OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY BANKERS

Pub. 2 2020 | Issue 9

nurturing-seedlings

Nurturing Seedlings Of Businesses: How Enterprise Bank Changed The Banking Model

When you can’t find what you are looking for, sometimes you have to create it yourself.

In 1998 a group of entrepreneurs and business associates in Western Pennsylvania found, in their effort to start and build businesses, there was a void in the banking industry for serving their population.

These passionate business creators were looking for a bank that wasn’t too small to handle the lending needs of a startup business, yet so big that small businesses weren’t viewed as a risk.

A list was compiled of all the things these small-business owners wanted from their financial institution — and the seed for Enterprise Bank was planted.

“We knew what we needed and didn’t need,” shares Chuck Leyh, President and CEO, Chairman of the Board and founding member. “We wanted partnerships and relationships. We needed a financial institution who understood the challenges of starting and running your own business. We needed someone who would be there for every stage of development.”

Headquartered in Allison Park, PA, Enterprise Bank’s core operating philosophy is assisting the growth of small businesses. Their focus is on providing funding and support services to businesses in a startup, growth or distressed cycle.

With only one brick and mortar location, and no retail consumer business, their forward-thinking model bypasses the traditional platform service and teller positions. Instead, relationship managers go out into the community to interact with their clients.

“Our concept was to ‘go’ — to create relationships to acquire clients,” says Leyh. “RM’s” are onsite with the client. They physically see the collateral for loans. We know our clients personally, are there for them, understand their dreams and visions — and help them make it happen.”

Central to this unique model is how each relationship manager runs their own business. They have personal financial interest and liability in clients’ portfolios and are responsible for their bottom line. This includes costs for staff’s salary and benefits, sales development and overhead expenses, and their own compensation. The personal responsibility gives an RM control over who they work with and to develop a loan and deposit portfolio structured for success.

“As the single point of contact at Enterprise Bank, our RM’s role is more of a business advisor and consultant,” shares Lori Cestra, EVP/COO and
PACB Chair. “Most business owners and entrepreneurs are knowledgeable about their product or service, but not about cash flow, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. This is where Enterprise Bank’s model is different from a traditional bank. Our RM’s and support services help our clients to operate and manage their business.” Over the years, Enterprise Bank has created subsidiaries to provide the support services their core clients need, including Enterprise Technology Group for IT support, Enterprise Creative Studios for marketing consulting, and Kuzneski and Lockard Real Estate Services.

Included in their portfolio are hotels, restaurants and gyms, as well as unique businesses like a Safari Park, a rock-climbing gym and a motorcycle shop.

Aiding in developing the establishments that help small towns thrive is what Enterprise Bank is all about. Focusing solely on small businesses has allowed Enterprise Bank to build deep relationships with their clients.

“Our RM’s visit each of their clients one to two times a year,” says Samantha Behm, marketing director. “They are very hands-on and get involved with their clients on a personal level. We are positioned in the best way to help our community of clients.” When pandemic restrictions went into place, Enterprise’s RM’s were immediately in touch with each business owner. They were acutely aware that based on the type of businesses with whom they work, the shutdown was going to hit many of them very hard.

“COVID helped to illustrate what we are all about,” shares Leyh. “We fight a lot with regulators, explaining to them how we are helping people because they need help. COVID accelerated and accentuated how many of these people need assistance. When the CARES Act was passed, we kept doing what we always do, helping someone save their business.”

nurturing quote

With their EBanking model and no retail traffic, staff did not have to worry about physical location adjustment. Most work remotely. Getting PPP applications processed was their focus, and they turned most of them around in one day. It was real people talking to real people.

“Relationships were strengthened,” shares Behm. “Everyone was on board. We personally spoke to every client. We were there to help people through a time of uncertainty.”

Enterprise Bank’s mission statement reads: To Deliver Superior Ethical Service and Value to the Clients, Shareholders and Staff.

“Our mission statement helps develop the culture,” says Cestra. “We keep this in mind when making every decision. It’s a constant mindset of balancing what is right for the client, our staff and our shareholders. We are there for them all.”

Where other banks may be involved in schools and community fundraising events, Enterprise Bank managers give back to the community by serving on boards of for-profit and nonprofit organizations, such as the Small Business Association. It is their way of staying on top of and understanding, the regulations and legislation affecting their clients.

Just as their acorn logo depicts, Enterprise Bank is there to nurture the seedling of a business into a strong and mighty enterprise. As the expectations of their clients evolve, Enterprise Bank is poised to change and adapt — always placing the clients’ needs before their own.

With a lot of work and creative thinking, Enterprise Bank has become the kind of bank that a group of entrepreneurs was looking for 22 years ago. They just created it themselves.

Diane-Sweeney

Diane M. Sweeney is a professional copywriter and content strategist. At her desk, overlooking Beaver Creek in Chester County, she enjoys writing articles and web content to inform, persuade and entertain. Her work can be found at www.dianemsweeney.com

This story appears in Issue 9 2020 of the Hometown Banker Magazine.

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