Why a Strong Culture Drives Community Bank Growth

Culture is not something you can see, touch or buy. It is an experience you feel within an organization and among its employees. While this definition of culture is practically universal, it has particular relevance for community banking, which is a fundamentally human endeavor.

In a recent discussion about Intelligent Growth Strategies, Renasant Bank leadership shared how a culture focused on inclusion, relationships and a shared vision drove their progress from a $550 million community bank in 1989, to a $5.8 billion regional institution in 2014.

Inclusion– Successful banks foster an environment where employees want to work, because their ideas and perspectives are encouraged. It is a place where every employee knows they can realize their full potential. Renasant understands that a winning culture values each employee’s contribution. They set this priority at the top of the organization, and ensure it permeates throughout the bank by focusing on communication, collaboration and accountability.

Relationships– Relationships are the cornerstone of community banking, but it doesn’t have to be limited to customers. Forward thinking community banks prioritize strong, positive interactions with other leaders in the industry. Case in point, for each successful growth opportunity, Renasant can identify solid relationships they developed with other executive management or lending team colleagues

Shared Vision– A vision gains potency as it is shared among employees. Renasant emphasizes a simple, powerful blueprint for evaluating strategic opportunities using the concepts of soundness, profitability and growth. Soundness is the imperative – the opportunity must fit within the bank’s risk tolerance and organizational strengths. The opportunity must be profitable at the onset and into the future, and it must enhance the long-term growth potential of the franchise.

In his evergreen Fast Company article, “How Intangible Corporate Culture Creates Tangible Profits,” David Lapin articulates, “The intangible offering that truly differentiates a company resides in its corporate soul and is created by the company’s culture and values, not by its products, process, or structure. Products, process, and structure can be copied, but authentic culture and values cannot.”

For banks pursuing a sound growth strategy, culture is fuel for the engine. It doesn’t matter what you provide to the marketplace if you lack focus on the people for and with whom you’re working. Trust is built on relationships,empowerment and values. What lies at the center of your bank’s culture?


Is your bank culture built for success? How are you fostering new ideas and perspectives, and encouraging employees to live out a shared vision for your bank? What impact do these decisions have on your organization’s growth and profitability?


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Topics: Bank Growth

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