ABA Banking Journal - July 2011 - (Page 14)

ABA Community BAnking  |  AN ABABJ ROUNDTABLE Inside family banks F When family owns the bank, culture can be an even more powerful differentiator By STEvE COChEO, ExECUTIvE EDITOR amily banks come in all kinds of variations, and Kent Needham has pretty much seen the gamut over about a half-dozen institutions during his long banking career. His parents owned and ran a community bank that Needham worked in. After that he worked for other family banks. In some, the owner’s children had no role. In others, they worked in the bank in some capacity. And now, at $36 million-assets First Security Bank, which Needham acquired in 2007, his family owns most of the Kansas bank. While some folks generalize about family banks, almost to the point of dealing in clichés, such banks actually defy categorization. “The culture is different with each one,” says Needham, adding that “the family does set the culture. The interesting change for me in the last four years has been having the opportunity myself to set the culture, after watching five other families try to do so successfully at my earlier jobs.” Culture can be a squishy word. But it comes through to employees in many ways: attitudes toward technology; the roles of staff versus ownership; the roles of the passive ownership versus active ownership; the speed of decisionmaking; employee policies; and more. Painting the cultural picture Needham feels it is too early to say how successful he’s been in building culture. He bought into a bank where the prior owners knew they would sell, and so “they were just coasting out,” he explains. One early change Needham made was a renewed emphasis on technology spending. That trend didn’t sit well with some employees. “There were those that didn’t want to be on the 14  |  ABA BANKING JOURNAL  |  july 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - July 2011

ABA Banking Journal - July 2011
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
Bank Notes
The Economy
Inside family banks
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
New gold standard?
Still on their guard
Compliance Clinic
Compliance Inbox
ABA Resources
First Person: Special Edition

ABA Banking Journal - July 2011

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