Dispel Worry by Helping Others Succeed (Video)
Joe Kreutz is founder, CEO and President of County Commerce Bank in Ventura, California. Joe had built so many relationships in his career, when investors asked him to start a new bank, he was up and running quickly with people he had worked with for years. Instead of worrying about himself, he focuses on helping others succeed.
JOE KREUTZ: At County Commerce Bank, we’re a traditional bank. We’re a community bank that focuses on small and mid-size business products. We offer all of the typical banking products that you’ll get at any large or regional bank. But we tend to cater to small businesses and helping them achieve.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Joe Kreutz is a founder the CEO and President of County Commerce Bank in Ventura California.
JOE: I’ve been in banking for 30 years. I was president of a savings and loan in the 70s and 80s, then I started my own mortgage banking company. I put a lot of capital into this bank and I was able to form it along with the management team into the type of bank that we wanted and move it in the direction that we felt would be successful.
My management team and I had worked together at another bank. We saw a need for a community bank in Ventura. There were no community banks left, because they had all been either merged or acquired during the late 90s. We decided to get together and start County Commerce Bank, and, with about 170 investors from the community, started the bank and it’s done very well since our opening in February 2002. The difference between a large bank, a regional bank and a community bank is we can cater our products and services more to the individual and small business. Getting investors was easy. In fact we had an oversubscription. We did a business plan. We thought it would take two and a half to three years to become profitable and we blew our plan out of the water and became profitable in 9 months, and that is well ahead of the industry standard of about 30 months to become profitable for a bank.
We have businesses everyday we work with that have trouble working with larger banks. Either they were turned down there were problems too many frustrations. One of the things that really works for the community and our bank is the people who work here are from the community. Most of our management team has grown up here. Our employees are from the community. We understand the community and we understand the local businesses. So we can take those additional risks that the large banks aren’t willing to take and maybe we don’t even consider them a risk where a larger bank would. We know the people, we know their business and are willing to work with them to supply them the assets they need to grown their businesses.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Joe and Executive Vice President David Brubaker are on the go visiting customers. Here at Data Prose the leadership brags on the building expansion and new equipment they were able to purchase with a loan from County Commerce Bank.
JOE: We don’t make money hand over fist. We supply a good service to the community. We employee people and we’re very involved in the community. We give a lot of money back to the community.
As a small bank we only gross about $3 million a year and with that we have to pay all of our overhead and hopefully get a return for our investors. So I think we fall into the category of being a small business just like the deli or the shoe store. We’re not a big business. We have to make due with a limited amount of resources just like they do.
People think, oh gee, you’re an $85 million dollar bank in assets but that doesn’t mean we have $85 million dollars. That means we have a lot of people’s money on deposit. We borrow that money and then we loan it out and hopefully we can make a little bit of income on that. If we can get 1% return on those deposits we’re doing pretty good. We feel comfortable with that. Most banks make 1% or less return on assets.
We know our customers we know their families and we understand their business so that’s somebody you want to do business with. That’s why we are involved in the community and we’re involved with people and when you do that they want to be involved with you.
We have 22 employees and 50% have all worked together for over 10 years and 20% have worked together for almost 30 years. We have a long term history of working together and we have very low turnover.
Attitude does matter. An attitude is projected from the top down in any business. I’m no different. I get frustrated when things don’t go right. Or we’re not achieving the goals that we set. But I look right away at myself and say, "You need to change things. You need to learn from what’s going on and try and come up with a solution."
I tell my employees that I’m learning everyday...