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A Conversation With … Jeffrey Palmer

Chief Financial Officer, Old Missouri Bank

Posted online

Old Missouri Bank has increased its market share in recent years. It was ranked as No. 9 in 2019, from No. 12 in 2018, on SBJ’s list of the area’s largest banks. What’s behind the growth?
Increased marketing and community involvement has been a big driver for OMB. Involvement with local organizations, such as Springfield [Area] Chamber of Commerce, as well as our partnership with Missouri State [University] are a couple of things that come to mind. People notice when you’re active in your communities. As a consumer, I like dealing with businesses that are involved in the communities that I live in and work in. People like to bank with people they know, local people.

What’s your plan for future growth?
Organic growth in our existing markets is one of our main strategies. In Springfield, there are a lot of opportunities there, as well as some of our newer locations in Mount Vernon and Carthage, for instance. Communities that we serve would be Springfield, Buffalo, Ash Grove, Walnut Grove, Mount Vernon and Carthage.

Does OMB have a specialty industry or area that it serves? It’s historically known as a bank for the agricultural community.
We have that community bank feel. Definitely ag is a big part of our history, and I think a big part of our future, as well. I see us as kind of that blue collar, working man’s bank. It kind of fits in well with my small-town roots. That’s what attracted me to come work here. I was born and raised in Hartville, Missouri, just a small, farming community.

What’s your career background?
I worked in public accounting for about three and a half years, and then I went to work for First Home Bank. I was there 12 years. I started out as their controller, transitioned into the CFO role for about five years and then I was their Missouri president for about the last two years. I had a few mentors in the banking business that said if I ever get a chance to work for Mark Harrington and OMB that I should jump at that opportunity.

What are your predictions for consumer and business lending this year?
We expect strong loan demand again for 2020. We’ve experienced double-digit growth the last few years and we expect that to continue through 2020. I think things are still pretty stable.

We’ve seen a number of mergers and acquisitions in banking. You experienced that firsthand at First Home Bank, which was purchased by Stockmens Bank. What’s lost and gained in those mergers?
One of the things that was kind of gained in that transaction was from an economies of scale standpoint. You’ve got a bigger asset base to spread your overhead costs. Some of the local decision making is lost as you get bigger and you partner with a bank out of state.

Do you see the M&A activity continuing?
I think so. It’s regulations and rules and just the expense. That number to be sustainable would keep getting bigger. Banks will need to continue getting bigger, too, to cover those overhead costs.

What’s next for technology and banking?
Customers will come in the bank fewer and fewer times. That traffic will keep getting less as they really can do 100% of their banking from their home, from their phone or their computer. That’s where it’s headed if it’s not already there.

Jeffrey Palmer can be reached at j.palmer@oldmobank.com.

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