Podcast: Key Ingredients of Top Community Bank Performance

For 11 years in a row, Chesapeake Bank has been named to American Banker’s list of the top-performing community banks; for six straight years, it has been named a “best bank to work for.” On the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, bank CEO and newly minted ABA Chairman Jeff Szyperski talks about the key strategic drivers of success for his $803 million community bank. Among other topics, he discusses:

  • Specialty lines of businesses (affectionately called SLOBs) that drive fee income and complement commercial loan growth. Chesapeake Bank offers a nationwide cashflow financing division for small businesses, merchant card processing for 22,000 clients nationwide and a wealth management unit. “They’ve made a real difference from a fee income perspective for us rather than just relying on the traditional margin,” he says.
  • Investing in hiring the right employees — including a “hugely successful” psychological test for fit — and training team members. Chesapeake Bank provides monetary incentives for employees to pursue professional development.
  • Technological investment. “We keep everything in-house. That’s a lot of overhead, but it gives us a lot of flexibility on the delivery,” he says. “If something’s not right with a customer, we know where to go to fix it. We don’t have to submit a work order to some remote service bureau and hope that answer comes back quickly.”

Szyperski also discusses the importance of advocacy, concerns about the trend of industry consolidation and how to build a culture of employee engagement.

If you can’t see the audio player above, click here to listen to this week’s episode.

Additional resources:

In this episode:

Jeff Szyperski
Chairman, President and CEO
Chesapeake Bank

Evan Sparks
ABA Banking Journal

Joan Gregory Saenz
SVP, Congressional
Relations, ABA