- Tech Insights
2020 presented unique challenges for all of us. But 109-year-old Vista Bank has seen a few of those before. Helping clients navigate the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, Two World Wars, and the Great Recession gave them the experience, perspective, and wisdom that prepared them to serve clients during the global pandemic and beyond. Known in Texas as The Entrepreneur’s Bank, Vista primarily focuses on commercial business.
“Small businesses suffered greatly in the global pandemic, as entrepreneurs willing to risk their own capital to ensure the success of the world’s greatest economy, found their doors shut due to COVID-19,” explained Vista Bank’s President & CEO John D. Steinmetz. Some of these entrepreneurs were already Vista’s clients. Other business owners were struggling because their banks were not offering CARES Act assistance. Thousands of them switched to Vista Bank as one of the few banks in the country to proactively offer both the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Main Street Lending Program to new clients.
"Vista stays ahead of the competition because of a couple of key distinctions. First and foremost - our people and the family style culture we’ve created."
One of North Texas’s top 25 Round One PPP funders, 75% of Vista’s loans went to new customers, most of whom forged a great relationship with their Vista bankers and have remained active clients to this day.
John Steinmetz credited his team for the success leading to this designation. “Vista stays ahead of the competition because of a couple of key distinctions. First and foremost - our people and the family style culture we’ve created.” Vista’s Chief Communications Officer, Cathy Landtroop added that, “As with most award-winning companies, Vista’s culture starts at the top with a 43-year-old CEO who anticipates what’s ahead, crafts a proactive strategy to best position the employees, clients, and shareholders, then brings the best out of his team with loyal, skilled bankers that work around the clock to make that vision a reality. With a high employee retention level, 550% responsible, organic growth in the last decade, and a hockey stick trajectory, it’s worked.”
“In 2020, when big banks were paralyzed by overseas call centers and a ship that was too big to turn, community banks like Vista were able to step in and serve as the Amazon Prime of the CARES Act, delivering critical funds to Main Street businesses, ensuring friends and neighbors across Texas stayed off the unemployment line,” stated Steinmetz when referencing the second distinctive for Vista Bank. “We couldn’t have done that without quickly partnering with a local technology firm that built our bot-driven online application for the loans, collecting and populating the data into SBA required fields, then helping submit them when portal windows were open.” Whether bots, automation, AI, fraud detection, ITM (Interactive Teller Machines), risk management, or social and digital media, Vista’s early adoption of various technologies was a clear directive straight from their steadfast CEO, well executed by seasoned COO, Auden Herrera.
Having prioritized technological advances for the last several years, Steinmetz sensed the need for an all-new digital experience to help Vista’s clients during the pandemic and expedited the delivery date for those services. Launching a new website, online, and mobile banking app two months ahead of schedule allowed Vista’s clients to easily bank digitally, send money to one another, better track all their accounts, and manage their personal and business budgets by centralizing their financial information in one place.
Vista Bank recently adopted Moody’s Analytics as a digital solution to meet Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL)/Incurred Loss policies and the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard as well as stress test multiple property types in its lending portfolio and more thoroughly evaluate new loans in the origination process, to minimize risk for stakeholders.
When faced with the challenges of 2020, Steinmetz pictured the Vista Bank CEOs before him to gain perspective, helping him inspire the Vista family to step up for small and middle market companies in the fight of their lives. He did this by empowering and trusting his lieutenants more than ever before. Working closely with his COO to ensure team member safety, Steinmetz was determined the banking centers remain open for clients, even if that meant full-service drive-thrus and curbside banking when lobbies couldn’t be opened safely. He inspired his leaders and team to think outside the box and they rose to the challenge as they have in the past because according Ms. Landtroop, John Steinmetz “genuinely cares about people, walks the walk and will never be outworked regardless of the challenge at hand.” IE
John D. Steinmetz
President & CEO of Vista Bank
Established in 1912 and headquartered in Dallas, Vista Bank operates 15 locations throughout West Texas, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. With disciplined and organic asset growth in the last decade, Vista broke into the Top 100 Texas Banks by asset size in 2018. With a rich 108-year history of entrepreneurs banking entrepreneurs, Vista operates more like a start-up than a traditional Bank; offering innovative solutions to personal and commercial clients alike, while never sacrificing our top priority - People First.