Clear Mountain Financial institution reaches new heights – Unbiased Banker

An occasion at EMS in June introduced collectively (L–R) Clear Mountain Financial institution president/CEO Dave Thomas, ICBA president Rebeca Romero Rainey, FHLBank Pittsburgh president/CEO Winthrop Watson, and Tim Critchfield, EMS proprietor/president.

The West Virginia group financial institution helps small-business prospects get the financing they want whereas frequently looking for new concepts to plan for its personal future.

By Mindy Charski

Clear Mountain Financial institution

$850 million

Bruceton Mills, W.Va.

Clear Mountain Financial institution is embracing flexibility, innovation and collaboration because it continues its ascent as a small-business connector in West Virginia.

Contemplate, for instance, its industrial lending method. Business shoppers make up practically 60% of the mortgage portfolio on the $850 million-asset group financial institution based mostly in Bruceton Mills, W.Va. Most of these industrial prospects are small-business house owners.

Bankers at its 9 branches in north-central West Virginia and one in western Maryland spend time attending to know every buyer and understanding their distinctive circumstances. Then, they get right down to drawback fixing.

“You simply need to be open-minded about what the borrower’s wants are and create tailor-made options for them in order that they will meet their targets and aims,” says Dave Thomas, president and chief government officer. “We’ve bought totally different instruments in our toolbox that we will use to assist the borrower get the financing they want.”

Typically that interprets into how lenders construction a deal. One other answer might come within the type of a mortgage assured by the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration (SBA).

In fiscal yr 2021, Clear Mountain offered about $8 million in whole funding for 31 small companies in its state via the SBA’s assured mortgage program. The SBA West Virginia District Workplace named it the West Virginia Neighborhood Lender of the 12 months for 2021.

Bringing BOB into the combo

In the meantime, as a member monetary establishment of the Federal House Mortgage Financial institution of Pittsburgh, Clear Mountain can entry one other potential different for debtors. It may assist certified small companies get hold of secondary financing of as much as $200,000 via the federal residence mortgage financial institution’s Banking On Enterprise (BOB) program.

Fast Stat


of Clear Mountain Financial institution’s mortgage portfolio contains industrial lending, primarily to small companies.

“Typically small companies don’t have the capital to fulfill customary underwriting necessities … and wish one thing that may bridge the hole and assist them qualify for financing,” Thomas says. “[BOB] helps to make a mortgage that’s shut, however not fairly there, get throughout the end line.”

One buyer that Clear Mountain has secured a BOB mortgage for is Engine Administration Specialist (EMS), an organization based mostly in Clarksburg, W.Va., that gives providers associated to turbine engines. The first mortgage that EMS obtained from Clear Mountain, coupled with a BOB mortgage that was funded in June 2021, is enabling the corporate to develop its services and workforce.

Certainly, BOB loans can in the end profit not solely the borrower but in addition native communities. Up via the 2021 funding interval, Clear Mountain has secured 14 BOB loans and accessed about $1.8 million in funding. Thomas estimates these funds have helped protect 76 jobs and create 45 new ones.

Clear Mountain Financial institution president and CEO Dave Thomas says a nimble mindset towards lending is crucial for achievement. In 2021, the financial institution was named West Virginia Neighborhood Lender of the 12 months.

The surface-the-box mentality of the domestically owned and managed group financial institution extends past the lending division. “You must be nimble; it’s important to all the time be eager about what’s subsequent,” Thomas says. “You may’t get too connected to the way in which you’ve all the time carried out issues, as a result of the world’s altering at a fairly fast tempo.”

He sees the accountability of wanting “upward and outward” as one that may be shared among the many financial institution’s 168 workers. “I believe the place you get the perfect concepts is thru collaboration, via teamwork. That’s simply type of a cultural philosophy that now we have,” he says. “We’re blessed to have quite a lot of proficient of us inside the financial institution, so I’d actually be promoting us brief if I didn’t make the most of all the nice concepts that our group members have.”

An open door for innovation

To that finish, 4 forward-thinking bankers from totally different areas of Clear Mountain meet usually to think about how the financial institution can innovate on totally different fronts, together with technologically and culturally. The quartet, dubbed the Embers Group, current concepts to Thomas and the senior administration group for consideration.

They don’t work in a vacuum, nevertheless. The group seeks views about recent approaches to innovation from native enterprise leaders who’re exterior the banking business. They’ve additionally organized an innovation problem with prizes to collect actionable concepts from their colleagues.

A group member taking part in that competitors had the thought to create a monetary literacy program for native highschool college students, and it’s change into a spotlight of the Embers Group. The group bankers are working via know-how choices that might be integrated into the hassle, and so they have performed focus teams to grasp college students’ perceptions of banking.

“It’s a monetary literacy program that we hope to tie into some financial institution merchandise in order that we will get the subsequent technology of consumers began off on the precise foot,” Thomas says.

Clear Mountain’s collaborative spirit extends to see banks, too. The financial institution is a member of and is represented on each state financial institution commerce associations in West Virginia. Thomas serves on the Neighborhood Bankers of West Virginia’s board of administrators and can change into its chairman subsequent June.

As well as, Clear Mountain is considered one of 15 members of TopNet, a cooperative of group banks from throughout the Mountain State that discusses and addresses methods to realize monetary stability for his or her prospects and communities.

“The good half about group banking is we do contemplate ourselves a part of the identical group banking household,” Thomas says. “So, we’re not afraid to get collectively and speak overtly about what’s occurring in our banks and the way we may help one another. The group was notably useful as we have been going via the pandemic and had quite a lot of distinctive challenges.”

Mindy Charski is a author in Texas.