The Best Community Banks to Work For 2019 – Vista Bank: A people-first philosophy

December 2, 2019

Vista Bank has put its own twist on the usual customer-first strategy. The golden rule—“people first”—at the $864 million-asset community bank in Dallas, Texas, starts with its own employees.

“More than anything, we want to connect with our people so they know they are more than a teller or a credit analyst or a lender; they are an important part of Vista Bank,” says John D. Steinmetz, CEO and president. He credits Vista Bank’s culture and people with being instrumental in its success, which includes more than a century in business and explosive growth in the past decade.

Vista Bank was founded by the McLaughlin family in 1912 in Ralls, Texas. For much of its history, the community bank focused largely on consumer and agricultural lending in West Texas. The bank has made a concerted effort in recent years to diversify its lending activity with commercial and industrial lending, real estate lending and expanding its business services. It has also expanded its geographic footprint. Bank assets have jumped significantly from about $166 million in 2009.

Aside from the acquisition in 2017 of an $80 million-asset bank, all of that growth has been organic. Over the past 10 years, Vista Bank has nearly tripled the number of its full-time employees, from about 60 to nearly 150. Steinmetz believes the fact that the bank has maintained its company culture amid rapid growth is another testament to the effectiveness of its people-first mantra. “What has differentiated us over the years and has allowed us to have this success is our people,” he says.

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