Category: Under $3B in Assets
Lubbock, Texas
Assets at June 30: $2.04 billion
No. of Employees: 572
President and CEO: Cory Newsom

At City Bank, the work-life balance is tilted in favor of having a life.

Employees meet no hems or haws when asking for time off to care for sick children, attend a child's athletic event, or help elderly parents.

"They don't say, 'Well, OK, I guess, if you need to do that,'" says Lynette Hollis, who works in customer service for City Bank. "They encourage it."

It's an approach cultivated at the bank's highest levels, starting with the chairman, Curtis Griffith.

"If you don't understand that the family that you have outside the bank is more important than the work you do in the bank, you've got your priorities in the wrong place," Griffith says.

He says the bank's employee-friendly culture can be traced to decisions made more than 50 years ago. His late father, Karl Griffith, was among a group of investors who, in 1961, bought what was then known as the First Bank of Morton. It became City Bank in the early 2000s.

"The reason they bought the bank wasn't so much as a great investment, per se," Curtis Griffith says. "It was that the existing bank wasn't doing an adequate job of serving the community."

Executives determined early on that the bank's most important asset was its employees, a focus made easier by the bank's closely held ownership, Griffith says. "Our shareholders have been very understanding over the years in allowing us to do the things that result in long-term gains for the organization, and not have to be focused on specific quarterly results."

The employee wellness program, launched in the late 1990s, is one example, Griffith says, even though he was hesitant at first about some of the elements, such as incentivizing employees to shed pounds. "When you really did tell people indirectly that you need to lose weight, it is kind of like-well, you're getting a little personal there," Griffith says.

Nonetheless, the program has helped blunt rising health care costs for the bank, which is self-insured. And it has helped employees like Hollis make time for exercise. City Bank allows employees to exercise on the clock for 30 minutes a day. They might hop on treadmills in branches, or follow walking paths marked out within the bank's headquarters building. "I don't have time to do that when I get home," says Hollis, a single mother of four sons.

Hollis began working for City Bank in 2005 after her then-husband opened a small-business account there. Hollis worked for a larger bank at the time, but was struck by City Bank's environment.

"I could tell by the employees that they loved their jobs, and decided that it was time for me to make a change," Hollis says. "I came over here and have not regretted it one time."


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