Frank Turner knows commercial banking. With a long familial banking history, his father, grandfather, and his great grandfather were all bankers, Frank started with Mercantile in 1978 and remained when the bank was purchased by PNC. Frank joined Howard Bank in February 2013, when President and CEO, Mary Ann Scully invited him to join the Howard team.
“Mary Ann is such an inspiring leader and an extraordinary banker. Having spent my career in Baltimore banking and the commercial side of banking, with Mary Ann’s visions and the decision to focus on greater Baltimore, it was a good fit,” says Frank.
Commercial banking involves advice and relationships, and Frank is happy to join a team that is focusing on that. Frank notes that this attention is key. “Howard Bank’s focus on small and medium sized businesses in the greater Baltimore area advocates relationship building and maintaining. The only way to help a business work through a tough situation or take advantage of an opportunity is by having that relationship. At Howard Bank, our management team knows our borrowers.”
And the borrowers know their bankers. The senior management team meets with the management of the company. This consistency at the account level all the way to the management level keeps the Howard Bank team focused on their borrowers. This is the heart of Howard Bank, and this relationship focus is the differentiator for Howard Bank.
Frank observes, “Mary Ann has assembled a wonderful team of experienced bankers from different backgrounds and banking environments, but the whole team is focused on small to medium sized businesses. And providing banking services to those businesses. We’re a small bank with people that have had long and deep experience in commercial banking. And as we grow we continue to attract talented people.”
With Frank’s lengthy history in banking, he has seen changes in the industry over the years. Consolidation has been a major one. The number of banks has shrunk dramatically, for various reasons, but that loss means existing banks need to be much more focused. Howard Bank is uniquely focused in the commercial space. “We’re small enough to do it, but big enough to have the technology, and also the capability and lending limits to provide credit in the space and grow with the client,” says Frank.
Some of Frank’s favorite memories from Mercantile days underscore the culture of trust that existed there, and that now exists at Howard Bank. Notes Frank, “The relationship banking – that was what everyone remembers about Mercantile. That’s how Mercantile made their reputation.”
While much has changed in banking, there is much that remains the same. Although technology has changed the way clients interact with the bank, think mobile deposits and online banking, at the end of the day, decision-making about extending credit and providing service is people and relationship based. You can’t have a robot provide these relationships. Everyone is different. Each situation is unique. And a lot of it is evaluating the management of the small and medium sized companies that Howard Bank serves.
Regarding the future Frank says, “Mary Ann’s assessment of the marketplace and the need, and given what this management team has accomplished so far, the future looks bright.”