John Poelker continues to cross things off his to-do list since becoming interim president and chief executive at CertusBank earlier this month.
The veteran banker, who recently met with key investors in New York, is now using social media to appeal to the $1.7 billion-asset company's customers. In a YouTube video, Poelker vows to focus more than ever on customers as he looks to move beyond a scandal that led to the ouster of his predecessors.
"I am committed to moving CertusBank forward the right way," Poelker says. "We are going to work with a renewed commitment to earn your trust every day. I believe it is essential that we do just that."
Poelker never mentions any of the backstage drama that prompted the Greenville, S.C., company's board to remove three top managers on April 9. The ousters took place less than two weeks after American Banker published a report detailing the company's recent losses, sky-high expenses and conflicts with investors.
The March 29 report detailed that the Certus executives had paid nearly $10 million to a consulting firm that the executives had founded and owned; that the bank had spent millions on executive apartments, charter-plane flights, sporting events and office decorations; that the bank had spent $146,000 for three months of work by one of the founders' sons, a recent college graduate; and that the bank had transferred a Toyota SUV to one of its executives at what appears to be far less than its market value.
Three former executives Walter Davis, Angela Webb and Milton Jones later filed a lawsuit against Certus and investor Benjamin Weinger, claiming that Weinger and certain directors defamed the ousted officers in an attempt to take over the company.
So Poelker is acting quickly in an effort to win over customers who might be spooked by recent developments. "It is a job that I am excited about and do not take lightly," he says during the 2-minute clip. "I believe our future at CertusBank is bright with you by our sides."
The new CEO also made it clear in the video that he is intent to win over Certus' employees. "While I have been at the job for just a few days, I want you to know how impressed I am with my fellow teammates at CertusBank," he says. "They are first-rate. They are smart, dedicated, focused and determined to take care of your banking needs every step of the way."