Springfield, MO

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"We love the people. We love the area." - Mark McFatridge
"We love the people. We love the area." - Mark McFatridge

A Conversation With ... Mark McFatridge

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Tell us about your role at Guaranty Bank.
Guaranty Bank is a 97-year-old financial institution. It started off as a savings and loan and about six years ago, was chartered as a commercial bank that has grown rapidly. We have nine banking centers in the Springfield (metropolitan statistical area) and No. 4 market share in that same geography, based on deposits. We have about 165 employees. I serve on the executive management team, and my overall role is to help get Guaranty Bank to where we want to be – specifically working with all lines of business to make sure we’re reaching our potential.

What are specific targets you’re pursuing?
I don’t think there’s an actual size that we’re looking for, but we want to make sure that we’re growing and that we’re growing properly. Being publicly traded, it’s obviously very important that we’re focused on growing the value for shareholders. Sometimes, you can grow for growth’s sake, and that’s not what we want to do.

Has Guaranty Bank considered geographic expansion?
I think the opportunity certainly has to present itself. I think there’s opportunity to do de novo – start from scratch, instead of making an acquisition. We have mortgage loan production offices outside the market in West Plains, and certainly, that would be an area where we would want to take a look and say, “Does it make sense?” And we’ll continue to look at those types of opportunities.

You moved to Springfield in 2006 with Regions Bank and moved in 2008 to OakStar Bank, where you spent less than a year. Why did you leave OakStar?
OakStar had done very well and had outgrown its capital. We were going out to raise capital and (OakStar) found a capital partner with the group that has since come in. And there was overlap on the management side, so it made sense for me to move on.

You came to the Ozarks from Indianapolis. Why did you decide to stay here?
Quality of life, honestly. The quality of life here is phenomenal. Our son, Ryan, is 15, and our daughter, Emily, 13. Those would be tough ages to move the kids, but (my wife, Deb and I) wouldn’t want to. … We love the people. We love the area.

What brought you to Guaranty Bank?
It was an interesting time when I left OakStar. … I met with people that I know and respect, and they gave me advice to just take some time to figure out what you want to do and where you want to be. We looked at some businesses to buy, but nothing hit exactly what I wanted to do. This opportunity came out of one of those lunches. Somebody I respect (referred me to Guaranty Bank President and CEO Shaun Burke). He said, “Shaun’s thinking about adding this position, and it’s exactly what you like to do and where your passion lies.” I had known Shaun, before, and we sat down and had breakfast, and compared strategies and philosophies and passions and goals, and they started aligning.

So is the position of chief operating officer new for Guaranty?
No. Carter Peters, who is our (chief financial officer) was wearing both of those hats. How Carter could do both of those roles, I have no idea. … He did both jobs well, but it was challenging and very taxing.

What key challenges are facing the banking industry?
Regulation, by far, is our biggest challenge. Quite honestly, it always has been, but regulation now is first and foremost in everybody’s mind, and unfortunately, it is driving how decisions are made, both rightly and wrongly. I can’t sit back and say change wasn’t needed, but I think the pendulum has swung a good long way. We’re treating it as an opportunity, making sure that we’re … doing the right things (and) the basic blocking and tackling of banking like we all should have been for the long haul. … I think it’s time for us to get back out in the market and tell people that we are lending money, but we’re going to lend money prudently.
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