Many people see banking as a business of numbers, but to David Findlay, there is much more to it.
“Our vision of a community bank is not defined by the size of the bank in the context of its total assets, but by the commitment it makes to the community in which it operates,” says Findlay, who serves as president and chief executive officer of Lake City Bank.
As a community bank, Lake City Bank operates locally, with decision-making happening in the communities it serves. While people often associate those benefits with retail and commercial banking operations, the same holds true for Lake City Bank’s Wealth Advisory Group, which handles investment management and financial planning. Findlay calls the need for these services a natural progression of a client’s financial lifecycle.
“As people’s financial lives mature and they gain the ability to have investible assets, we are there to help them manage that money through the Wealth Advisory Group,” says Findlay. “It’s the perfect capstone to the lifecycle of our retail and commercial banking services.”
Jon Steiner, Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisory Group and Brokerage, has led Lake City Bank’s Wealth Advisory Group for the past nine years. He believes the personalized experience his team offers to clients plays a significant role in their success.
“We’re in that unique space of being big enough to meet the client’s needs but small enough to give people a personalized experience,” says Steiner. “We really get to know our clients. We want to hear their stories so we can help them move forward.”
Lake City Bank has been helping clients reach their financial goals for more than 60 years.
Today, the Wealth Advisory Group administers $2.1 billion in trust assets for individuals, families, and not-for-profit organizations, with $1.3 billion in assets under management. The business has grown consistently from year to year as a result of the group’s successful relationship-driven strategy. While that growth is important, Steiner is quick to note that customer retention provides a solid foundation.
“We have to balance growth with retention,” says Steiner. “We don’t ever want to hurt the client experience because we were reaching for growth.”
Steiner’s approach boils down to this: “be better tomorrow than you were today; get better incrementally individually and as a team; and engage clients who want to be with us.” It comes from the heart, which aligns perfectly with the highly personalized model of community banking.
“How people feel about the people they interact with is huge,” says Steiner. “Empathy is a big deal, especially in the wealth space.”
With a 98 percent client retention rate, Steiner’s approach works. Thanks to experience and technology, he has been able to achieve that balance of growth and retention with the same number of people.
The Wealth Advisory Group consists of investment, trust and planning professionals who work to understand their clients’ financial aspirations and then develop a plan to achieve them. They adjust along the way to accommodate changes and life events to help clients stay on track. Jim Westerfield, Senior Vice President and Chief Fiduciary Officer, leads the trust group. They work with families, as fiduciaries, certainly, but also as trusted advisors through generations and all the ups and downs of life.
Investment management in the Wealth Advisory Group is led by Andy Haddock, CFA, Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. The team manages portfolios for individuals, families and charitable organizations based on each clients’ individual needs. The group is adept at managing assets across decades-long time horizons and through the economic changes included in long term management.
The investment management and trust groups work side-by-side with Lake City Investments, the bank’s brokerage group, and Retirement Services, which handles the retirement plans businesses offer their employees. All three groups come together under Steiner, and the breadth of service means the bank can address individual and business wealth planning needs of any size.
Findlay notes, “You don’t have to have a significant amount of money to be a suitable candidate for our Wealth Advisory Group. No matter what size, we’re a great place to start.”
Many of the group’s clients come from referrals from within Lake City Bank. Commercial and retail bankers who have strong relationships with their customers often recognize business and family transitions that may require wealth planning assistance. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and then connect them to the Wealth Advisory Group.
“We don’t have silos,” says Cammy Treadway, Senior Vice President and Commercial Regional Manager. “We refer our corporate banking clients to our Wealth Advisory Group partners to handle all of their needs. All areas of our bank work for the best of our customers.”
Bruce Wright, Senior Vice President and Retail Regional Manager, handles retail banking for Lake City Bank. He adds, “We work really well together back and forth; we give and get referrals. Our culture is one where we really try to do what’s best for the customer and we’re really not concerned who gets the credit.”
This works so well in a community banking model because it starts with knowing and understanding the customer, and that starts with living and working alongside them.
“We want to know our clients; they are not just some number in a computer or on a paper,” says Treadway. “Community banking is having the clients and the bankers live, work and play all in the same region.”
Address: 6851 W. Jefferson Blvd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
Phone: (260) 969-6996
Years in Business: 148
Products & Services: Retail and commercial banking, wealth management services