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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Trusted Advisers Legacy Adviser: Shaun Burke

Guaranty Bank

Posted online

Much of banking is a game of numbers, right? And those numbers, from the top of the bank balance sheet to the bottom, are generally steered by those at the top.

Here’s a stat line for Shaun Burke, president and CEO of Guaranty Bank:

• 35 years in banking

• $1.2 billion in current bank assets

• $53 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans issued

With that comes responsibility, also defined by numbers for Burke and Guaranty Bank:

• 240 employees

• 20,000 customers

• 16 full-service branches

And it all began for Burke as a teller. His career started at Boatmen’s Bank, the predecessor of U.S. Bank in the Springfield market, and Burke had a stint with homegrown Signature Bank, which was later acquired by BancorpSouth.

That’s it. Burke’s worked for three banks since the 1980s, which is somewhat of an anomaly in the banking industry.

“I discovered that I was passionate about helping people achieve their financial goals and objectives and steadily progressed in the business of banking,” he says.

Burke came up on the commercial banking side.

“I have advised and assisted countless business owners to help them build and create successful, thriving businesses that have served and grown our communities,” he says. “I have also had the privilege to lead and coach a team of the next generation of commercial bankers that have helped to serve and grow our business communities. The impact will be realized for decades to come.”

In his career, Burke has witnessed a lot of economic ups and downs. But the twists and turns of the COVID-19 pandemic are only rivaled by the 2008 Great Recession, he says.

“In 2020, the global pandemic quickly turned economic tailwinds into headwinds,” Burke says. “‘Optimism’ turned to ‘uncertainty’ as gross domestic product collapsed at an historic rate, unemployment rose, consumer spending dropped significantly and the industry booked near-record loan-loss provisions.”

The banking industry became front and center, in part by the federal financial relief programs put in play, and Burke and his team were expected to lead the way for their clients. Burke describes Guaranty Bank’s response as “all in” to work with small to large businesses in the community. The result was over 630 Paycheck Protection Program loans issued in a tight window that impacted an estimated 7,600 local jobs.

“I am proud of our 240 team members and their response to the pandemic and the related economic situation. We kept people healthy and safe, while managing our business well,” he says, pointing to record amounts of mortgages refinanced, technological advancements created on the fly, and hundreds of modifications and small-business loans generated.

Under Burke’s watch, Guaranty Bank hit $1 billion in assets in 2019 and built upon that by 13% last year.

The bank’s parent company, Guaranty Federal Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: GFED), is publicly traded, and the bank has posted profits exceeding $2 million in each of the first two quarters this year. GFED shares have traded between $13.80 and $26.99 in the past year.

Analysts are watching the bank’s price-earnings ratio, which came in at 15.7% last year, and its net profit margin of 16.5% annualized, according to financial reporting statements.

The banking industry has taken notice of Burke. He was tapped to serve as 2018-19 board chairman for the Missouri Bankers Association after holding chairman roles for its Legislative Affairs Committee and Audit Committee.

In 2019, he stepped up to the American Bankers Association, where he was appointed to the Government Relations Council. He also previously served an appointment to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.

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