Written by: Ed Avis
The dust from 2020 is finally beginning to settle, and that gives us an opportunity to look back at the hard work community banks put in to serve their customers. Our top lenders made the most of one of the toughest years in recent memory through personal connection, ingenuity and dedication to their communities. Read on to meet the year’s most successful loan producers in the areas of agriculture, commercial and consumer/mortgage lending.
Using FDIC data for 2020, we calculated a lender score out of 100 for each community bank. The score combines the average of the bank’s percentile rank for lending concentration and for loan growth over the past year in each lending category. We then adjusted each score for loan charge offs in each category at certain percentile thresholds.
CONSUMER AND MORTGAGE
Austin Capital Bank finds success in unlikely places
Austin Capital Bank’s strength comes from the fact that it’s a nontraditional bank—and that its founder and CEO, Erik Beguin, is a nontraditional banker. Beguin likens himself to a brand manager and the community bank to a fintech.
Austin Capital Bank
Asset size: $292 million
Consumer lender score: 99.30
Rank in category: 1
“When I go to banking conferences, I feel like the odd duck out,” says Beguin, whose background is in brand and product management, including a short stint branding antiperspirant at Procter & Gamble. “A lot of community banks are running the same business model, but I read the OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] list of permissible bank activities, and I figure out which ones no one else is doing and do those.”
Austin Capital Bank’s innovative character is evident on its website. There, the community bank prominently features its financial technology services, including various consumer fintech products. The bank describes itself as “like ridesharing for banking” because as an organization it’s technology-enabled and community-driven.
That clear focus on technology and innovation, plus the strength of its mortgage business, are the reasons 2020 was a successful year for Austin Capital Bank, Beguin says.
“We’re really a digital-first bank, so 2020 lent itself nicely to us,” he says. “And we have a mortgage division, and 2020 was a banner year for that.”
Austin Capital Bank wasn’t always on the list of successful banks. When Beguin and a partner launched the community bank in 2006—right before the Great Recession—they hired other people to run it. But the bank’s first two years were so rough that Beguin took the reins himself.
“When I took over in Q1 of 2008, we were the worst-performing bank in the state of Texas,” he says, “but I was too stubborn to let us fail.”
Taking the reins
Soon after taking charge, Beguin decided to stop traditional consumer and mortgage lending and focus on other markets, such as lending to investors.
“Lending to investors in Austin from 2008 to 2014 was fantastic,” he recalls. “Since I’m not a banker, I created products for people who didn’t fit the typical bank customer model. The success of those years got us over the hump and created a stable platform that has allowed us to build the technology platform and add the mortgage division.”
The community bank launched its mortgage division in 2018 and now has 14 loan production offices around the country. Its proprietary Trident technology platform, which Beguin may license to other banks in the future, allows Austin Capital Bank to offer financial services securely online.
Despite saying he’s not a banker, Beguin has served on various bank advisory boards, such as the Federal Reserve’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council and the CFPB’s Community Bank Advisory Council.
“I’m passionate about the community bank model,” he says. “The reason I started the bank is that a community bank is one of the only entities that multiplies the wealth in the community it serves.”
Consumer and mortgage: $500 million to $1 billion
Consumer Lender Score
Georgia Banking Company
One American Bank
First Community Bank of Tennessee