Slideshow Best Banks to Work For

Published
  • August 27 2017, 10:00pm EDT
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The 75 banks that earned a spot on our fifth annual ranking of the Best Banks to Work For could inspire you with their ideas for creating a culture of both positivity and high performance. Check out which banks made the list and take away some tactics you can try out. Also, see their M&A tips below.

Lessons from the 'Best Banks' on dealing with M&A friction

Selling a bank is like selling a car, Marie Reed recalls someone across the table saying during a bank acquisition early in her career.

Even though the exchange happened decades ago, her manager's response still resonates with her.

"When you sell a car, you don't leave your family in it."

Reed, the human resources director at Veritex Community Bank in Dallas, has taken that sentiment to heart in helping her bank with the handful of acquisitions it has done since opening in 2010. Anxiety is high for workers involved in a merger — the family taken along for the ride in a bank deal — and she believes Veritex's focus under Chairman and Chief Executive C. Malcolm Holland on easing that anxiety has helped it earn a spot on the "Best Banks to Work For" list for four consecutive years.

Acquisitions are disruptive by nature. Two discrete companies with their individual quirks come together and have to act as one. Even when things go well, employees on both sides experience stress and uncertainty as processes are merged, overlapping jobs are eliminated and management looks to deliver on cost savings.

There are seemingly countless stories of corporate cultures being decimated by M&A. Steve Coco, managing director at the consulting firm Conduent in Florham Park, N.J., estimates that 70% to 90% of all deals fall short of expectations to some degree primarily because of cultural issues.

"Time and time again, institutions focus on the financial aspects of the deal at the expense of people-related matters," Coco said.

To avoid pitfalls, Coco recommends banks get an early start on understanding cultural differences, communicate constantly with both their existing employees and the newcomers, and provide adequate time, support and resources to the teams responsible for the integration.

Integrating the workforce — before, during and after the acquisition — ensures a consistent culture and allows the bank to effectively pursue its strategy, Coco said. "Otherwise, people's email addresses and business cards change, but their allegiances and dedications don't."

So, what do the active acquirers among our Best Banks to Work For know that others might not?

For starters, put a thorough exam of the potential seller's culture on the due diligence list, said Terry Turner, president and chief executive of Pinnacle Financial Partners in Nashville, Tenn. Pinnacle has acquired four banks since 2006, but Turner said he has backed away from some deals over fears of a poor cultural fit after asking questions about hiring methodology and turnover rate and digging into work environment surveys and employment policies.

Even a well-run bank with good employees can be a bad fit for Pinnacle, if the cultures of the two institutions have evolved differently, Turner said.

"Our culture is that we all win together and lose together," he said. "There are a lot of great banks, and a lot of great bankers out there, but if I go into a company and see a silo-oriented culture, or an emphasis on individual incentives over corporate goals, I know that is not going to fit into our culture."

Once a match is made, it is important to move quickly with onboarding newly acquired employees, Turner said.

To make sure these employees feel at home, Pinnacle puts them through a three-day orientation run by Turner and other senior executives, just as it does with all new hires. The program includes a review of bank policies and guiding principles, presentations from different departments and team-building exercises that culminate with everyone hoisting each other over a 12-foot wall.

Turner is in the midst of an integration right now. In June, Pinnacle acquired BNC Bancorp of High Point, N.C. The $1.9 billion deal boosted Pinnacle's assets by 65%, to just under $21 billion.

As part of the integration, Turner and his executive team plan to travel to North Carolina 11 times before the end of the year to run the three-day orientations. Turner expects the results to justify the time and effort. "There needs to be energetic communication. You need to go talk to people face to face," Turner said. "It isn't just about sending an email."

Rory Ritrievi, the president and CEO of Mid Penn Bank in Millersburg, Pa., also puts a premium on connecting with individuals. He said Mid Penn's culture, built around the golden rule of treating people as you would want to be treated, is a philosophy that lends itself well to successful integrations.

"We believe that every person, from the CEO to the branch manager to the teller, is vital to the bank's success," Ritrievi said. "We want all of our people to feel appreciated and feel like part of a family."

Ritrievi and other senior executives frequently visit all of Mid Penn's 25 locations across six central Pennsylvania counties to talk to employees, learn their concerns and look for ways to improve.

He applies that same strategy to mergers and integrations. By midsummer, he already had begun reaching out to employees at the $263 million-asset Scottdale Bank & Trust Co., which Mid Penn agreed to acquire for $59.1 million. The deal for Scottdale is set to close in the third quarter.

Coco recommended banks use "change enablers" to make sure an integration goes smoothly. These are on-site teams that do branch training and team-building activities.

He added that while bank leaders might be eager to get the integration done, patience is important. The combined bank isn't going to have one culture overnight. Banks should approach integration as "a series of sprints rather than a long marathon," allowing employees to pace themselves to complete the task and creating opportunities to celebrate quick wins and milestone achievements.

Too often, bankers have a "get the deal done so we can move on to the next one" attitude, Coco said.

Of course, one of the main concerns for employees in acquisitions is layoffs. People from both sides get worried: Which branch will survive, mine or the other one down the block?

Ritrievi advocates transparency in acquisitions. Mid Penn is forthright with those who are out of a job, he said. It tries to find displaced employees other roles in the bank. And it pays a "generous" severance to those who can't be redeployed, gives them personalized letters of recommendation, and offers career counseling.

Ritrievi said he believes those efforts are noticed by the retained employees as well — helping to alleviate some of the anxiety caused by M&A and fostering positive feelings toward Mid Penn.

"Our goal is to make sure we treat all employees fairly and respectfully," Ritrievi said. "It isn't rocket science. But it does take a lot of time, a lot of thought and a lot of hard work."

Making a good first impression on soon-to-be-acquired employees can pay off in other ways too, according to Veritex's Reed. On Aug. 1, Veritex completed its acquisition of the $1 billion-asset Sovereign Bancshares, also based in Dallas. Like Veritex, Sovereign has numerous longtime employees who have befriended customers. Those customers also are likely to have concerns about a pending bank deal, and hearing optimistic comments about the buyer from employees they trust can go a long way toward making sure Veritex is able to keep much of the business it is acquiring.

Sovereign promises to be Veritex's most challenging integration so far, as it boosts assets 66%, to $2.6 billion, and adds two big new markets, Austin and Houston. On the same day the Sovereign deal closed, Veritex announced it had agreed to acquire the $459 million-asset Liberty Bancshares in Fort Worth, Texas.

While regulatory restrictions limit interaction between companies until a deal closes, Reed and her team worked to make Sovereign employees feel welcome early on. Veritex started a Secret Buddy program pairing one of its employees with a counterpart at Sovereign. It is a multimonth Secret Santa-type relationship where the Veritex buddies send notes and small gifts to their future co-workers. "There is always going to be anxiety, but the sooner we can try to set fears to rest the better," Reed said. "We want people to know they are being thought of."

Veritex executives traveled to various Sovereign locations to meet with new employees the day the deal closed. "One of the first things they asked was, When do we get to find out who are secret buddy is?" Reed said. "It was a constant question. We've sent out the list and employees are planning get-togethers, thanking each other for the gifts and are just happy to finally put a face and name to their buddy."

Best Banks to Work For, at a glance:

1. Live Oak Bank
2. HomeBanc
3. FirstCapital Bank of Texas
4. Legend Bank
5. Bell Bank
6. Pinnacle Financial Partners
7. The First State Bank
8. First Federal Savings (Pascagoula, Miss.)
9. Benchmark Bank
10. First Internet Bank
11. Veritex Community Bank
12. Peoples Bank
13. Machias Savings Bank
14. Apollo Bank
15. Savings Bank of Walpole
16. Signature Bank (Rosemont, Ill.)
17. Forward Financial Bank
18. Oakworth Capital Bank
19. First Citizens National Bank
20. First Bank & Trust
21. The Westchester Bank
22. 1st Security Bank of Washington
23. Montecito Bank & Trust
24. Prime Meridian Bank
25. Amarillo National Bank
26. Capital City Bank
27. River Bank & Trust
28. First Horizon National Corp.
29. Independence Bank
30. HomeTown Bank
31. Bank of Ann Arbor
32. Mid Penn Bank
33. American Bank of Commerce
34. Chesapeake Bank
35. Bridgewater Bank
36. Community Bank
37. City Bank
38. First Bank Financial Centre
39. Washington Trust Bank
40. 1st Summit Bank
41. River Valley Bank
42. United Community Bank of West Kentucky
43. Civista Bank
44. Origin Bank
45. Heartland Bank
46. First National Bank of Middle Tennessee
47. First Green Bank
48. Kentucky Farmers Bank
49. Evergreen Bank Group
50. BankPlus
51. Centier Bank
52. City National Bank
53. 1st National Bank
54. People's Intermountain Bank
55. Peoples Bank (Munster, Ind.)
56. United Community Bank
57. Athens Federal Community Bank
58. Level One Bank
59. Happy State Bank
60. Allegiance Bank
61. First Premier Bank
62. Old National Bank
63. Bank of Tennessee
64. First United Bank
65. Vista Bank
66. Choice Financial
67. First Busey Corp.
68. Reliant Bank
69. The Muncy Bank and Trust Co.
70. Signature Bank (New York)
71. Zions Bank
72. FirstBank
73. Ally Financial
74. FMB (Farmers & Merchants Bank)
75. Somerset Trust Co.

1. Live Oak Bank

Pictured: Live Oak supports Paws4People — an organization that trains assistance dogs for children, veterans and civilians living with disabilities — and is an official training venue for the puppies.

Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Assets: $1.9 billion
Employees: 406
Chairman and CEO: James "Chip" Mahan
www.liveoakbank.com/

No one wants to be summoned unexpectedly to the boss' office.

And the fact that it was Halloween probably spooked loan officer Kate Groat all the more when she received a call from one of Live Oak Bank's founders asking for an impromptu meeting.

But there was no trouble. Instead Groat was being recruited to serve as the bank's first ever director of philanthropy, a point person for the numerous donation requests the bank receives throughout the year.

That a $2 billion-asset niche bank would need to have a full-time philanthropy executive, and that its leaders knew their employees well enough to tap a lender with no experience in nonprofits for the job, goes a long way toward explaining how Live Oak has topped the list of the best places to work for four years running. Although the bank has been applauded for novel benefits including a dog park and fully paid employee health insurance, Groat said the culture — from the top down — is the perk that has kept her at Live Oak.

"I have never worked at a place with such a commitment to its people and to doing what's right," Groat said. "The team spirit here is amazing."

In her new role, Groat is charged with formalizing the bank's charitable work and centralizing the process of nonprofits seeking both money and volunteers. Live Oak requires its dollars to follow its employees — meaning it will only give to organizations where employees volunteer. Groat has expanded the list by posting new volunteer opportunities in her weekly missive to employees.

So far this year Live Oak has made grants to 24 organizations and sponsored 16 galas, golf tournaments and other events helping organizations across its native Cape Fear region. That's on top of employee volunteer hours and service on nonprofit boards, part of a broader push by the bank to be a catalyst for making the area a better place to live and work.

"It is in the DNA of the bank to be an active part of our community and to give back to the community," Groat said. "It's part of who we are."

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2. HomeBanc

Pictured: At HomeBanc's 6th annual customer golf outing, with LPGA pro Brittany Lincicome.

Location: Tampa, Fla.
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 101
President and CEO: Debra Hanses Novakoski
www.homebanc.com

HomeBanc has tried to create an atmosphere befitting its name, giving customers the comforts of home when they step into a branch. President and CEO Debra Hanses Novakoski believes that environment, and the philosophy behind it, helps make her employees comfortable as well.

HomeBanc's branches trade teller lines for couches and private transaction areas, with a smiling face and the smell of fresh-baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies there to greet customers as they walk through the door. It is part of a familial culture at the bank, where employees are all on a first-name basis and the receptionist has the same health plan and other benefits as the CEO.

Novakoski wants customers to think of their visit to this Tampa, Fla., bank as something to look forward to, and not just another chore. She said she hopes employees are just as excited to come to work.

"When I walk into a branch and see the lobby full of people and both customers and employees are smiling, I know things are going well," she said.

HomeBanc generously rewards success, with no cap on incentives for bringing in new business and an annual stock award program that over the past five years has given employees an average of about 5% of total cash compensation in shares. It is not unheard of for HomeBanc's top sales people to make more than top executives.

Novakoski, who has been with HomeBanc since its inception in 2007, was promoted to CEO in January with cofounder Jerry Campbell staying on as chairman of the board. She said that stability helps keep employees at ease.

"We have the same team in place that we started with ten years ago, with a consistent vision," she said. "Hopefully my title change was a non-event."

3. FirstCapital Bank of Texas

Pictured: A group of FirstCapital's Amarillo employees hosting a Bar-B-Q for the local Chamber of Commerce.

Location: Midland, Texas
Assets: $1 billion
Employees: 196
Chairman: Ken Burgess
www.fcbtexas.com/

FirstCapital Bank of Texas prides itself on open lines of communications between managers and employees. Some of the bank's most recent community initiatives came out of monthly meetings where employees are encouraged to speak their minds.

Employees wanted to volunteer, but found it difficult to find the time. As a result the bank now gives every worker 12 paid volunteer hours per year to use however they'd like.

FirstCapital also has initiated a program that gives all new hires money to put back into a community organization that is important to them. It is a way to introduce new hires to the bank's culture, said Katie Boyd, FirstCapital's marketing manager.

"Our team felt that in order for new team members to understand the importance we all place on community, they needed to be given an exercise at the very beginning of their tenure with us," Boyd said.

Other recent benefit changes that came from the monthly meetings include extending bereavement leave from three paid days off to five paid days off, and allowing an additional 30 minutes for lunch so employees have time to work out.

FirstCapital tries to foster balance between work and home life. All employees have three weeks of paid vacation from day one, and they can earn more time off by winning various wellness contests. The bank also raffles additional vacation days as a way to raise money for local charities.

4. Legend Bank

Pictured: "Legend Loves" photo booths is our Valentine's appreciation tradition to show our love for our employees, customers and the community.

Location: Bowie, Texas
Assets: $618 million
Employees: 146
President and CEO: Mickey Faulconer
www.legend-bank.com

Popular with employees: "Legend Loves" is a Valentine's Day celebration that includes photo booths and treats for employees.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The CEO has been known to cook chili for employees on a cold day.

Fitness/wellness program: Participants in a wellness program can earn points for weight loss and working out. Prizes include extra vacation days and entry into a drawing for a tropical vacation.

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5. Bell Bank

Location: Fargo, N.D.
Assets: $4.4 billion
Employees: 669
President and CEO: Michael Solberg
www.bellbanks.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees get cake for milestone birthdays.

Fitness/wellness program: Bell offers employees access to a personal health coach through an online portal that syncs with Fitbit.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Every year the bank encourages employees to spend time with friends and family with an extra day off they can take at any time and a $200 gift card.

6. Pinnacle Financial Partners

Pictured: Pinnacle associates line up at the home of the Tennessee Titans as they get ready for the team building portion of their three-day orientation session.

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Assets: $20.9 billion
Employees: 2,267
President and CEO: Terry Turner
www.pnfp.com

Fitness/wellness program: Pinnacle provides flu shots, biometric screenings and fitness classes at all locations.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Intranet blogs recognize associate accomplishments, including a "Service Superstars" section where employees publish their own stories and "Peeps Feedback," where coworkers laud each other for a job well done.

Bonus/incentive program: Every employee gets paid a bonus if Pinnacle achieves the "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" that it sets for the year. It achieved the 2016 stretch goal, resulting in $17.9 million paid to associates at all levels.

7. The First State Bank

Pictured: The First State Bank supports Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma's only elementary school for homeless children. Here, several bank employees get ready to celebrate a party for one of the students.

Location: Oklahoma City
Assets: $280 million
Employees: 55
Chairman and CEO: David Durrett
www.thefirstsb.com

Popular with employees: The First State Bank knows how to throw a fun party, including Christmas gatherings where the CEO has been known to show up in a reindeer costume.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Winners of the "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" award get a $100 Visa gift card from their supervisor and recognition in the company newsletter.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees can earn a $250 bonus for referring a family member or friend for a mortgage that closes.

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8. First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Pascagoula-Moss Point

Pictured: First Federal sponsored an employee team in Battle on Buffett Beach, a 5k obstacle race in Pascagoula.

Location: Pascagoula, Miss.
Assets: $302 million
Employees: 55
President and CEO: Weldon D. Perkins
www.firstwithus.com

Popular with employees: All locations close at noon on Wednesdays.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Tuna Tuesdays are a staple of the summer. Employees make tuna salad and all the fixings to share with each other.

Community service initiative: For every $10 employees donate they get an entry for a drawing for an extra half day off.

9. Benchmark Bank

Pictured: Benchmark Bank's annual Crawfish Boil in Austin.

Location: Plano, Texas
Assets: $561 million
Employees: 89
Chairman and CEO: Mike Barnett
www.benchmarkbank.com

Popular with employees: The CEO hosts the bank's annual holiday party at his house.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees in Austin enjoy "bring your pet to work" days, a popular perk in a city where pet lovers abound.

Bonus/incentive program: All employees typically receive an extra month's pay in December as an annual holiday bonus.

10. First Internet Bank

Pictured: Four teams from First IB competed at the 5th annual INHP Trivia Night Fundraiser. Team Cobra Kai's matching headbands showed they meant business.

Location: Fishers, Ind.
Assets: $2 billion
Employees: 195
President and CEO: David Becker
www.firstib.com/

Employee recognition/appreciation program: “First Fridays” celebrations welcome new employees and recognize those celebrating birthdays and milestone anniversaries.

Career development/training program: First Internet offers employees financial planning workshops and access to online financial planning tools.

Bonus/incentive program: The banks pays a $3,000 employee referral bonus for each qualified new hire.

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11. Veritex Community Bank

Pictured: Lender James Landen, who conducted a financial literacy class at the public library in South Dallas for students pursuing their GED, focusing on the importance of personal finance.

Location: Dallas
Assets: $3 billion
Employees: 277
Chairman, president and CEO: C. Malcolm Holland
www.veritexbank.com

Popular with employees: Newlyweds get two extra vacation days that can be used any time during that year.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: For Easter, Veritex delivered marshmallow Peeps to all employees and a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card to all employees, with a note saying "We're Glad You're One of Our Peeps."

Fitness/wellness program: The company added this year a health care concierge service called Compass. One of its features is helping employees review medical bills to ensure they don't over pay.

12. Peoples Bank

Pictured: Peoples Bank paid to have a local food truck come and give employees ice cream sandwiches for an afternoon treat.

Location: Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $441 million
Employees: 111
Chairman and CEO: Larry Allen
www.peoplesbanktexas.com

Popular with employees: The workday ends promptly at 4 p.m. on Fridays.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Restaurant gift cards are given out regularly for exceptional work.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees and their families are invited to an annual day at a local amusement park. Executives are on grill duty during the event.

13. Machias Savings Bank

Pictured: Our Presque Isle branch dressing up during our super hero themed employee appreciation week.

Location: Machias, Maine
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 250
President and CEO: Larry Barker
www.machiassavings.bank

Fitness/wellness program: Employees who shared their wellness goals for the new year were entered into a contest to win a Fitbit. But then Machias Savings surprised the 75 entrants by giving each of them a Fitbit.

Bonus/incentive program: Profit sharing is available to all employees based on bank performance. Last year, workers received 8% of their annual income thanks to the program.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: In addition to their regular vacation and sick leave, employees receive 16 hours of time off each year to spend with their families.

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14. Apollo Bank

Pictured: The 2nd place winners of Apollo's most recent costume competition went the extra mile in making a video showing their Apollo moon mission.

Location: Miami
Assets: $573 million
Employees: 94
Chairman and CEO: Eduardo Arriola
www.apollobank.com

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The "Over the Moon" recognition program awards points based on participation in events or exemplary work. The points are redeemed for electronics, household items and more through an online catalog.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: The annual picnic offers food trucks, bounce houses, clowns and face painting for employees and their families.

Community service initiative: Earlier this year Apollo raised more than $7,500 for Best Buddies, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, through the charity's annual Friendship Walk.

15. Savings Bank of Walpole

Pictured: On of Savings Bank of Walpole's "Pay it Forward" days, staff members bought children's books and brought them to a local daycare center to give away.

Location: Walpole, N.H.
Assets: $391 million
Employees: 85
President & CEO: Gregg Tewksbury
www.walpolebank.com

Popular with employees: About once a quarter, the CEO will host a spontaneous after work "Party for No Reason" that includes food.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Employees receive chair massages, flowers and gifts as part of National Employee Appreciation Day.

Community service initiative: On "Pay it Forward" days workers go out into the community to buy something, such as coffee or lunch, for unsuspecting people or make donations to an organization.

16. Signature Bank

Pictured: Signature Bank ten year anniversary celebration in 2016 at Arlington Racecourse.

Location: Rosemont, Ill.
Assets: $656 million
Employees: 57
President and CEO: Michael O'Rourke
www.signature-bank.com

Popular with employees: At Chicago's Northwest Side Irish Parade, Signature employees hand out candy. They also gather in a branch beforehand for coffee and doughnuts.

Fitness/wellness program: During Lent, employees are challenged to run or walk 100 miles within 40 days.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Santa has been known to show up at the bank's annual holiday party with a wrapped gift for the children of employees.

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17. Forward Financial Bank

Pictured: Creating fun ways to keep Forward Financial's employees engaged with customers.

Location: Marshfield, Wis.
Assets: $397 million
Employees: 118
President & CEO: Bill Sennholz
www.forward.bank

Popular with employees: The Fun Committee organizes monthly employee events, including Halloween costume and ugly Christmas sweater contests and theme days tied to March Madness.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: During the month of their birthday, employees receive four additional hours of time off.

Bonus/incentive program: To reward great work, managers can award employees with $5 to $25 in credits toward the purchase of logo apparel and promotional items.

18. Oakworth Capital Bank

Pictured: Administrative Appreciation Day — All administrative associates were served breakfast by the Oakworth managers and other associates.

Location: Birmingham, Ala.
Assets: $516 million
Employees: 70
CEO: Scott B. Reed
www.oakworthcapital.com

Popular with employees: For an annual Thanksgiving feast, everyone contributes a side dish and the bank provides the turkey.

Fitness/wellness program: Early next year, Oakworth Capital is moving into a new office building adjacent to a walking trail. Locker rooms with showers will be available for employees to use after exercising.

Community service initiative: The bank aligns its charitable giving with nonprofits where its employees volunteer.

19. First Citizens National Bank

Pictured: First Citizens sponsors United Way of West Tennessee's First Ladies Luncheon, which brings women together to give a voice to issues important to women & families in local neighborhoods.

Location: Dyersburg, Tenn.
Assets: $1.6 billion
Employees: 339
Chairman and CEO: Jeff Agee
www.FirstCNB.com

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The CEO hosts an annual catered lunch honoring employees who have reached milestone work anniversaries. Honorees are presented with cash bonuses of up to $3,500.

Career development/training program: The bank offers in-person training for new hires and on a continuing basis focused on soft skills to assist employees in interacting with people at work and in their personal lives.

Community service initiative: Employees who donate one hour of pay per month to the United Way earn an extra day off during the year. For two hours of pay per month, they receive two days off.

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20. First Bank & Trust

Pictured: Dave Waligoske, CEO of Fishback Financial, the holding company of First Bank & Trust, presents its 2016 spirit award to Marissa Brinkman during a luncheon in her honor.

Location: Brookings and Sioux Falls, S.D.
Assets: $2.2 billion
Employees: 543
President and CEO: Kevin Tetzlaff (Brookings bank unit) and Brian Thompson (Sioux Falls bank unit)
www.bankeasy.com

Fitness/wellness program: Each year the bank hosts a 5K for employees and their families that raises money for charity. The location for the race rotates every year, allowing employees to spotlight their towns.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The "Be the 1" program provides cash rewards for employees who think on their feet and make decisions. Coworkers and customers can submit stories of staff members taking initiative.

Community service initiative: The Community Brigade program authorizes employees to provide up to $150 to a person in need, reimbursed by the company.

21. The Westchester Bank

Pictured: Westchester Bank team members participating in the Annual Corporate Fun Run, benefitting Swim Across America.

Location: White Plains, N.Y.
Assets: $709 million
Employees: 65
President & CEO: John M. Tolomer
www.thewestchesterbank.com

Popular with employees: The Westchester Bank sponsors an annual fun run complete with food and drinks for employees who participate.

Career development/training program: New hires go to career development meetings to help them identify and reach their goals.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: New moms and dads get up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

22. 1st Security Bank of Washington

Pictured: 1st Security Bank hosted an employee night at the ballpark for Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners.

Location: Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
Assets: $878 million
Employees: 314
CEO: Joe Adams
www.fsbwa.com

Popular with employees: Free snacks, soda and fruit are always available at 1st Security's main office.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The foosball table is a gathering spot toward the end of the workday and on Fridays.

Community service initiative: All employees are offered 16 hours of paid leave annually to use for volunteer work.

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23. Montecito Bank & Trust

Pictured: A group photo from Montecito's Up Close & Musical event.

Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Assets: $1.3 billion
Employees: 212
Chairman and CEO: Janet Garufis
www.montecito.bank

Popular with employees: Thanks to feedback from its employee engagement survey, Montecito now offers 15 days of annual vacation time upon hire.

Bonus/incentive program: Once employees have 10 years of service or a vice president title, they receive phantom stock options in the privately held bank.

Community service initiative: Employee volunteers teach classes for the bank's Fun in the Sun" financial literacy program every summer.

24. Prime Meridian Bank

Pictured: Nothing like a fast, friendly game of Jeopardy to test each team member's knowledge of banking, history and bank culture. The game was developed by team members and played during Prime Meridian's annual inservice day.

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $315 million
Employees: 66
President & CEO: Sammie Dixon
www.TryMyBank.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees developed a version of "Jeopardy!," complete with buzzers and a game board, that tests knowledge of the industry and bank culture. It is played during the company's annual in-service day.

Career development/training program: At an event last year, author and motivational speaker Don Yaeger discussed the importance of knowing the "why" behind what employees do.

Communication tool/practice: Employees who work closely together meet weekly to discuss an assigned culture topic. A different coworker hosts each meeting to encourage leadership, diversity and openness.

25. Amarillo National Bank

Pictured: As part of Amarillo National's 125th anniversary, the bank gave $5,000 to local fire departments for their "chow fund."

Location: Amarillo, Texas
Assets: $3.9 billion
Employees: 674
Chairman and president: Richard Ware
www.anb.com

Popular with employees: At Christmas, the owners of Amarillo National donate $100 to a charity of each employee's choosing.

Fitness/wellness program: Employees can earn cash and days off by regularly visiting one of the bank's two health clubs. Those who log 44 days per quarter are eligible for $1,300 and two days off.

Bonus/incentive program: Full and part-time employees receive get two weeks' pay and $700 at Christmas that is delivered by Santa.

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26. Capital City Bank

Pictured: Capital City Bankers celebrated Independence Day with small town parades, 5k runs and fireworks displays.

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Assets: $2.9 billion
Employees: 839
Chairman, president and CEO: Bill Smith
www.ccbg.com

Popular with employees: Last year Capital City started giving employees financial assistance for food and other related expenses when severe weather forces them to evacuate the area.

Fitness/wellness program: Starting this year, the bank will reimburse employees the cost of gym memberships, as well as weight loss and tobacco cessation programs.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Each year, the Godfrey Smith Award, named after a former CEO, recognizes an employee who best exemplifies the bank's mission, and the Julian V. Smith Award, named after a founding board member, to an associate who excels in volunteerism.

27. River Bank & Trust

Pictured: River Bank & Trust announces its annual employee contribution to the River Region United Way.

Location: Prattville, Ala.
Assets: $809 million
Employees: 135
CEO: Jimmy Stubbs
www.riverbankandtrust.com

Popular with employees: River Bank has a tradition of having employees hired in the past year team up to do a comical skit at the annual Christmas party.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: A quarterly $100 prize goes to the employee who offers the best suggestion to either make the bank a better place to work or how to improve customer service.

Community service initiative: River hosts local blood drives as part of each branches' annual customer appreciation day.

28. First Horizon National Corp.

Pictured: First Horizon says that giving back to the communities that have made them successful has been part of how they define themselves since the company was founded in 1864.

Location: Memphis, Tenn.
Assets: $29.4 billion
Employees: 4,366
Chairman, president and CEO: D. Bryan Jordan
www.fhnc.com

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Employees can send a few sentences praising a colleague using "Firstpower Lines" on the company's intranet site.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: First Horizon recently expanded its parental leave policy, boosting fully paid maternal leave from six weeks to eight weeks. Adoptive, foster and surrogate parents and domestic partners and spouses can take a month of fully paid leave, an increase from one week.

Sustainability initiative: The company recycled 808,590 pounds of paper last year.

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29. Independence Bank

Pictured: Employees and their guests enjoy a free private concert featuring Collective Soul at the 2016 Christmas Party.

Location: Owensboro, Ky.
Assets: $2.1 billion
Employees: 362
President and CEO: Chris Reid
www.1776bank.com

Popular with employees: Independence gives employees the day off for their birthdays.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Last year employees and their guests were entertained by '90s rock band Collective Soul at the bank's Christmas Party.

Community service imitative: Employees participating in the bank's "Buzz Program" can win upwards of $25,000 for completing community service projects, with part of the winnings split among workers and part going back to the community. Last year Independence awarded more than $120,000 through the program at its annual meeting.

30. HomeTown Bank

Pictured: HomeTown Bank employees from its Westlake branch participated in the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce's Annual Chili Festival.

Location: Roanoke, Va.
Assets: $534 million
Employees: 109
President and CEO: Susan Still
www.hometownbank.com

Popular with employees: HomeTown's branches hosts community days where employees and customers can enjoy face painting, kettle corn and prize giveaways. The bank's mascot, Homer the Pig, also makes an appearance, to amp up the fun.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank periodically hosts lunch-and-learns on topics like stress management, improving credit scores, healthy living, holiday spending and caring for elderly parents.

Career development/training program: Last year all employees went through a hands-on diversity training program in small groups. Topics included breaking away from stereotypes and awareness of preconceived opinions.

31. Bank of Ann Arbor

Pictured: Tim Marshall, President and CEO of Arbor Bancorp and Bank of Ann Arbor.

Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Assets: $1.5 billion
Employees: 218
President and CEO: Timothy Marshall
www.boaa.com

Popular with employees: Employees send in photos and stories about loved ones who served in the military to be honored on Veteran's Day. The stories are posted to the bank's social media accounts.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The bank tailgates every home University of Michigan football game using its 1977 Volkswagen Bus, named Olivia, and inviting employees and customers to enjoy food, drinks and impromptu football games of their own.

Fitness/wellness program: Employees and their spouses receive a free activity tracker for participating in the bank's wellness program.

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32. Mid Penn Bank

Pictured: Employees trying their luck at one of the activities provided at the Mid Penn's annual employee award and recognition event, The WAVE Awards.

Location: Millersburg, Pa.
Assets: $1.07 billion
Employees: 261
President and CEO: Rory Ritrievi
www.midpennbank.com

Popular with employees: The CEO and other members of the leadership team visit every branch and department during the holidays to deliver a gift to each employee in person.

Career development/training program: The "Rising Stars" program identifies and provides mentoring to employees interested in rising up the ranks, including individualized development plans authored by participants and their managers.

Bonus/incentive program: Teller mentors receive a monetary bonus for providing on-the-job training for new hires.

33. American Bank of Commerce

Pictured: Together with Foster Angels of Central Texas and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ABC held a financial literacy class for eight teenagers transitioning out of foster care.

Location: Wolfforth, Texas
Assets: $879.5 million
Employees: 172
CEO: Powell Thompson
www.theabcbank.com

Popular with employees: American recently added a program that allows employees can borrow up to $5,000 without interest.

Fitness/wellness program: The winner of a walking challenge earns an extra day off.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The Shooting Star recognition program spotlights workers who go out of their way for customers. Each month two employees get a $100 bonus.

34. Chesapeake Bank

Pictured: Kick Off Meeting 2017 — All Chesapeake Bank employees get together annually to hear the strategic plan and the organizational goals.

Location: Kilmarnock, Va.
Assets: $740 million
Employees: 208
Chairman, President and CEO: Jeffrey Szyperski
www.chesbank.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees can form teams and get bank-provided T-shirts to participate in some of the various walks, 5ks and bike races that Chesapeake sponsors.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: The bank added pet insurance this year to help ensure its benefit package is diverse enough to appeal to all employees.

Career development/training program: By year's end Chesapeake hopes to incorporate a student loan repayment program into its benefits package in an attempt to become more attractive to recent college graduates.

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35. Bridgewater Bank

Pictured: Bridgewater employees going zip-lining together during a health and wellness outing.

Location: Bloomington, Minn.
Assets: $1.35 billion
Employees: 103
Chairman, President and CEO: Jerry Baack
www.bridgewaterbankmn.com

Popular with employees: The bank keeps a supply of craft beers made by its brewery customers at every branch. There is also a cold-press coffee keg on tap at headquarters.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Bridgewater throws a party every year on Nicollet Island in downtown Minneapolis. In 2016, it treated more than 1,000 customers, prospects, shareholders, employees and guests to live music and food.

Fitness/wellness program: A health and wellness committee tries to keep fitness fun, offering activities including a zip lining trip and weekly volleyball games and hosting group cooking classes. There is also weekly fitness offerings at each branch including yoga and kettlebell classes.

36. Community Bank

Pictured: Community Bank's Forest office participated in their local community festival where their booth was Ghostbusters themed. The "Wingbusters" took first place in the "Most Spirited Booth" category and 2nd in the wing cooking competition.

Location: Brandon, Miss.
Assets: $2.9 billion
Employees: 716
Senior chairman: Thomas Colbert
www.communitybank.net

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Promotions and praise from customers and coworkers are highlighted on the bank's intranet page.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees are given three paid hours a week for dealing with personal needs, such as attending children's functions and family events.

Community service initiative: Community Bank hosts an annual law enforcement appreciation day where officers are invited out for lunch and someone is selected as the law enforcement officer of the year.

37. City Bank

Pictured: Employees from City Bank's Ruidoso, N.M., decorated the branch and dressed up as characters from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for Halloween.

Location: Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 639
President and CEO: Cory Newsom
www.citybankonline.com

Popular with employees: The HOPE Fund – its name is short for Helping Our People in Emergencies – is supported by voluntary employee contributions matched by the bank. More than $1.2 million has been disbursed to employees in time of need.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: After-work gatherings include bowling, basketball and volleyball tournaments, casino nights, Easter-egg hunts and golf nights at a local driving range.

Community service initiative: In the wake of the shootings of five police officers in Dallas in July 2016, employees at nearby locations showed their support of their hometown force by wearing Back the Blue/Pray for Dallas T-shirts.

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38. First Bank Financial Centre

Pictured: Branch toy drive donations for Kids 2 Kids at Christmas.

Location: Oconomowoc, Wis.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 345
President and CEO: Mark Mohr
www.fbfcwi.com

Popular with employees: A themed potluck dinner is held every Friday in December for employees, with the bank covering the cost of the main course.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: A cookout for all employees takes place on opening day of the baseball season.

Community service initiatives: During the holidays, branches host toy drives to benefit a local charity called Kids 2 Kids.

39. Washington Trust Bank

Pictured: Washington Trust Bank employees spend time reading to elementary students at Adams Elementry.

Location: Spokane, Wash.
Assets: $5.6 billion
Employees: 941
Chairman and CEO: Peter Stanton
www.watrust.com

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees do not have to use paid time off to cover doctor or dental visits for themselves or family members.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The "You've Been Caught" program is a peer-nominated program that recognizes others within the bank for their contributions. Awards include paid time off, gift cards and cash.

Community service initiative: Washington Trust employees participate in "guerilla marketing" campaigns in the community by participating in cash mobs, helping the elderly with yardwork and doing other good deeds on company time.

40. 1st Summit Bank

Pictured: 1st Summit's annual Halloween costume day had characters from Willy Wonka, 101 Dalmatians, and cameos made by Edward Scissorhands, several penguins, and more.

Location: Johnstown, Pa.
Assets: $986 million
Employees: 178
President and CEO: Elmer Laslo
www.1stsummit.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: 1st Summit takes an annual trip to Pittsburgh to catch a Pirates game at PNC Park. Snacks and drinks are provided on the chartered buses, and employees are given money to spend at the stadium.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: The bank's foundation has given money to 58 employees who have had medical or financial hardships and awarded 102 scholarships to employees and their children.

Communication tool/practice: No employee is a stranger to Elmer Laslo, the bank's president and CEO. Laslo knows everyone by name and makes a point every year to send a birthday card and a small present. He also sends a personalized anniversary letter to each employee.

Related: At this bank, engagement starts with the CEO

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41. River Valley Bank

Pictured: River Valley was a title sponsor of the Loop Around The Lake, a 5K candlelit event on Lake Minocqua with food and a bonfire, culminating in the illumination of wish lanterns.

Location: Wausau, Wis.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 257
President and CEO: Todd W. Nagel
www.rivervalleybank.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: For the past two years, River Valley has sponsored a spa day, with employees being treated to hand massages and warm neck wraps.

Community service initiative: Every semester, local college students are mentored as part of an entrepreneurial skills accelerator program. Students are assigned a particular problem to solve. This past year, the bank asked them to develop a retention program for its millennial employees.

Sustainability initiative: Office printers are being phased out.

42. United Community Bank of West Kentucky

Pictured: United Community's Sturgis branch participated in the annual Halloween costume contest, dressed as M&M's.

Location: Morganfield, Ky.
Assets: $241 million
Employees: 55
CEO: Garland Certain
www.ucbwest.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: As part of the local holiday parade, the bank staffers dressed up like members of the Griswold clan from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A golf cart was decorated to look like the family's station wagon.

Fitness/wellness program: At no cost to employees, United Community offers air ambulance insurance.

Communication tool/practice: Each week, cleverly called "Johnny Notes" are posted in the bank's restrooms with educational material about banking and other interesting facts.

43. Civista Bank

Pictured: At Civista's annual volunteer day, employees pitched in at the local wildlife rescue facility.

Location: Sandusky, Ohio
Assets: $1.6 billion
Employees: 344
Chairman and CEO: James Miller
www.civistabank.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Each year, Civista treats its employees and their immediate family members to a paid outing and lunch at either Cedar Point or Kings Island amusement parks.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees who refer an applicant hired by the bank can get up to $200 if the new person stays for at least six months.

Community service initiative: The bank financially supports a local historic landmark performing arts center, Sandusky State Theatre, where Civista employees regularly volunteer.

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44. Origin Bank

Pictured: Origin Bank's Dallas team used "project enrich" hours to volunteer with the Grow South Dallas project.

Location: Ruston, La.
Assets: $4.1 billion
Employees: 657
Chairman, President and CEO: Drake Mills
www.origin.bank

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: From going to baseball games to bowling to renting out the theater on opening night of the latest "Star Wars" movie, Origin Bank likes to mix things up when it plans employee outings.

Bonus/incentive program: For each mortgage loan application referral, employees get $10. If the loan is approved and processed, they get another $90.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees have access to benefit advocate services to help them file insurance claims or sort through benefits options.

45. Heartland Bank

Pictured: The theme for American Cancer Society's 2016 Relay for Life was Hawaiian. Heartland Bank managers had a hula skirt fund raising competition, with those collecting the most donations required to wear a grass skirt the entire day.

Location: Geneva, Neb.
Assets: $387 million
Employees: 79
Chairman, President and CEO: John C. Wilkins
www.myheartland.bank

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Each April, bank managers thank employees for their hard work by treating them to an annual luncheon.

Communication tool/practice: Three times a year, bank leaders and their direct reports have one-on-one meetings to discuss goals, roadblocks and other work topics.

Community service initiative: The bank provides two scholarship programs, one for students seeking any degree in agricultural sciences or natural resources and the other for high school graduates who live in Fillmore County, Neb., where the bank's offices are headquartered. This year, the former program awarded $1,500 each to 12 students, and the latter program gave four students $1,139 each.

46. First National Bank of Middle Tennessee

Pictured: Employees and families were invited to join a Kayaking trip down the Barron Fork River.

Location: McMinnville, Tenn.
Assets: $496 million
Employees: 125
President and CEO: Pieter van Vuuren
www.fnbmt.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: First National employees and their families go kayaking and canoeing on the Barren Fork River.

Career development/training program: Through the Tennessee Bankers Association, employees enter a two-year banking school program. One week each year, the management-selected employees join others to run through simulations.

Community service initiative: Employees raise money for the American Heart Association by selling homemade desserts like apple cobbler at summer concerts downtown.

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47. First Green Bank

Location: Orlando, Fla.
Assets: $578 million
Employees: 106
President and CEO: Keith Costello
www.firstgreenbank.com

Popular with employees: First Green gives employees loans with zero interest for electric or hybrid cars.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Once a year, the bank brings in massage therapists for all employees.

Sustainability initiative: The branch in Mount Dora, Fla., has a living wall to increase clean air in the building. The branch's toilets use rainwater, too.

48. Kentucky Farmers Bank

Pictured: KFB employees filling backpacks destined for local elementary students-in-need as part of the Ashland Alliance Young Professionals Back Pack Program.

Location: Ashland, Ky.
Assets: $181 million
Employees: 64
Chairman and CEO: April Perry
www.kentuckyfarmersbank.com

Fitness/wellness program: The "Get Fit" program encourages exercise, losing weight and quitting tobacco. Cash prizes are awarded.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Employees receive one-time bonuses of $100 after 10 years of service; $400 after 20 years; and $900 after 30 years.

Community service initiative: The bank participates in a local program that ensures each elementary school student in need receives school supplies and at least one new outfit.

49. Evergreen Bank Group

Pictured: A group of Evergreen employees enjoying a holiday party held at Maggiano's restaurant in Oak Brook.

Location: Oak Brook, Ill.
Assets: $802 million
Employees: 127
President and CEO: Darin Campbell
www.evergreenbankgroup.com

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Employees receive on-the-spot gift cards or cash for going above and beyond their duties.

Career development/training program: A management trainee program gives recent college graduates a chance to work with senior managers.

Community service initiative: The retail banking team teaches financial literacy classes to Chicago Public Schools students and their parents.

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50. BankPlus

Pictured: The winning photo in BankPlus' Vacation Pen Contest of Summer 2016, submitted by an employee vacationing on Kiawah Island, S.C.

Location: Ridgeland, Miss.
Assets: $2.77 billion
Employees: 731
President and CEO: William Ray
www.bankplus.net/

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: BankPlus' pen is a staple of the bank's marketing. The bank holds a contest where employees can win up to $250 dollars for taking a vacation picture that includes the pen.

Career development/training program: Executives recommend employees to participate in a two-year program with The Mississippi School of Banking.

Communication tool/practice: BankPlus has a portal where employees can anonymously submit ideas about efficiency and productivity. An executive committee reviews the ideas for their strategic value, while an employee committee assesses their feasibility.

51. Centier Bank

Pictured: Centier Bank associates participating in the United Way "What Floats Your Boat" race. The cardboard boat seen above was hand-made by a member of the bank's Property Management team.

Location: Merrillville, Ind.
Assets: $3.6 billion
Employees: 801
President and CEO: Mike Schrage
www.centier.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Once a week, Centier has a manicurist, masseuse and reflexologist at its corporate headquarters. The services are offered at a discounted rate.

Fitness/wellness program: A 2,200-square-foot fitness center at the bank's headquarters has workout programs led by personal trainers.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: On their 25th anniversary at the bank, employees become members of the Quarter Century Club, which goes out for dinner and a play in Chicago annually.

52. City National Bank

Pictured: CNB team members showed their support for the victims and families of the Pulse nightclub shooting by wearing "#OrlandoStrong" custom-made t-shirts.

Location: Miami
Assets: $8.52 billion
Employees: 552
President and CEO: Jorge Gonzalez
www.citynational.com

Fitness/wellness program: Employees can have their eyes examined at work and receive a credit to buy glasses.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: City National helps its employees during important times in their lives. For a new home, birth of a child or adoption, employees are given $1,800. For a death in an employee's family, the bank offers $1,300.

52. City National Bank: Bank employees in branches across Florida wore "#OrlandoStrong" to show support for the victims and families of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The bank also donated $10,000 to the OneOrlando Fund and matched employee donations.

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53. 1st National Bank

Pictured: An attempt to build the tallest tower out of marshmallows and noodles during 1st National's annual team day.

Location: Berlin, Wis.
Assets: $424 million
Employees: 110
President and CEO: Eric Cerbins
www.myfirstnational.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: As part of a team-building effort, the bank hosts paint nights with local artists teaching employees how to channel their creativity.

Career development/training program: Employees can sign up for a 12-week Principles of Banking course taught by the bank's executives.

Sustainability initiative: All of the bank's branches recycle paper, glass aluminum and toner cartridges. Most of the branches have installed water coolers to cut back on plastic water bottles.

54. People's Intermountain Bank (Bank of American Fork and Lewiston State Bank)

Pictured: Employees and community members participate in Project Teddy Bear to help local crisis centers.

Location: American Fork, Utah
Assets: $1.7 billion
Employees: 438
CEO: Richard Beard
www.pi.bank

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Supervisors recognize employees through a program called Gotcha, short for "great opportunities to catch high-performing associates." Gift cards, movie coupons and other prizes are given to reward outstanding performance or just to express gratitude.

Communication tool/practice: Employees can suggest improvements anonymous through the bank's intranet. The suggestions are sent to a supervisor in the appropriate department.

Community service initiative: For more than 15 years, staffers have donated teddy bears to Utah crisis centers for at-risk children through a program called "Project Teddy Bear." The bank estimates that its employees have donated more than 100,000 stuffed animals to the centers.

55. Peoples Bank

Pictured: Peoples Bank employees take a break from collecting electronic devices during the eRecycle Day.

Location: Munster, Ind.
Assets: $898 million
Employees: 211
President and CEO: Benjamin Bochnowski
www.ibankpeoples.com

Popular with employees: New employees are given clothing with the bank's logo to last through a five-day workweek. Every year, employees receive a new voucher to update their company gear. Those who work on Saturdays also get a polo shirt from the bank in a color of their choosing.

Fitness/wellness program: The CEO, who is training for his 10th marathon, avidly supports the bank's walkathons that raise money for community groups. He also pushes for healthy food options at meetings.

Community service initiative: Each year a committee of employees brainstorms fundraising ideas and picks charities to support. Last year, employees donated $38,000 to a handful of groups and the bank matched the amount.

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56. United Community Bank

Pictured: United's Snellville, Ga., location provided refreshments and tomato plants to customers on Customer Appreciation Day.

Location: Blairsville, Ga.
Assets: $10.7 billion
Employees: 1,940
President and CEO: Lynn Harton
www.ucbi.com

Employee recognition/appreciation program: Managers are given autonomy in planning employee appreciation week celebrations. This way, employees in different branches and departments receive gifts based on their tastes—from spa services to gift cards.

Community service/initiative: United Community has a junior board of directors program that allows high school seniors to experience what it is like to be a banker. The junior board meets regularly to learn about the financial system and choose service projects to get involved in.

Sustainability initiative: All bank units converted to LED lighting this year.

57. Athens Federal Community Bank

Pictured: The Athens Federal team enjoying a quarterly, all-employee field day – an evening dedicated to team-building.

Location: Athens, Tenn.
Assets: $456 million
Employees: 120
President and CEO: Jeff Cunningham
www.athensfederal.com

Popular with employees: While jeans are acceptable on Friday at many banks, Athens Federal occasionally lets employees wear them on Thursdays if they donate money to a charity.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: At each quarterly celebration, three employees are honored.

Communication tool/practice: Data helps the Hoopla team track its progress with maintaining employee morale.

58. Level One Bank

Pictured: Employee members of the bank's 'Level One Cash Mob' give away cash and t-shirts to support small businesses and encourage others to shop local.

Location: Farmington Hills, Mich.
Assets: $1.17 billion
Employees: 214
President and CEO: Patrick Fehring
www.levelonebank.com

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Level One brings in professionals to teach holiday card making workshops offered around Valentine's Day.

Fitness/wellness program: Level One's wellness committee, L1Fit, provides weekly wellness tips in an employee newsletter and organizes walks.

Career development/training program: In 2016, the bank introduced a paid professional development internship program designed for individuals looking to rejoin the workforce following a hiatus.

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59. Happy State Bank

Pictured: Happy State employees participate in four-wheeler excursions during an officer retreat.

Location: Happy, Texas
Assets: $3.1 billion
Employees: 675
CEO: J. Pat Hickman
www.happybank.com

Career development/training program: Every Happy State employee is given a membership to RightNow Media, an extension of RightNow ministries. It is a self-paced, faith-based learning system that includes study guides in areas such as finance, marriage and parenting.

Bonus/incentive program: Long-term officers have been able to pay for college tuition, weddings, vacations and, in one case, a brand-new red Corvette, with earnings from the Officers Stock Appreciation Rights program.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees are encouraged and expected to take off time for their children's events.

60. Allegiance Bank

Location: Houston
Assets: $2.6 billion
Employees: 335
Chairman: Steve Retzloff
www.allegiancebank.com

Popular with employees: Allegiance has a picnic for its employees and their families every October. The bank serves burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets for the kids. There is also pumpkin painting and a magic show. Last year, 224 people attended.

Fitness/wellness program: Cash prizes go to the three employees who drop the most weight in a contest. Participants have improved their eating habits, and some have achieved dramatic weight loss.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: Employees get two extra paid days off when they get married.

61. First Premier Bank

Pictured: First Premier Bank and PREMIER Bankcard are the title sponsor for JacksBash, a weekend long celebration to open the new Dana J. Dykhouse Football Stadium on the campus of South Dakota State University.

Location: Sioux Falls, S.D.
Assets: $1.6 billion
Employees: 359
CEO: Dana Dykhouse
www.firstpremier.com

Popular with employees: To mark the opening of the Dana J. Dykhouse Football Stadium at South Dakota State University last year, the bank sponsored Jacks Bash, a weekend celebration including a concert with One Republic and Andy Grammer. All employees got two tickets and $50 to spend on concessions. The long-term ones got preferred seats and met the stars.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: To psych employees up for a core systems conversion, First Premier sponsored an event at a local corn maze that featured pro bull riders and prizes including a trip to Las Vegas. Employees were also given "Who Moved My Cheese?" a book about dealing with changes at work.

Community service initiative: With a $1 million contribution, the bank is the largest backer of a $15.5 million fund for Forward Sioux Falls, an economic development program.

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62. Old National Bank

Pictured: Old National associates held a Disability Awareness Day at their headquarters in Evansville, Ind.

Location: Evansville, Ind.
Assets: $14.9 billion
Employees: 2,769
Chairman and CEO: Bob Jones
www.oldnational.com

Career development/training program: In an effort to become a leader in disability employment, Old National covers the tuition for American Sign Language classes for employees.

Communication tool/practice: The CEO keeps an open-door policy for employees spread out over four states with an "Ask Bob" portal on the bank's intranet.

Community service initiative: For the past seven years, Old National has sponsored 100 Men Who Cook, where local business folks compete for the title of top chef. The event has raised $4 million for more than 30 different nonprofits.

63. Bank of Tennessee

Pictured: Bank of Tennessee's Chief Encouragement Officer, Bill E. Goat, makes a special appearance.

Location: Kingsport, Tenn.
Assets: $1.1 billion
Employees: 261
Chairman and CEO: Roy L. Harmon Jr.
www.bankoftennessee.com

Popular with employees: Bank of Tennessee throws a party for its employees and their families when it hits its quarterly earnings goals. If it meets its third quarter targets, the bank is planning a party at a corn maze.

Wellness program: Last year, 50 people participated in the bank's, 'Pound for Pound,' program. For each pound lost, a pound of dog food was donated to the nearby pet shelter. The employees lost more than 600 pounds combined in three months.

Community Initiative: Employees can donate money through their payroll to United Way and can earn additional paid time off for donating. Bank of Tennessee also makes donations to the organization.

64. First United Bank

Pictured: Members of First United's holding company, Plains Bancorp, deliver Christmas presents to a family at a local hospital.

Location: Lubbock, Texas
Assets: $1.2 billion
Employees: 231
CEO: R. Mark Bain
www.FirstUnited.net

Popular with employees: The CEO sends employees a card and a Sonic Drive-In gift card for their birthday.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: During the week of Thanksgiving, all 15 branches host a meal for employees and their families. The bank covers the turkey and sides, while employees are encouraged to bring dessert.

Family-friendly benefit/practice: First United gives newlyweds additional leave. The amount is based on their tenure at the bank.

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65. Vista Bank

Pictured: Vista Bank's Dallas/Fort Worth outreach team at the 2017 Color Run in Dallas, which benefited the North Texas Food Bank.

Location: Ralls, Texas
Assets: $444.2 million
Employees: 96
CEO: John Steinmetz
www.vistabank.com

Popular with employees: Employees can earn days off and gift cards by participating in the bank's volunteer program, called Vista Outreach.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Employees at branches with a Sonic Drive-In nearby are treated to limeades and other icy drinks every Thursday for relief from the Texas heat.

Bonus/incentive program: Vista Bank gives employees a bonus equal to half a month's salary every December.

66. Choice Financial

Pictured: Choice Financial's 2016 Corporate Cup Team — Competes against other organizations for the wellness pride of the community.

Location: Grand Forks, N.D.
Assets: $1.2 billion
Employees: 248
CEO: Brian Johnson
www.choicefinancialgroup.com

Bonus/incentive program: Two employees who win its peer-to-peer awards receive a GMC Denali to drive for a year. The license plates are CFGVIP and CFGVIP1, for Choice Financial Group VIP. The bank also covers the insurance and taxes on the car.

Communication tool/practice: All meeting rooms have video conferencing and all desks have video phones so employees in various locations can see each other.

Community service initiative: Employees can volunteer during work hours, and there is no limit on how many hour they can have covered.

67. First Busey Corp.

Pictured: First Busey's annual associates' meeting featured a photo booth with costumes and props.

Location: Champaign, Ill.
Assets: $5.4 billion
Employees: 1,167
President and CEO: Van Dukeman
www.busey.com

Popular with employees: At last year's annual meeting, First Busey awarded an all-expense-paid trip to Disney World to three employees.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank's "B Well" Program has helped 84% of associates make positive lifestyle changes. In 2016, employees who completed several health and wellness challenges could earn an extra day off.

Career development/training program: In 2017, Busey partnered with the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis to train managers on various aspects of diversity and strategies for being more inclusive.

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68. Reliant Bank

Pictured: Reliant Bank employees turn out to support the NHL's Predators on Stanley Cup Friday.

Location: Brentwood, Tenn.
Assets: $961.3 million
Employees: 128
President and CEO: DeVan Ard Jr.
www.reliantbank.com

Popular with employees: At Reliant, every Friday is jeans day. Co-workers also bring in goodies to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and work anniversaries.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: The "Yay of the Day" email, recognizing employees who exceed expectations with services, sales or good deeds.

Career development/training program: The bank hosts personal development and stress management workshops. The events are held at various branches, vendors provide lunch and speakers discuss different topics like saving money and couponing.

69. The Muncy Bank and Trust Co.

Location: Muncy, Pa.
Assets: $396.4 million
Employees: 95
Chairman, President and CEO: Robert Glunk
www.MuncyBank.com

Popular with employees: Muncy hosts an annual picnic at a park each summer, with retirees invited. Activities for kids include a piñata.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The bank gives employees tickets to the county fair and the local arts center.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees who send a referral to its investment adviser receive $25.

70. Signature Bank

Pictured: 2016 Bowling Night

Location: New York
Assets: $40.3 billion
Employees: 1,247
President and CEO: Joseph DePaolo
www.signatureny.com

Popular with employees: Every spring about 700 employees participate in a walking challenge. For five weeks, they log their steps, and enter a weekly raffle to win Fitbits, Amazon Kindles and T-shirts. An Apple Watch is the grand prize.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: Signature hosts Ping-Pong event with a professional table-tennis player. There is also a tournament and the winners get trophies.

Bonus/incentive program: All employees are eligible bonuses based on factors like production and behavior.

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71. Zions Bank

Pictured: Zions Bank executives prepare food for those in need at the Catholic Community Services Evening Meal Program in Salt Lake City.

Location: Salt Lake City
Assets: $65.5 billion
Employees: 1,777
President and CEO: A. Scott Anderson
www.zionsbank.com

Popular with employees: In 2016, more than 1,000 Zions employees and families attended the 26th annual Paint-a-Thon project, where they painted the homes of low-income, elderly and disabled people.

Fitness/wellness program: The bank held five health expos at different locations in Utah last October. Employees had their blood pressure and vision checked and their body fat and spinal health screened.

Bonus/incentive program: Employees get referral bonuses for getting friends and family to sign up for various products and services at the bank. Employees on average generate an additional $1,000 in compensation, but there is no limit.

72. FirstBank

Pictured: A group at FirstBank's All Associate baseball game in Nashville, Tenn. Everyone received FirstBank themed baseball shirts and had access to a full buffet with free drinks and entertainment.

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Assets: $3.3 billion
Employees: 1,121
CEO and President: Christopher T. Holmes
www.firstbankonline.com

Popular with employees: FirstBank offers monthly yoga classes at its headquarters in Nashville.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The bank sponsors an annual outing to a Nashville ballpark for employees and their families. Attendees get FirstBank shirts and everyone sits in the same section.

Fitness/wellness program: The Teladoc service allows employees to get remote medical care for free.

73. Ally Financial

Pictured: Ally employees shows support for its LGTB neighbors and colleagues at the Charlotte Pride Parade.

Location: Detroit
Assets: $162.6 billion
Employees: 7,539
CEO: Jeff Brown
www.ally.com

Popular with employees: Employees like Ally's emphasis on wellness through its fitness centers at various offices and sit-to-stand and treadmill workstations. Some offices also have walking paths.

Activity to relieve stress/promote fun: The bank hosts holiday-themed potlucks, ugly sweater contests and events where employees wear their favorite team jerseys to work.

Career development/training program: Offers a three-year auto leadership development program where new employees learn various aspects of auto finance. Ally also offers similar programs in finance and accounting.

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74. FMB (Farmers & Merchants Bank)

Pictured: FMB's Scott Gaby and Patti Evans participate in one of the blood drives the banks holds in all three of its communities.

Location: Monticello, Fla.
Assets: $466 million
Employees: 104
President and CEO: Ian Donkin
www.FMBBank.com

Popular with employees: FMB often buys lunch for employees throughout the year, including on National Employee Appreciation Day, Halloween and on its "Team Day" during football season where employees dress in the colors of their favorite team.

Employee recognition/appreciation program: At an annual banquet, FMB gives out awards, including one for outstanding work. Employees can win TVs, cameras and other electronics at the event.

Community service initiative: Employees celebrate the holidays by collecting clothing and toys for children in Monticello, Tallahassee in Florida and Thomasville, Ga.

75. Somerset Trust Co.

Pictured: Somerset Trust Company held its first annual Office Olympics in 2016, complete with a medal ceremony for the winners of such competitions as chair rowing and office tennis.

Location: Somerset, Pa.
Assets: $1.09 billion
Employees: 359
Chairman, President and CEO: G. Henry Cook
www.somersettrust.com

Fitness/wellness program: The bank held a "Maintain Not Gain" challenge during the holidays last year. Participants could earn four hours of paid time off for maintaining their weight or losing some pounds; 100 participated.

Bonus/incentive program: All of Somerset Trust's employees are eligible for a bonus, which typically ranges between 5% and 10% of employee's annual salary. Last year they received a 9% bonus.

Sustainability initiative: For the last 15 years, the bank's shredded paper has gone to local farmers who use it for animal bedding.