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A Conversation With ... Mick Nitsch

President, Regent Bank in Springfield

Posted online

You held the top local position with The Bank of Missouri for 14 years. Why did you leave and make the move to join Regent Bank?
I left Bank of Missouri thinking I was going to retire after 37 years in the banking industry. But it’s hard to escape the industry, and it’s hard to just switch off after being involved for that long. I was retired for six weeks and I had an opportunity when [Regent Bank CEO] Sean Kouplen called. I liked what I heard about their leadership team and I was really impressed with their directors, and I just felt like it was an opportunity for me to finish my banking career with an organization that was going to really do great things the next 10 years. I chose to accept their offer and go to work for them. They’re growing 15%-20% organically, annually, and they’re doubling in size about every five years. That really appealed to me and the fact that they grant us a great deal of autonomy in the local market to do what we feel is the right strategy to grow our markets. That was music to my ears.

What are the growth areas that you see for commercial banking in our market?
Regent Bank is a bank of choice for entrepreneurs and business leaders who desire state-of-the-art technology, private banking access and innovative solutions. That fits my profile very well because I grew up in an organization, Capitol Bank 37 years ago, that served entrepreneurs and business leaders and we had state-of-the-art technology. I worked for them for 23 years. We were acquired by Regions Bank during that time. But it’s served me a great deal of satisfaction to work for an organization with those characteristics.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, access to capital and banking resources has become a large need. How has the bank met customer needs during this time?
In my 37 years of banking, honestly I cannot say that I’ve gone through a period of time like we’re experiencing right now. I would say that our bank has the tools and the resources available to the small-business banking clients to assist them. We are a preferred lender with (the Small Business Administration). We have a lot of tools and resources available through SBA to assist our clients and nonclients with the tools that will take them to the next level and get them through this difficult time in history. Our SBA program has really blossomed in terms of our production to help serve the needs of small businesses during this pandemic. I see that as being a huge plus in this marketplace with so many entrepreneurs and so many small businesses looking to, I hate to say the word, survive, but the truth is everyone wants to make it through this pandemic. We were here for the Paycheck Protection Program. We served not only our customers, but we served nonbank customers, about 800 in Springfield, 800 nonbank customers under the PPP SBA program that was rolled out as one of our strategic initiatives to help grow relationships.

When you think of advanced banking technology, is it a race to keep up with the larger, national banks? What are your strengths as a regional bank?
Small businesses today really are looking for more. They’re looking for a banking partner that’s going to stick with them through thick and thin. That’s where we shine. We provide the necessary technology, the tools and resources necessary for them to be successful in what they do. But more so than that, we provide a relationship. We’re not a big bank. We’re an $800 million commercial bank. We focus our strengths on building relationships long term with our customers. We want every customer to be a customer for life.

Talent has long been tight in the banking industry. With the additional work of processing PPP and SBA loans, do you plan to hire?
We are stretched. We’re adding staff to help accommodate for our growth. As I mentioned, we’re growing 15%-20% organically yearly, and we’re looking for staff to help us continue that. In the Springfield market, we have, 10 [employees] and we’re probably going to expand that to 12. Companywide, we have about 90 employees and we’ll probably expand that to 100.

Mick Nitsch can be reached at mnitsch@bankregent.com.

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