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Jessie Tindall, from left, Renee Samuels and Randy Johnson are part of the OakStar Bancshares Inc. team.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Jessie Tindall, from left, Renee Samuels and Randy Johnson are part of the OakStar Bancshares Inc. team.

2018 Dynamic Dozen No. 4: OakStar Bancshares Inc.

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SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Randy Johnson: The team. We have assembled a group of people that truly are professionals and have a servant’s heart. We are in the people business and what we provide are financial services. The people I work with know how to serve.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Johnson: Growth is by definition something that takes you in a larger format. The growth has provided a lot of opportunity to our team. They have a plan in mind where they would like to be in their careers. It gives them a bigger stage to develop on and scratch that entrepreneurial itch that a lot of leaders have. On a financial stage, yes we have more locations in more markets, but on the people side, this growth creates a stage for very talented people to flex their muscles. For example, a few years ago, we had the opportunity to attract a person involved in employee benefits. They joined our team, and today this person is our executive human resources director. We have now completed our transaction with First National Bank in Camdenton and have added 50-60 employees. Now, this person is a member of our senior management team and over 40-50 employees. There are many examples – whether it’s a lender to our CFO. When a group of us started The Bank, we had a young man who was a teller. He was a student at Missouri State University. He met a young lady working the teller window next to him; they fell in love and got married. Today, he’s the CFO of a nearly billion-dollar company. I’ve singled out two here, but there is one right after another, where growth has taken people with exceptional abilities and given them an outlet to personally achieve goals.

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Johnson: The dark side of this growth thing is when you have people this talented, excited and passionate they are by definition overachievers. One of my key jobs is to make sure they put a balance in their lives. There is a time we come to work, and there is a time we go home. When you get the wind in your sails, sometimes there is so much opportunity and a great demand; the opportunities are almost wildly uncaged, so we have to make sure team members slow down a bit. We have a pretty straight forward ethos at the bank: Our primary focus is on our team members and their families. We know if they’re happy, they’re customers are going to be happy. And we know if we have happy customers, the financial returns are going to take care of themselves. We’ll have happy shareholders.


SBJ: Where do you see the company headed in the next five years?
Johnson: As we grow, our culture has to reflect our strategic objectives. No. 1 is to maintain our independence. We’re in an industry where maintaining your ownership independence is not easy to do. We’re in full-blown consolidation. The number of financial institutions is shrinking at a very rapid pace. We have to invest in the future, in technology, make capital expenditures. If you’re sincere about people first and their families, you have to make decisions that support not getting behind the curve.

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