Community bankers like Don Gibson of Greene County Bancorp rarely keep company with megabankers like Jamie Dimon or John Stumpf.
But Gibson is on equal terms with his fellow CEOs when it comes to KBW's new bank honor roll.
The investment bank's honor roll rewards the most profitable banks over the past decade. To find the honorees, KBW starts with a list of about 400 banks and applies three different formulas to their income statements. This year, 45 banks made the list, including 17 banks making their first appearance.
The $560 million-asset Greene County (GCBC), of Catskill, N.Y., is the smallest newcomer to the roll, while Dimon's JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Stumpf's Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), are the biggest on the list.
Gibson's company, the parent of the Bank of Greene County, sticks to the traditional formula of collecting local deposits, making loans in the deposit area and shunning risky bond purchases, he said.
"We're just trying to do the basics, making all the layups and the foul shots," said Gibson, who's worked at the thrift since 1987.
The thrift tries to get clever in product development, like offering a "risk-free" IRA, and developing an in-house software program to offer rewards through the bank's Visa Inc. debit card.
Gibson's also a big believer in direct mail. He used the marketing tactic to find potential customers to refinance into the Bank of Greene County's new "Fast Finish" 10-year mortgage. They first sent mailers to targets in a 10-mile radius, and later expanded to a 15-mile and a 20-mile radius
"You've got to get the right people for a 10-year mortgage, because not many people can afford it," Gibson said.
The thrift gives an Apple iPad 2 tablet computer to any new customer who refinances with them.
Rounding out the other 14 newbies are: 1st Source (SRCE), Bank of Kentucky Financial (BKYF), C&F Financial (CFFI), CNB Financial (CCNE), Commerce Bancshares (CBSH), Dime Community Bancshares (DCOM), Horizon Bancorp (HBNC), Lakeland Financial (LKFN), Northeast Bancorp (NBN), Oak Valley Bancorp (OVLY), SVB Financial Group (SIVB), Texas Capital Bancshares (TCBI), UMB Financial (UMF) and Washington Trust (WASH).
KBW's honor-roll standards are high. To make the cut, banks must not have reported a yearly loss over the past decade; a yearly net income per share that's at least the highest the bank has posted over the past 10 years; and consecutive net income increases since 2009. For all three factors, KBW only considers numbers posted before extraordinary items. Only banks with at least $500 million of assets were considered.
No word yet whether Gibson, Dimon or Stumpf get bumper stickers bragging that their banks are honor roll students.