Richard Ware, chairman and president of Amarillo National Bank, has a simple philosophy that his employees live by: Be nice to everyone and don’t steal. He emphasizes that the use of "everyone" – as opposed to just customers – is intentional. The longtime banker is all about gaining market share, and he says you never know when you might be able to bring a customer over from a rival or deepen an existing relationship.
This love of customer service is something that Ware has inherited from his family
, who has owned and operated the bank since 1909. For instance, Ware likes to tell a story about how a guy from Boston visited First National Bank across the street in 1920. But the Bostonian didn’t like how he was treated there so he stopped by Amarillo National and B.T. Ware — who bought the bank and was Richard’s great-grandfather — pounced on the opportunity.
B.T. Ware “was really nice to him and he started banking with us,” Richard Ware says. That fellow has been a customer of the bank ever since and now has a trust account worth millions. At one point, he was even given a key to the back door “so he could come and get his mail,” Ware said.
“All of that from just being nice to the guy one day,” Ware said.
But Amarillo National’s exemplary customer service isn’t just for the wealthy. Customers from all backgrounds are valued and receive the same treatment. For instance, an Amarillo National employee found out that one of her customers was about to lose her electricity so she paid her bill and then bought the customer $500 worth of groceries. Here are a half dozen other instances shared by bank officials in which employees went beyond the call of duty.