The Bottom Line - Banking on Character
Banking on Character
The secrets to career success: Clients, colleagues and consistency
As my full-time career at Country Club Bank comes to a close after 38 years, I wanted to not only express my heartfelt gratitude to clients and colleagues but also share a few lessons learned along the way.
First, let me be clear, I didn’t learn these lessons on my own. I learned them by working alongside one of the most highly-principled and hardest-working bankers in Kansas City history: our late chairman, Byron Thompson.
The traits I learned from Byron can be applied to any career and I offer them in the spirit in which they were offered to me: to find purpose, be of service, and inspire excellence. Here they are:
Prepare and focus. Be a diligent lifelong learner and do your homework. Have a vision, passion, and will to succeed – everyday – as Byron so vividly exemplified during his life.
Anticipate adversity. Things rarely go exactly as planned. Acknowledge errors and obstacles, overcome them, and then move forward.
Inspire integrity and excellence. Byron and his co-founder, the late Bob Buckner, had a favorite saying that still guides us to this day: “Do the right thing, the right way, the first time.”
In community banking, we believe that cultivating a winning culture is essential. Not only does it foster a sense of shared purpose among our associates but it also drives exceptional client experiences, and ultimately leads to more sustainable growth for us, as well as our clients.
A winning culture has been a central focus for us at Country Club Bank since the very beginning, and it may just be one of the most important secrets to our success. I hope you can develop a similar winning culture, and enjoy the same kind of success in your career and business.
— Mike McGannon, Vice Chairman, Country Club Bank - Member FDIC
Inflation slows and the Fed pauses, but interest rates still likely to rise further
Though the central bank didn’t raise interest rates at its June meeting – as was widely expected – that doesn’t mean it’s done raising rates for the year, according to recent comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
With inflation easing back to 4.0% (5.3% core), compared to 4.9% (5.5% core) last month, and May payrolls growing by a higher-than-expected 339,000, there is positive news. But Powell says the federal funds rate is still likely to rise to keep inflation in check.
More than a year after the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to tame inflation, the classic signs of a recession remain absent.
Employers continue to hire, GDP continues to grow, unemployment remains low (3.7%,) and housing prices remain relatively stable. All signs that raising interest rates thus far has done little to slow the economy to the Fed’s target inflation rate of 2.0%.
Bottom Line: The Fed rate outlook remains complicated. Economic activity and inflation haven’t slowed as much as Fed officials anticipated, even as they have lifted the benchmark federal-funds rate over the past 15 months from near zero to a range between 5% and 5.25%, a 16-year high.
The pause in raising interest rates in June should not be interpreted as the peak, but rather as a breather to allow more data to come in before further policy decisions.
And though widely circulated polls among economists still put the chance of a recession in the next 12 months at greater than 50%, that prediction appears no closer.
— Marcus Scott, CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for Country Club Trust Company
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Country Club Trust Company, a division of Country Club Bank, or any affiliate thereof. Information provided is for illustrative and discussion purposes only; should not be considered a recommendation; and is subject to change. Some information provided above may be obtained from outside sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please note that investments involve risk, and that past performance does not guarantee future results.
Employee Retention Creativity and Success
Creating strong employee relationships builds loyalty at Worldwide Steel Buildings
Everyone can agree that a great company culture can be a game-changer for an organization. Yet, so few are able to create that magic.
Is there some secret we’re all missing?
“It's not just one thing. It's lots of things,” says Worldwide Steel Buildings CEO Jeff Snell. “It starts with good pay. You have to pay your people, and you need to have great benefits. But past that, that's the tricky part.”
Snell knows the value of building a great company culture. Worldwide Steel Buildings has gained a reputation as a great place to work. That has resulted in low employee turnover and helped fuel impressive growth – from $7 million in sales in 2016 to $49 million last year.
Operating out of Peculiar, Missouri, Worldwide Steel Buildings is a premier manufacturer of pre-engineered steel building kits. The company serves individuals and small businesses across North America and around the world manufacturing kits for everything from backyard storage sheds to community sports arenas.
But perhaps the most impressive creation at Worldwide Steel Buildings is the culture that Snell and his leadership team have built. “There's a whole list of things we do for our employees because I just feel so strongly that a great team is so important to the success of our business.”
One of the first things Snell did was ask his employees if they’d prefer to switch to a four-day workweek. “I asked the guys if they wanted to switch to 4-10’s and they jumped all over it. It gives them a three-day weekend every week and they love it.” says Snell.
Snell also implemented an employee loan program. “It is a $1,500 loan to an employee – no questions asked – for whatever they need.” as Snell explains. “So, if your washing machine breaks down, you can go and request an employee loan for up to $1,500. You pay it back however you want. No interest or preset payments. It’s meant to help someone who has hit a little bump in the road.”
Where did the idea come from?
“It's just from talking to my employees and understanding that not everyone has six months’ worth of emergency savings. So, if a guy’s transmission goes out, he doesn’t have to resort to charging it on a high-interest credit card or taking out a title loan,” says Snell.
You would think that such a generous perk as this would be a risky proposition. But Snell swears by the idea, “I implemented this program at one of my very first companies 15 years ago and I've never been burnt. I've even had employees who quit and still owed me money and they always paid it back.”
The loan program underscores Snell’s belief in the value of building relationships, whether it’s with his employees or the partners he chooses to work with. It’s what attracted him to Country Club Bank.
“Before we were clients, every three or four months, the Country Club Bank folks would stop in. They didn't pressure me. They'd come in, drink a cup of coffee, and we'd visit and walk around. Then the time came when I was looking for something different than what I currently had – a more personal relationship with a bank. Not only did I move my business there, but I moved all my personal stuff, too. I'm a big fan.”
When asked about advice he’d give to others, Snell will tell you it comes down to two things. Attracting great talent and keeping them. Key to accomplishing both those is creating the relationships.
“We have a hundred employees. I walk around four times a day through a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, talking to people and just seeing how people are doing,” says Snell. “My job is to surround myself with good people, give them the tools and stay out of their way. It's pretty simple when you say it, but it's hard to do and practice.”
Estate Planning Knowledge Center
Protecting the future: Inheritance preservation plans
It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you are working towards a lasting legacy. Of course, you want to help ensure that the passing on of your hard-earned wealth happens as you intend. Some thoughtful trust planning may help make that happen.
There are a number of benefits that can be built into a trust-based wealth management plan, including:
Professional investment management – a significant securities portfolio requires serious care and attention.
Creditor protection – a carefully designed trust plan can protect assets in divorce proceedings. Or from improvident financial decisions made by inexperienced beneficiaries.
Future flexibility – a trust can provide standards for measuring how well the goals are being met for each of the beneficiaries.
Capital foundation – a trust may provide a capital foundation that avoids the successive imposition of transfer taxes, keeping more of your wealth in the family.
Learn more about these benefits as well as other capabilities of a well-designed trust. Read the full article here.
Portions © 2023 M.A. Co. All rights reserved.
Some information provided may be obtained from outside sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. This information is intended for discussion purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation. The information contained herein does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice by Country Club Trust Company. For legal, tax or investment advice, the services of a competent professional person or professional organization should be sought. Trust services and investments are not FDIC insured, are not guaranteed by the Trust Company or any Trust Company affiliate, and may lose value. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Small Business Education & Outreach
Spot the signs of a small business email compromise scam
A scam that’s becoming increasingly prevalent is Business Email Compromise (BEC). Scammers manipulate employees into providing sensitive information (usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, etc.) by pretending to be a vendor, bank, or other source they know and trust. Scammers then either sell that information or use it themselves to access systems and networks, including your business’s accounts—potentially even your customers’ accounts.
Here are a few tips for protecting your financial or other sensitive information:
Use a known phone number to call vendors to validate “changes” made to your account information. Don’t call the phone number on the “invoice” or email.
If you receive a suspicious message that appears to be from your bank, call the bank directly to verify its authenticity.
Do not open attachments or click on links from an unfamiliar source.
Check out this post to get more details on these increasingly common scams. You’ll also find tips for recognizing telltale signs of fraud, and discover insights on how you can protect yourself.