagles Nest. “This program and our participation in it has resulted in the hiring of two talented employees over the last 18 months.”

Pictured: Employees put classroom supplies in backpacks for schoolchildren for back-to-school season.
24. Prime Meridian Bank
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Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $427 million
Employees: 87
President and CEO: Sammie Dixon Jr.

The importance of why: Prime Meridian’s culture is focused on a one-word question: Why? By continually asking that, weaker practices are abandoned and best practices are implemented.

“We can teach our team to do anything,” said President and CEO Sammie Dixon Jr. “If, however, they do not know why they are doing it, then there’s a problem. Conversely if we — as executives, managers and supervisors — cannot answer why we are doing something, then some rethinking needs to take place.”

Pictured: Employees host a pink-lemonade stand to raise money for breast cancer awareness in late 2018.
25. FNBC Bank
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Ash Flat, Ark.
Assets: $469 million
Employees: 94
President and CEO: Marty Sellars

Unlimited potential right here: President and CEO Marty Sellars has spent his entire career at FNBC Bank, and he tells employees they don’t have to go anywhere else to achieve their career dreams.

“I started my career at FNBC in my early 20s in the loan department as a collector, and I’ve worked my way up to CEO,” Sellars said. “I want our employees to know that they have the same opportunities for growth as I have had and that they can truly have a career they love here.”

Pictured: FNBC Bank employees participate in an off-site event where they got to meet others from across the company. The event included pumpkin carving.
26. Community Bank
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Brandon, Miss.
Assets: $3.3 billion
Employees: 809
Chairman: Charles W. Nicholson Jr.

Employees as owners: Community Bank executives say employees are more engaged when they are owners of the institution. Because of that, the company offers an employee stock ownership plan that fully vests for an employee after six years of service.

“[B]eing staff-owners not only let’s our staff have an excellent retirement plan, but gives us all a vested interest in the success of Community Bank,” said Charles W. Nicholson Jr., the bank’s chairman.

Pictured: Community Bank employees present a $1,000 check to Shepherd’s Tent Food Pantry.
27. Redwood Capital Bank
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Eureka, Calif.
Assets: $357 million
Employees: 72
President and CEO: John Dalby

Evaluating management: Redwood Bank actively works with supervisors to ensure they are leading their teams effectively. Supervisors undergo annual Leader Effectiveness Training (LET), a three-day course based on a book by Thomas Gordon and taught by a certified instructor. They are also evaluated by their employees based on the LET principles each year and are expected to get a score of at least a 6 (the best possible socre is 7) on the evaluation. President and CEO John Dalby also meets with each supervisor regularly and with his direct reports each week.

“Redwood Capital Bank’s leadership philosophy is driven by this — people join companies, but quit their supervisor,” Dalby said. “We teach a servant leadership style.”

Pictured: Employees participate in a Bowl for Kids’ Sake event to raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Coast.
28. FirstCapital Bank of Texas
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Midland, Texas
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 211
CEO: Brad Burgess

Creating an open environment: Management at FirstCapital Bank believes in giving every employee a chance to speak up. The bank’s human resources department, which is known as the team resources department, visits each market every quarter to host roundtable discussions. The goal is to have every employee participate in at least one discussion a year. Topics discussed include employee benefits, work spaces and new initiatives.

“Our team resources team comes back from those meetings [and] makes recommendations for changes [and] improvements to executive management, and we implement every one of their ideas that we can,” CEO Brad Burgess said. “I believe this has been a key contributor to our success, because our employees feel like we are listening.”

Pictured: The bank gathers for the 2018 all-employee event, which includes games and food. This one marked the 20th anniversary of the bank.
29. SouthWest Bank
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Odessa, Texas
Assets: $436 million
Employees: 102
CEO: Dewey Bryant

Football fundamentals in banking: CEO Dewey Bryant used to be a football coach, and many of the leadership skills he learned on the sidelines he brought with him to the C-suite. At the heart of both banking and football is an emphasis on each individual executing in his or her role to ensure success for the group.

“We place a big emphasis on teamwork and how we all rely on each other,” Bryant said. “We all have to do our best in each of our roles for the entire team to be successful.”

Pictured: Employees enjoying a company event strike a kung fu poses for the camera.
30. Dacotah Bank
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Aberdeen, S.D.
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 539
President and CEO: Joe Senger

Trust is an essential ingredient: President and CEO Joe Senger bases his leadership style on being open and honest, and trusting those he works with.

“Think as a team, not as a boss or supervisor,” Senger said. “No matter what business you are in or what role you serve within your organization, you have to have confidence in the quality of the character of your team and customers.”

Pictured: Dacotah Bank’s mortgage team celebrates National South Dakota Day during the company’s monthly breakfast buzz meeting by serving kuchen, a dessert well known in the state.
31. Atlantic Capital Bank
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Assets: $2.9 billion
Employees: 191
President and CEO: Douglas Williams

Purpose in leadership: Doug Williams, president and CEO of Atlantic Capital, wants to engage employees fully — with their hearts and their minds — in what they do every day.

“People want purpose in their life,” Williams said. “We all want to identify with something that is more significant than ourselves.”

Pictured: Atlantic Capital employees volunteer doing chores, such as mowing a lawn, in the Grove Park neighborhood.
32. 1st Security Bank of Washington
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Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
Assets: $1.6 billion
Employees: 424
CEO: Joseph Adams

Stress relief courtesy of four-legged friends: 1st Security Bank of Washington’s human resources department, which is also known as the WOW team, is always looking for ways to make the office more fun. One policy change was making the bank’s headquarters dog friendly.

“If you are having a difficult day, all you need to do is go see Boo, a really cute Pomeranian, on the third floor and I promise your day will get better,” said CEO Joseph Adams.

Pictured: Employees celebrate Aloha Friday, an internal holiday 1st Security created after it bought Anchor Bank. Aloha Friday was celebrated on the first Friday after the acquisition was completed in November.
33. Stearns Bank
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St. Cloud, Minn.
Assets: $2.1 billion
Employees: 570
President and CEO: Kelly Skalicky

An open house for recruitment: Stearns Bank has hosted open houses at its main office and its equipment finance division during the evenings and weekends to recruit employees. It used social media and other advertising to promote the events. Those interested in working there got to tour the bank and have informal discussions with their potential co-workers.

“Candidates had the opportunity to get to know our company and our culture, meet employees from multiple departments and learn about opportunities from a wide variety of employees hosting the events,” said President and CEO Kelly Skalicky. “Due to this higher level of engagement, we hired many candidates right on-site.”

Pictured: Stearns Bank employees celebrate after winning a United Way kickball tournament.
34. Capital City Bank
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Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $3 billion
Employees: 818
Chairman, president and CEO: Bill Smith

Offering a higher salary: In April, Capital City decided to raise its internal minimum wage from $10.35 an hour to $13. Management is also continuing to look at salary ranges for many jobs within the bank.

“We are committed to rewarding every associate for their hard work and loyalty by offering wages that reflect their valuable contributions and a comprehensive benefits package that provides both broad and affordable coverage,” said Bill Smith, chairman, president and CEO.

Pictured: Employees in Leon County, Fla., work with Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, installing roofing materials, insulation barriers, fiber board and hurricane straps.
35. BankPlus
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Ridgeland, Miss.
Assets: $2.9 billion
Employees: 744
President and CEO: William Ray

Shoot for the moon: During his 33-year career, BankPlus President and CEO William Ray has learned one thing: Happy employees make for satisfied customers. Because of that, there’s a connection between the bank’s culture and its bottom line.

“My leadership philosophy is to create a culture where employees aim high by establishing stretch goals at work and in their personal lives,” Ray said. “By establishing such a culture, our employees not only work hard but also enjoy coming to work every day

Pictured: Employees from various departments at BankPlus participate in the West Jackson Rotary Club 5K Walk & Run.
36. Bank Independent
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Sheffield, Ala.
Assets: $1.7 billion
Employees: 456
CEO: Rick Wardlaw

A change of philosophy: Bank Independent CEO Rick Wardlaw has changed his leadership style during his career. Early in his career, he was focused on goals and the bottom line. Now he is more driven by “servant leadership,” which turns the traditional leadership hierarchy upside. Wardlaw serves his leadership team, who in turn serve the managers they oversee.

“Where before I saw people as human doings, I now see people as human beings,” Wardlaw said. “A servant heart is where I believe one will find their significance. My desire is for all of our team members to feel significant in serving each other, our customers and our community.”

Pictured: Bank Independent employees get hands-on experience and provide feedback during a professional development session.
37. The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank
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Harwich Port, Mass.
Assets: $3.5 billion
Employees: 520
President and CEO: Dorothy Savarese

Investing in training: Cape Cod Five Cents Savings implemented a program a year ago to recruit nonbankers, focusing on midcareer individuals who wanted a change and recent graduates interested in the industry. These recruits go through a rotational training program. There are currently seven employees in the program.

“The goal of the program is for the candidate to be exposed to all areas of banking, discover the area of the bank they have a passion for and create a short-term talent resource to fill an opportunity quickly,” said President and CEO Dorothy Savarese.

Pictured: Employees from the Contuit Cape Cod branch enjoy one of the bank-sponsored game nights.
38. Vista Bank
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Ralls, Texas
Assets: $841 million
Employees: 153
President and CEO: John Steinmetz

Turning to texting: Vista Bank's president and CEO, John Steinmetz, uses a variety of ways to communicate with staff — emails, phone calls and in-person visits — but finds that texting can be very effective. He uses this method whether it is to send a motivational message to an entire department or engage with an employee one-on-one.

“People, myself included, are more responsive to text messages and tend to speak more candidly,” Steinmetz said. “Emails often get quickly buried in your inbox, but when someone sees a text pop up on their phone, it’s likely to be noticed. And, for whatever reason, seems to be a little more personal.”

Pictured: Vista Bank employees celebrate after the men’s basketball team from Texas Tech University advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.
39. Security Bank
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Midland, Texas
Assets: $907 million
Employees: 181
Chairman and CEO: James Thomas

Success with “servant leadership”: Security Bank has adopted “servant leadership” at all levels of management because it creates a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated.

Consistent opportunities to grow personally and professionally have led to high-performing team members who are engaged with the bank’s mission,” said James C. Thomas, chairman and CEO. “Many factors influence the way our bank performs, and I believe our commitment to servant leadership is at the top of that list.”

Pictured: Members of Security Bank’s solutions team answer the phones during a telethon for Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center.
40. The Muncy Bank and Trust Co.
40. The Muncy Bank and Trust Company.jpg
Muncy, Pa.
Assets: $472 million
Employees: 108
Chairman, president and CEO: Robert Glunk

Inspiring others to be leaders: Robert Glunk, chairman, president and CEO of Muncy Bank, follows a simple saying as he leads the company: “Good leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders.”

“I have always treated people the way I would want to be treated,” Glunk said. “I strongly believe in empowering employees, and oftentimes, it is a matter of staying out of their way.”

Pictured: Employees at Muncy’s Dewart office in Watsontown, Pa., wear Christmas outfits for the bank’s annual ugly-sweater day.
41. NebraskaLand National Bank
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North Platte, Neb.
Assets: $714 million
Employees: 102
President and CEO: Michael Jacobson

The value of input from others: Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of NebraskaLand, learned a lot about leadership working with his dad on their rented farm. Jacobson’s father often asked for his ideas on running the farm, helping to guide him to the right answer. One summer, Jacobson was hired by a neighbor for $1 an hour, but he would become unsatisfied with the arrangement.

“By the end of the summer, I decided to go back to working for my dad for little or no pay,” Jacobson said. “The decision was based on the fact that not once did the neighbor ask me for my input. He simply told me what to do. That early childhood lesson left a lasting impression and has played a key role in how I manage today.”

Pictured: NebraskaLand employees volunteer during a Habitat for Humanity workday.
42. Tioga State Bank
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Spencer, N.Y.
Assets: $482 million
Employees: 100
President and CEO: Robert Fisher

How to tell the bank’s story: Tioga State Bank added a digital media specialist four years ago to help tell its story online. It is now focused on using creative content such as employee testimonials in videos, blog posts and social media to highlight the benefits of working at Tioga.

“It is not just the quantity and locations of the postings that are important, but also the type of posting and what it says about working at the bank,” said Robert Fisher, the bank's president and CEO.

Pictured: Employees from the lending department dress as superheroes during a quarterly celebration.
43. Manasquan Bank
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Manasquan, N.J.
Assets: $1.4 billion
Employees: 159
Chairman, president and CEO: James Vaccaro

Never too much communication: James Vaccaro, chairman, president and CEO of Manasquan Bank, prefers in-person communication. He has an open-door policy while the bank hosts weekly management meetings, customer breakfasts, intern luncheons, new-hire orientations and town hall events.

“Continuous improvement cannot be obtained unless you can effectively foster open and frequent communications with both external and internal customers,” Vaccaro said. “The operative question is always, What do we not do well?”

Pictured: During the bank’s annual community day, employees help run a fall festival event that is free for customers.
44. Centric Bank
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Harrisburg, Pa.
Assets: $733 million
Employees: 128
President and CEO: Patricia Husic

Reaching out to the LGBT community: Centric Bank has met with the Keystone Business Alliance, central Pennsylvania’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, to discuss ways the two can collaborate. The opportunities include Centric's becoming a corporate partner and sponsoring events and mixers while the alliance provides informative programming to employees.

“With 60% of our 126-person workforce female, 29% millennial and 34% Gen X, our story is a welcome mat for all generations and backgrounds,” said President and CEO Patricia Husic. “One of the most important elements of recruiting is to showcase the depth and breadth of our team on social media. Emphasizing an executive leadership team that is comprised of 60% females sends a powerful message to young women that Centric Bank is a place to grow.”

Pictured: Centric Bank workers let loose at the Mid-Winter Celebration, an evening dedicated to employees and their significant others complete with food stations, spirits, a photo booth and music.
45. Origin Bank
45. Origin Bank.jpg
Ruston, La.
Assets: $4.8 billion
Employees: 687
Chairman, president and CEO: Drake Mills

Generous paid time off: New employees at Origin Bank get 18 to 28 paid days off in their first year, depending on the job they are hired for. Management also encourages limited overtime and allows for flexible scheduling so employees can come in early or leave late as needed.

“We also have a PTO donation plan to assist employees who have exhausted their PTO due to their own serious illness or in caring for someone in their family with a serious medical condition,” said Drake Mills, chairman, president and CEO.

Pictured: After a tornado caused damage in Ruston, La., Origin's north Louisiana employees prepare hundreds of lunches for first responders and cleanup crews.
46. United Community Bank of West Kentucky
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Morganfield, Ky.
Assets: $263 million
Employees: 59
CEO: Garland Certain

Getting to know employees: For United Community Bank of West Kentucky’s CEO, Garland Certain, it is important to be accessible.

“I visit each office on a regular basis and try to speak to every employee. I attempt to ask questions about their families, issues, happy times [and] outside activities,” he said. “I simply want to learn all I can about each employee.”

Pictured: Employees participate in the Sturgis Elementary School Back-to-School resource fair.
47. Washington Trust Bank
47. Washington Trust Bank.jpg
Spokane, Wash.
Assets: $6.4 billion
Employees: 994
Chairman and CEO: Peter Stanton

Promoting women within the bank: Washington Trust has partnered with Women in Real-life Leadership, an online professional development program, to offer a leadership-development course for female employees with potential. Participants receive mentoring and in-person training and learn from their peers during the program.

“Our employees who’ve taken WiRL have only positive feedback, and we’ve already seen a number of these graduates step into mid- and senior-level leadership positions,” said Chairman and CEO Peter Stanton.

Pictured: Washington Trust Bank employees volunteer at Bloomsday, Spokane’s annual 10K race, by ringing bells to cheer on the runners.
48. First State Bank
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Russellville, Ark.
Assets: $295 million
Employees: 53
Chairman and CEO: Charles Blanchard

An emphasis on being a community banker: In its recruiting, First State Bank tries to find people who want to be community bankers.

“They need to enjoy taking care of customers and have fun doing so,” said Charles Blanchard, the bank's chairman and CEO. “That is more important to us than a specific skill set or experience. We can train people, but believing in being a community banker is our top priority.”

Pictured: Employees help demolish a traditional drive-thru at one of the First State’s branches to make way for new interactive teller machines.
49. Evergreen Bank Group
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Oak Brook, Ill.
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 144
President and CEO: Darin Campbell

Paying a fair wage: Evergreen CEO and President Darin Campbell says paying employees a $15 minimum wage just makes sense.

“We’ve established a $15 starting wage for all bank branches because we feel this minimum is fair and respectful,” Campbell said. “We want people to know we appreciate what they are bringing to their roles, whether it's years of experience in a previous position or working hard on a college degree.”

Pictured: Evergreen’s retail team celebrates customer appreciation day.
50. IncredibleBank (formerly River Valley Bank)
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Wausau, Wis.
Assets: $1.4 billion
Employees: 249
President and CEO: Todd Nagel

Three goals for employees: Each year IncredibleBank closes down the bank on a holiday to hold its Vision Expo. Last year it was hosted at Lambeau Field, and employees got to tour the stadium and meet former Green Bay Packers players.

“We close down the bank on Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day and bring all employees from all locations together with three goals in mind — learn something new, meet someone new and have some fun,” said President and CEO Todd Nagel.

Pictured: Employees of IncredibleBank’s Minocqua, Wis., location dress up as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for Halloween.
51. Signature Bank
51. Signature Bank.jpg
Rosemont, Ill.
Assets: $793 million
Employees: 70
President and CEO: Michael O'Rourke

Employees as ambassadors: Signature Bank rewards its employees with a $1,000 bonus for referring new hires. About 70% of the bank’s hires come from the referral program.

“At Signature Bank, our current employees are our best ambassadors for bringing in new talent,” said CEO and President Michael O’Rourke. “They have a keen understanding of who will work well within our organization. … No one better represents our brand than our current employees and we’re proud to have them out there talking about Signature Bank.”

Pictured: Employees work with Feed My Starving Children, a group that packs scientifically formulated meals for undernourished children globally.
52. Savings Bank of Walpole
52. Savings Bank of Walpole.jpg
Walpole, N.H.
Assets: $416 million
Employees: 85
President: Mark Bodin

From nonprofit to banking: Working for the nonprofit Student Conservation Association for 16 years has had the biggest impact on Mark Bodin’s leadership style. The Savngs Bank of Walpole president says that, during his time with the organization, he met inspiring people and learned the value of service.

“As fulfilling as my other work experiences were, the level of passion and commitment of those I worked with was unmatched and something I made a conscious decision to strive for, match and hopefully even exceed,” Bodin said.

Pictured: Savings Bank of Walpole staff help clean up at the Monadnock Humane Society.
53. Helm Bank USA
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Assets: $838 million
Employees: 120
President and CEO: Mark Anthony Crisp

Showing appreciation through little gestures: On the last Friday of each month, Helm Bank provides employees with little treats, such as teaching them how to make healthy smoothies, handing out movie tickets or providing a salad bar.

“Our bank goes above and beyond to show employee appreciation,” said President and CEO Mark Anthony Crisp. “We are what we are because of our employees.”

Pictured: Helm Bank employees help Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami with landscaping a new home.
54. Old Point National Bank
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Hampton, Va.
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 279
Chairman, president and CEO: Robert F. Shuford Jr.

A boost in climbing the corporate ladder: Last year Old Point launched a progressive training program that creates a clear path for tellers to get promoted, potentially into management. Participants must complete certain performance and training requirements to advance. The goal is to recognize high performers who are diligent in their jobs.

“This puts our best and brightest young employees on the right track to earn substantially more money very quickly,” said Robert F. Shuford Jr., Old Point's chairman, president and CEO.

Pictured: Old Point employees volunteer during the United Way’s annual Day of Caring to spruce up the landscaping of a local community center.
55. City Bank
55. City Bank.jpg
Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $2.7 billion
Employees: 681
President and CEO: Cory Newsom

Owning mistakes: Cory Newsom, president and CEO of City Bank, says it's a good practice to own up to a screw-up.

“As hard as we try to make good decisions each day, we are human and make mistakes,” Newsom said. “When we are wrong, admit it. The best way to deal with a problem, especially with a customer is to ‘own it.’ An apology goes a long way in trying to repair a bad circumstance.”

Pictured: The bank’s agriculture insurance department gets into the Halloween spirit by decorating its office as a casino.
56. First National Bankers Bankshares
56. First National Bankers Bank.jpg
Baton Rouge, La.
Assets: $896 million
Employees: 164
President and CEO: Joseph F. Quinlan III

Transparency with diversity: One of First National Bankers’ new initiatives is a diversity committee, which includes those who make hiring decisions, employees of different races, former veterans and individuals with disabilities. The committee provides suggestions for outreach and how to increase diversity awareness within the bank. Its input will be used to review the application and hiring process to ensure the bank is considering at a wide range of candidates for open jobs.

“We recently formalized a set of core values of which diversity is one of the named core values and we want diversity of gender, race, thoughts, ideas, backgrounds and experiences, which we believe will collectively maximize our potential,” said Joseph Quinlan III, the bank's president and CEO.

Pictured: Employees don Roaring ‘20s costumes during the silent auction at the Florida Bankers Association’s annual convention in 2018.
57. United Community Bank
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Blairsville, Ga.
Assets: $12.5 billion
Employees: 2,142
Chairman and CEO: H. Lynn Harton

Increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion: United Community Bank has stepped up its diversity and inclusion awareness efforts over the last two years. The bank has updated its diversity and inclusion policy and puts senior leaders through an online training program about working with people from varied backgrounds. It reviews employee demographics once a month and reports the findings to its talent and compensation committee each quarter.

“This fall, we will be introducing a new initiative, called ‘The Power of U,’ which will assist our employees and leaders in defining cultural, diversity and inclusion strategies and goals on an ongoing basis,” said H. Lynn Harton, United Community's chairman and CEO.

Pictured: During employee appreciation day, workers from the Alpharetta, Ga., location spell out the word “United” using pumpkins.
58. First Premier Bank
58. First PREMIER Bank.jpg
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Assets: $1.8 billion
Employees: 368
CEO: Dana Dykhouse

Recognizing efforts: First Premier prides itself on rewarding success and celebrating dedication. For instance, employees who exceed performance goals are recognized at quarterly staff meetings. The winners receive $100 and are invited to a celebration.

“We encourage our people to do more than exchange their time for a paycheck,” said CEO Dana Dykhouse. “We work hard and we celebrate our successes in a big fashion. By taking care of our employees and recognizing their contributions, we have built an outstanding culture.”

Pictured (from left to right): Dana Dykhouse, First Premier CEO; Miles Beacom, Premier Bankcard CEO; and Dave Rozenboom, First Premier Bank president, dress as Willy Wonka and two Oompa Loompas to hand out Apple Watches as a holiday gift to employees.
59. First United Bank
59. First United.jpg
Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 218
CEO: R. Mark Bain

Lead by example: First United CEO R. Mark Bain says being a good leader means “getting in the trenches with the team.”

“Never ask anyone to do anything that you haven’t done or wouldn’t do yourself,” Bain said. “Have passion for your work and show it every day. Make sure that employees understand the core values of the company and lead by example every day in carrying out these values.”

Pictured: First United employees cleaning up a local community garden as part of their community spirit project.
60. First Internet Bank
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Fishers, Ind.
Assets: $3.7 billion
Employees: 200
President and CEO: David Becker

Hire non-bankers: The key to recruiting talent at First Internet Bank is hiring non-bankers.

“Seasoned bankers will rely on what has worked for them at other institutions — and we’re just not like other institutions,” said David Becker, the bank's president and CEO. “When we hire outside the industry, we find the new recruits come in and ask, ‘Why? Why do we do this, why do we do it this way?' The key, too, is to be open to the feedback of the new recruits.”

Pictured: The entire First Internet team gathers to celebrate the bank’s 20th anniversary.
61. Oxford Bank & Trust
61. Oxford Bank & Trust.jpg
Oak Brook, Ill.
Assets: $576 million
Employees: 123
President and CEO: Bruce Glawe

Don’t settle: President and CEO Bruce Glawe's main goal as a leader is to give employees a purpose, since much of their day is spent in the office.

“Never settle for good, always pursue great,” Glawe said. “Once the culture and values are in place, then my job becomes one of inspiring each employee and our teams to pursue excellence in all that they do.”

Pictured: During an employee recognition party, Oxford Bank workers made "smiley bag” care packages for patients at Lurie Children's Hospital.
62. First National Bank Alaska
62. First National Bank Alaska.jpg
Anchorage, Alaska
Assets: $3.7 billion
Employees: 654
Chairman and CEO: Betsy Lawer

Putting shareholders last: First National’s mission statement has guided the company since the 1940s. It lists four goals: keep customers’ money safe; provide “all legitimate” services to the community in line with the bank’s resources; pay employees a competitive salary and create a nice work environment; and earn an appropriate return for investors.

“I am often asked, as my father was, why our shareholders were fourth on the list,” said Chairman and CEO Betsy Lawer. “I give them his answer: ‘If you take care of the first three, the fourth one will take care of itself.’ ”

Pictured: After a shooting at a SunTrust Bank branch in Florida this year, First National Bank Alaska employees hold a banner they created to show support for their fellow bankers.
63. Centennial Bank
63. Centennial Bank.jpg
Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $797 million
Employees: 161
CEO: Gregg Appel

Something left in the tank: Centennial Bank CEO Gregg Appel knows that most people have had a terrible job at some point during their careers and have dreaded going to work. Because he does not want that for his employees, he works to ensure employees go home with “something left in the tank for their families,” he said.

“I have been married for 32 years and raised four adult children. I don’t think I ever missed any of my children’s athletic events, dance recitals, band concerts, award ceremonies or other significant events,” Appel said. “Although I sometimes stayed late or worked on weekends, I was fortunate to have flexibility when needed. When practical, I always encourage this opportunity for our staff.”

Pictured: Employees celebrate Centennial Bank’s West Texas Christmas party on the football field at Texas Tech University.
64. Peapack-Gladstone Bank
64. Peapack-Gladstone Bank.jpg
Bedminster, N.J.
Assets: $4.7 billion
Employees: 442
President and CEO: Douglas Kennedy

Team work is a must: Working toward shared goals creates meaningful relationships, according to Douglas Kennedy, Peapack-Gladstone’s president and CEO. He says a focus on teamwork and the needs of clients helps the bank stand out from its competitors.

“I place great value in hard work, honesty, transparency and teamwork,” Kennedy said. “I am intolerant of individual operators, indifference toward going above and beyond, and any level of intolerance of others. Everyone has value and contributes to our mutual success.”

Pictured: Peapack-Gladstone employees enjoy a Super Bowl tailgate party.
65. Peoples Bank
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Munster, Ind.
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 263
President and CEO: Benjamin Bochnowski

Ask the employees: Peoples Bank President and CEO Benjamin Bochnowski has an “ask not tell” philosophy and highly values employee input. For instance, during the remodeling of the bank’s corporate center, employees were asked what they wanted in the space and participated in the layout, design and furniture selection.

“There is a wealth of knowledge with the employees of Peoples Bank, and we seek to draw on that whenever we can,” Bochnowski said. “We engage our employees to tell us what they value instead of telling them what they want.”

Pictured: Peoples Bank employees participate in a CPR class.
66. Kentucky Farmers Bank
66. Kentucky Farmers Bank.jpg
Ashland, Ky.
Assets: $187 million
Employees: 66
Chairman and CEO: April Perry

Open your ears: April Perry, CEO and chairman of Kentucky Farmers, believes in listening more than talking.

“I want people to feel comfortable expressing themselves and offering their opinions,” Perry said. “When faced with a question, I often turn the question around to the person asking because I want to hear their perspective. I believe in the power of healthy debate, which can only happen in a safe environment.”

Pictured: Employees have fun painting bowls to donate to a charity's hunger awareness event.
67. Happy State Bank
67. Happy State Bank.jpg
Amarillo, Texas
Assets: $3.5 billion
Employees: 707
Chairman and CEO: J. Patrick Hickman

Family, first and foremost: Through his own informal surveying, CEO and Chairman J. Patrick Hickman believes that 40% to 50% of Happy State’s hires come to work for the bank because of the positive comments they have heard about it from other employees. This is tied to the bank’s culture, which emphasizes that an employee’s family should always come first.

“Your babies are your babies for a short season. This bank has been — and will be — here for a long time,” Hickman said. “I think lots of businesses say they do this, but we are one of the few who truly inspire, embolden and ‘live it out on a daily basis’ encouraging our employees to do this.”

Pictured: Employees pose with a lemonade stand for Lemonade Day Amarillo, an initiative that teaches elementary school students about entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
68. Bank First
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Manitowoc, Wis.
Assets: $1.8 billion
Employees: 258
President and CEO: Michael Molepske

Numerous ways to communicate: A pep rally, hosted on President’s Day each year, allows Bank First’s senior management team to communicate with all of the company’s employees. CEO and President Michael Molepske also hosts quarterly video conference calls to give updates on strategic initiatives to the entire organization. He visits each branch twice a year to hear about how to improve directly from workers.

“My communication with our team is essential to the success of our organization,” Molepske said. “If our bankers don’t know who we are and where we are heading, we’ll never accomplish our goals.”

Pictured: Amber Reinertson and Minda Kohlbeck, who both work in deposit operations, joke around while performing community service.
69. Peoples State Bank
85_Peoples State Bank.jpg
Wausau, Wis.
Assets: $893 million
Employees: 174
President and CEO: Scott Cattanach

Getting creative for recruitment: Peoples State Bank has had to increase its recruitment efforts given the relatively low local unemployment rate. It’s now using an applicant tracking process to make it easier and more efficient for potential hires to apply for jobs. The human resources department is using technology, such as Skype or Zoom, to connect with candidates. Management is also considering letting certain employees hand out cards that say, “I want to hire you” to potential recruits when they receive exceptional service or during networking events.

“We’ve found the branding initiatives and the community and national awards … help build our reputation as a good employer that supports the community,” said CEO and President Scott Cattanach. “We’re setting ourselves apart from competitors in the region.”

Pictured: Peoples State Bank volunteers pack nutritious snacks for underprivileged schoolchildren as part of a United Way event.
70. Somerset Trust Co.
70. Somerset Trust Company.jpg
Somerset, Pa.
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 422
Chairman and CEO: G. Henry Cook

Internships for younger workers: Somerset Trust has found it challenging to recruit younger employees. To help, it offers a job-shadowing rotation program to those who are interested in becoming bankers. The program teaches participants about the industry and helps them identify long-term career paths. In the last 18 months, it has also created an internship program with a local university. Ten students have completed the program, and Somerset is now looking to expand the initiative.

“Our reputation as a good employer has made us a destination for a steady flow of mid and late career employees,” said G. Henry Cook, CEO and chairman. “The challenge is younger employees.”

Pictured: During Somerset Trust’s first National Fintech Day at its main office, employees treat customers to a “Back to the Future” photo opportunity. The movie reference was a nod to employees looking at the future of banking.
71. Washington Trust Co.
71. The Washington Trust Company.jpg
Westerly, R.I.
Assets: $5.2 billion
Employees: 589
Chairman and CEO: Edward O. Handy III

Traveling for face-to-face chats: Chairman and CEO Edward O. Handy III cherishes the opportunity to have in-person dialogue with employees since he believes that is the most effective form of communication. He asks the senior management team to get out of the main office and visit other branches and departments. The bank also organizes quarterly luncheons called “Meet the CEO & President,” creating an informal environment for employees to mingle.

“We just chat with the employees — we let them ask questions and we have an open dialogue. Oftentimes we don’t talk about work. We talk about their families, hobbies, and we get to know them as a person,” Handy said.

Pictured: Washington Trust volunteers gather to clean up trash and debris from Rhode Island’s state beaches during the bank’s beach cleanup across Southern, R.I., in 2018.
72. Bank of Charles Town
72. Bank of Charles Town.jpg
Charles Town, W. Va.
Assets: $496 million
Employees: 121
President and CEO: Alice Frazier

Partnering with local organizations: In 2017, Bank of Charles Town created an outreach program to minority communities to bring awareness of job opportunities at the bank and attract a more diverse applicant pool. The company worked with the NAACP to host financial awareness and first-time homebuyer seminars. It also sponsored a local African American festival and set up a booth with information regarding banking products and its hiring practices.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to ensure we have employees who have bilingual skills, particularly Spanish,” said President and CEO Alice Frazier. “At all events like this we promote our job openings as well. I’d like to think that the folks attending events can see how much our employees enjoy working at the bank."

Pictured: Employees participate in the first annual team building day while wearing shirts that feature the bank's vision statement of "One Vision, One Goal, One BCT."
73. Enterprise Bank & Trust
73. Enterprise Bank & Trust.jpg
Clayton, Mo.
Assets: $6.9 billion
Employees: 835
President and CEO: Jim Lally

Creating a gateway to banking: Enterprise has recently partnered with two other financial institutions to create Gateway to a Banking Career, a two-week paid training course. The program teaches the basics of retail banking, interview tips and resume writing. Participants come from community-based organizations. So far the bank has hired four new employees from the initiative.

“Enterprise Bank & Trust continues to grow diverse partnerships throughout our communities, and we are committed to this practice,” President and CEO Jim Lally said.

Pictured: Enterprise Bank’s audit team dresses as Scooby and the Gang, winning the annual Halloween costume contest.
74. First Bank Financial Centre
74. First Bank Financial Centre.jpg
Oconomowoc, Wis.
Assets: $1.2 billion
Employees: 318
President and CEO: Mark Mohr

Sponsoring a training program: First Bank Financial partnered this year with Employ Milwaukee, the county’s workforce development board, to sponsor the inaugural BankWork$ program in Milwaukee. The eight-week program, offered a few times a year, helps individuals from low-income and minority communities start a career in banking. The curriculum covers topics such as financial services fundamentals and developing relationships with customers.

“We plan on participating in portions of the training and at the end of each program, we hope to be able to hire individuals who were a part of BankWork$,” said President and CEO Mark Mohr.

Pictured: During a team building exercise, employees from the bank’s Summit branch paint signs with positive and fun messages.
75. First Busey Corp.
75. First Busey Corporation.jpg
Champaign, Ill.
Assets: $9.5 billion
Employees: 1,329
President and CEO: Van Dukeman

Utilizing outside help for recruitment: First Busey partners with new human resource and recruiting platforms and external search firms that prioritize diversity initiatives to find the best talent. It also works with the University of Illinois’s Disability Resources & Educational Services Department by attending its career fairs and meeting with the organization's leaders.

“A diverse team — one with varying beliefs and opinions — promotes productivity and creativity, while better meeting and exceeding the needs of a diverse customer base,” said Amy Randolph, chief of staff at First Busey.

Pictured: First Busey employees attend the bank’s annual associates' meeting, which includes motivational speakers, games and prizes, and dinner.
76. The First Bank and Trust Co.
76. The First Bank and Trust Company.jpg
Lebanon, Va.
Assets: $1.9 billion
Employees: 371
President and CEO: William Hayter

Taking a step back: A cornerstone of President and CEO William Hayter’s leadership philosophy is to avoid micromanaging and be open to new ideas.

“It encourages and fosters innovative approaches and fresh perspectives that may not have been developed in a more structured environment where management has a rigid approach to how a job or task should be done,” Hayter said. “In the end, results are far more important than the path taken to get those results. Innovation is welcomed and rewarded, rather than being discouraged.”

Pictured: Employees from First Bank and Trust’s Bristol branches participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.
77. First National Bank of Middle Tennessee
McMinnville, Tenn.
Assets: $515 million
Employees: 136
President and CEO: Pieter van Vuuren

Secret sauce to interviews: President and CEO Pieter Van Vuuren has a little trick to make individuals who interview for a job feel special.

“If you can find someone's outside interests during an interview and then at some point after the interview follow up with a special gift, the person would take a moment a pause and realize that you listened during the interview,” Vuuren said. “Being an organization that listens to what's important to employees is very important.”

Pictured: Employees read at a local elementary school during Read Across America Day.
78. Veritex Community Bank
78. Veritex Community Bank.jpg
Assets: $7.9 billion
Employees: 648
Chairman, president and CEO: C. Malcolm Holland

Never too much collaboration: Management at Veritex Community Bank preaches employees working together to solve problems.

“I believe in a crazy amount of collaboration,” said C. Malcolm Holland, president, CEO and chairman. “Any decision of size in our company gets made with a group of people, not an individual. There is wisdom in many counselors.”

Pictured: Through a financial literacy program, Veritex employees work with the Wilkinson Center GED students to improve their financial futures.
79. Citizens State Bank of La Crosse
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La Crosse, Wis.
Assets: $291 million
Employees: 71
President and CEO: Dennis Vogel

Thinking job advertisements: Citizens State Bank tries to avoid boring job postings by including pictures of actual employees, catchy phrases and bright colors. All of this helps portray that the bank is a fun place to work and encourages potential hires to click on the ad.

“It is not really about the details of the position, but rather inspiring a candidate to want to be part of our family where we work hard and play hard,” said President and CEO Dennis Vogel. “The curiosity of seeing what all the buzz and our culture is all about, gets a candidate in the door, and then the organization sells itself from the minute a candidate walks in the door.”

Pictured: Employees have fun after one of the bank’s monthly celebration meetings.
80. First Choice Bank
80. First Choice Bank.jpg
Cerritos, Calif.
Assets: $1.7 billion
Employees: 177
President and CEO: Robert Franko

Helping employees grow: Management at First Choice believes that employees are the bank’s most important assets. To foster development, the bank has sent several employees to the Pacific Coast Banking School for a graduate-level management program focused on the financial services industry.

“This training is a substantial investment by the bank in those employees who participate, but those employees, in turn, make a commitment to the bank to use their acquired skills and knowledge to further the bank’s success along with their own,” said Robert Franko, president and CEO.

Pictured: First Choice Bank employees volunteer at the Blind Children's Learning Center's annual Destination-Independence 5K Walk.
81. Capital Bank
81. Capital Bank, N.A..jpg
Rockville, Md.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 225
CEO: Edward Barry

Have fun: During coaching and feedback sessions, CEO Edward Barry always asks employees if they are having fun.

“I tell them working here is a two-way street and they need to make enjoying their lives a priority and not an afterthought to work,” Barry said. “I challenge them to have fun and make their personal upkeep a priority. To help, we have been aggressive on offering flexible work arrangements and we have a very generous paid time off policy.”

Pictured: Employees at Capital Bank dress up for a Halloween costume contest.
82. Ulster Savings Bank
82. Ulster Savings Bank.jpg
Kingston, N.Y.
Assets: $893 million
Employees: 271
President and CEO: William Calderara

Challenging the traditional corporate structure: President and CEO William Calderara has adopted an upside-down corporate pyramid structure, where customers are on the top, customer-facing employees are in the middle and the CEO is at the bottom. Calderara recognizes his role as supporting customer-facing team members to ensure they have the right products to provide customers with superior service.

“The image of the upside-down pyramid is a great reminder for me of our mission and my role,” Calderara said. “For our customers I know I’m the least important person in the company. The team members that the customers deal with day in and day out are the most important people in the company to them.”

Pictured: Ulster Savings Bank’s mortgage origination office celebrates Halloween by dressing in barnyard-themed costumes.
83. Zions Bank
83. Zions Bank.jpg
Salt Lake City
Assets: $69.2 billion
Employees: 1,706
President and CEO: A. Scott Anderson

Quick hit communication: Zions Bank President and CEO A. Scott Anderson sends out the “Monday Morning Minute,” a weekly email to all employees. The email addresses a range of topics, such as gender pay equity, volunteerism, women in leadership, and diversity and inclusion. Each one also has a survey so employees can share their views, and responses are included in the next Monday Morning Minute.

“Every employee in the bank is welcome to simply reply to my email to suggest future topics or raise questions,” Anderson said.

Pictured: James Jackson, Zions Bank’s CRA administrator, reads to an elementary school student during the United Way Day of Caring.
84. Civista Bank
84. Civista Bank.jpg
Sandusky, Ohio
Assets: $2.3 billion
Employees: 430
President and CEO: Dennis G. Shaffer

Being a participatory leader: President and CEO Dennis Shaffer believes in soliciting responses and feedback from employees and letting them know that their voices matter. It’s his philosophy to include others in the decision-making process.

“Over the years, I’ve found decisions are more readily accepted if employees understand the reasoning supporting the decision made,” Shaffer said. “I also believe in leading by example and to not ask employees to do something that I would not do myself.”

Pictured: Civista Bank employees volunteer at Back to the Wild in Castalia, Ohio.
85. Ally Financial
85. Ally Financial.jpg
Assets: $162.1 billion
Employees: 8,339
CEO: Jeffrey Brown

Using a digestible weekly e-newsletter: Ally Financial has developed BRIEFally, an easy-to-read weekly e-newsletter filled with pop culture references and personality, to connect employees with trends that affect the bank’s business.

“The BRIEFally has really become a part of our culture — people refer back to the newsletter throughout the week and when we drop a pop culture reference it becomes a running joke and point of discussion,” said CEO Jeffrey Brown. “Connecting the dots is one of the hardest things for employees because we are so busy, but The BRIEFally addresses that successfully.”

Pictured: Members of Ally's women's employee resource group work with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte.
This article originally appeared in American Banker.