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Partner with the Right Bank for You with Jenny Saunders
Episode 516th September 2022 • Construction Disruption • Isaiah Industries
00:00:00 01:06:32

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Working with a bank shouldn’t be just another expense. Instead, seek a financial partner who will actively facilitate your success.

 

In this episode, FC Bank president Jenny Saunders shares her view of banking from thirty years of experience and breaks down the ideal banking relationship.

 

Jenny encourages you to pursue the right bank and to create an honest, open relationship built on trust. The best banks do more than manage your money; they help you apply for loans, lines of credit, and funding. They keep your money safe and streamline your transactions.  

 

If your current bank is more of a hindrance than a help, break up with them and find a financial partner who will treat you right.

 

Tune in for a banker’s perspective on banking relationships, advances in modern banking, advice on finding the right banker, and tips on improving your banking relationship.

 

Topics discussed in this episode: 

  • The state of the economy
  • Key financial areas to watch for construction
  • What to look for in a banking partner
  • Programs and services banks offer
  • SBA/PPP loans and the changing landscape of retail
  • How to have a productive relationship with your bank
  • The importance of community involvement
  • Smaller banks adapting to new technology
  • Banks tailoring service to best fit customers
  • Strategies to increase employee retention

 

Send Jenny an email or give her a call

 

For more Construction Disruption, listen on Apple Podcasts or YouTube

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This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Transcripts

Jenny Saunders:

:

I think, especially for the construction industry, keeping our eyes on whether we're truly moving into a recession or not is critical. Because as you think about construction, that industry in particular struggles more from being recession-proof per se, just because of the nature of recession.

Todd Miller:

:

Welcome to the Construction Disruption podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Todd Miller of Isaiah Industries, manufacturer of specialty metal roofing and other building materials and today my co-host is Ryan Bell. Ryan, how you doing today?

Ryan Bell:

:

I'm doing great, Todd. How are you?

Todd Miller:

:

I'm doing very well. So I heard a couple stories recently that were kind of interesting. So, yeah, we hear that Elon Musk, of course, is from South Africa, is what we've always been told. Actually that isn't true, it's been revealed.

Ryan Bell:

:

Really.

Todd Miller:

:

It's not true. He's actually from Madagascar. Mad at gas car, madagascar. Got it? Okay.

Ryan Bell:

:

Of course.

Todd Miller:

:

The other interesting thing I heard the other day, so all of the Norwegian military ships have large barcodes on the sides of them. So when the military ships come back into port, they can scan-da-navy-in, Scandinavian. Okay, yeah, that'll dawn on us all later maybe. Anyway, so one of the things that we do here on Construction Disruption is we have challenge words. And the last couple of episodes, the two hosts have had challenge words. And these are basically words where we challenge each other to work that word into the conversation. And so you, the audience can be listening to see if you pick up on, that was a weird word and see if you pick up on the challenge words and we'll reveal at the end how successful we were. Well the cool thing is, this episode, we are bringing our spotlighted guests in on the fun. So she is going to have a challenge word as well. So let's go ahead and get going. In today's episode of Construction Disruption, we're going to delve into a topic that is critical to all business owners and leaders, finance. Our guest today is Jenny Saunders of Columbus, Ohio. Jenny is president of FC Bank, a community oriented bank focused on meeting the financial needs of businesses and individuals in a way that only a very personal bank can do. Jenny has a long history in the banking industry going back over 30 years, including leadership roles at Bank One, Huntington National Bank, and PNC. For my years as a business owner and also working with other business owners across the country, I know the value and importance of a good financial partner. So I'm really looking forward and to delving into some great details on things that construction and design firm owners should be thinking about in managing and growing their businesses during this time. Jenny, welcome to Construction Disruption. It's a pleasure to have you as our guest today.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Well, thank you so much. I'm really looking forward to our conversation.

Todd Miller:

:

Great. Well, thank you again. And I will let our audience know this is kind of cool. Jenny and I have known each other for a few years now. We went to college together and Jenny, I have to tell you and apologize a bit here. Every time I talk to you, I feel like I need to apologize. I did something absolutely horrible to Jenny, I think our freshman year. Maybe it was sophomore year. I think it was freshman year. Is it okay if I tell this story? You're probably wondering, what's he talking about? You'll remember in a moment, I promise you.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Okay.

Todd Miller:

:

So I always feel like I need to apologize, though. So there was at some point, I think it was in our freshman year, we had to take some sort of English proficiency class and had to take a test, I guess it was, and pass this test. And Jenny was absolutely brilliant, top of her class coming out of high school, brilliant. And so I thought I'd play a joke on her. And I thought, you know, she'll never believe this. It'll just be, "Ha, ha, Todd, go away." So I forge a letter to her from the head of the English Department, Dr. Pasqualini, that states that she had failed her English proficiency test.

Jenny Saunders:

:

That's right. I forgot about that.

Todd Miller:

:

I think I ran into you right after you opened it in the student center and you were not happy. And I have felt horrible ever since so, my apologies again for that.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Well, no worries. It clearly did not scar me for life because I had forgotten it, although perhaps I blocked it out.

Todd Miller:

:

That could be. You know, honestly, I think that probably would get me kicked out of a college today if you did something like that.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Oh my goodness. We did have a lot of fun times back then in college for sure.

Todd Miller:

:

Thank you for not turning me in for that and getting me written up or something.

Ryan Bell:

:

So, Todd, you came clean then, right? After you ran into her?

Todd Miller:

:

I did, as I recall. I think I quickly did.

Jenny Saunders:

:

As I think back to it now, I think I was literally melting down outside the mail. Outside where our boxes were.

Todd Miller:

:

It was a painful experience.

Jenny Saunders:

:

It might have had more of a dramatic effect than Todd was hoping for.

Todd Miller:

:

So, again, my apologies. Well, let's go ahead and get to the topic at hand. Right now, you know, we live in a time that everyone says, you know, the future is rather uncertain. Some people are warning, maybe even warning, more than warning now of a recession. And we know that inflation has been documented. But you and I have both been around business and things long enough that we know that, I don't care what you think, the future is never 100% certain. There's always some uncertainty. So I'm curious, though, what do you find in working with your clients at the bank? What do you find is weighing most heavily on the minds of those business owners today?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Well, certainly part of the challenge business owners are facing right now is really, to your point, just the uncertainty, right? When you think about the pandemic starting in 2020 and all the impacts that it has had since then on all of us, from a business perspective, from a personal perspective. Every time you think you've heard sort of the last thing or you weathered the last storm, right, then something else comes along. It just seems like there's just this overwhelming news that keeps coming out, just one punch right after the other. As we're talking to our business owners, what we're seeing is the same thing I'm sure that you're hearing as well is, you know, there's supply chain shortages, right. And not just shortages, but just the cost of supplies where you see that inflation pace coming along and labor, you know, challenges. That's definitely something we're hearing a lot of is you can't find people to work. Skilled labor, of course, is a challenge as well. We're certainly trying to go back to where we're trying to encourage trades now way more than we did before, right. So in the beginning, when I was going to college many moons ago, college is where you were to go, right. Like that was where everybody was supposed to go. And what we've done now is we've marginalized trade careers, honestly. And so now we don't have enough plumbers. We don't have enough electricians, we don't have enough. You know, I was at a small business council yesterday for the Ohio Chamber, and somebody was there talking about automotive repair shops and the fact that we don't have mechanics to be able to fix cars. So, you know, you think about that. But it's not just trade organizations or companies, it's every company out there. I can't find bankers, restaurant folks can't find servers, you know, it's everywhere. And that labor, when you do find it is significantly more expensive than what it was pre-pandemic, right. And in fact, someone said yesterday that the cost of labor is higher than the cost of inflation. Right now, it's exceeding what inflation is. And so when you think about the fact that you've got inflation, you've got labor challenges and then supply chain challenges, those add for very uncertain times in an economy that we're really not sure where it is heading.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah.

Jenny Saunders:

:

There's a lot of gloom and doom. By the way, I'm not normally so gloomy.

Todd Miller:

:

And it's interesting because in the in the construction industry, you're right, we we face all of those challenges. And, you know, we have noted some time in our little segment of roofing that labor has been the driver in raising the higher costs of roofing, much more so than materials has been for for a number of years at this point. But as we think about construction companies, you know, they often also have a number of other unique financial needs. You know, we've got payouts, schedules on projects, weather delays, they may have customers that have construction loans and they have to deal with that. Can you give us any insight on things that you feel the owners of construction companies should really be keeping an eye on at this time?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Yeah, I think especially for the construction industry, keeping our eyes on whether we're truly moving into a recession or not is critical. Because as you think about construction, that industry in particular struggles more from being recession-proof per se, just because of the nature of recessions, right. Construction, to your point, as you just mentioned, has all of those outside factors that a business owner in construction doesn't have a lot of control over, right? So then it becomes a situation where you really have to focus on the things that you do have control over. And, you know, one of those things, you know, how is your cash situation? Do you have a line of credit? You know, we talk about that with all of our business owners. But when you're in an industry that has as much fluctuation in what your payment resource can be, a line of credit is critical so that you can weather any of those ebbs and flows that happen. And then how is your capital source right for when you may have a project that just stops dead in its tracks for whatever reason, and you're already on the hook for supplies and labor. You've already got that built in, right? And then all of a sudden, something completely out of your control causes that project to not move forward. How are you set and able to be able to manage or handle that, that storm? I also think in construction in particular, making sure that all of your limbs are perfected so that you're always in a position if something you know, unfortunately goes awry, that you're protected and what is owed to you. From a construction business, that that is really an important thing that sometimes people lose sight of, right. Making sure that your liens are perfected and that your collateral per se, which is really secure. And then again, depending on the type of construction in your business, how are you handling and managing your supply issues, right? So if you know, is there a backlog of supplies and and how do you use that to manage the projects you have going forward? How are you handling right now with the inflation that we have going? How are you handling the increased cost? You know, in some cases, I had somebody yesterday again tell me that, you know, their price increases on their supplies are going up sometimes daily. And it's almost overwhelming to be able to try and manage that, right. So are you passing that cost on to your customers? Are you not passing it on? What's your threshold for? If that cost goes to a certain point, then I need to do a price increase. Are you, as we talked about a little bit previously, are you increasing prices because the cost of labor or is that something that you're assuming you know? So what's your risk threshold or around to all of that so that you can weather whatever storm comes? You know, it's interesting. I was just talking to a nonprofit that I'm on the board of. We're looking at the same thing. It's what do we have in place to kind of help us navigate those storms? You know, because when you're in the heat of it, when your cash is at a low or something just happened, then you got all that emotion, right, because you're responsible for all these employees and you're responsible for your projects and all of that. That's not when you want to be making these decisions. If you have some of that thought process in place ahead of time, then if those things come through, you can kind of pull that trigger very rationally as opposed to making an emotional decision. It's the same for the bank. We have to stress test similar things right now with rates going up and how do we manage that on our end as well? So what's your stress test? Right. Do you have one? And and how did you do.

Todd Miller:

:

That is some great advice. I mean, right there is worth any one's paying some attention and listening to this episode. You touched on a lot of things there that I just see a lot of contractors are not in the habit of paying attention to, and I think especially after the last few years that have been so booming and they haven't even had to think about those things, making that transition to thinking about them can be tough. So, so spot on wisdom there, thank you. You know, one of the things I was meeting with a contractor earlier this week or a company that is starting a new business. And he talked about their process of choosing a banking partner and they actually were able to tap into some SBA financing, which is going to be a great vehicle for them. But I'm curious, what would you say that if there's someone out looking for a new banking relationship partner, what are the top five or six things that a company should look for in their banking partner?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So I think the first thing is always getting a relationship. So making sure that you have somebody that is is really going to listen to you, is going to talk to you, is somebody that's really going to be a partner in what you're trying to accomplish. And if you've got somebody, you go into a bank and they're like, just drop off your package, right? And then you walk out. That's not going to be somebody that's really going to understand what it is you're trying to do and be there to help you in the good times and the bad times, right. I mean, you don't want somebody that's looking there to see, wow, great calligraphy on that package, but it doesn't really get you where, you know, doesn't really help you with what you're trying to do. So to me, that above all things, especially when you want somebody who really is in the trenches with you, if you run into a situation where you're a little you know, where you've run into a downturn, you want somebody that's going to think outside the box. So, often, and, you know, I'll give a plug for community banks. But often in your larger commercial banks, it's very cookie cutter, right. Everybody goes into a certain bucket and there's no wiggle room, right. So, you know, here's the checking account you get or here's the financing you get. And it may not be exactly what you need, but that's what we offer and so you need to adjust. Community banks in particular tend to, at least we do anyway, we build the account, we build what the customer needs around their needs as opposed to what we want, so that it's much more about the client and not so much about the bank. So that way you're not, you know, getting an account or financing that has, you know, twenty components and you only need three of them, right? You're paying for stuff that you're not even going to be using. You know, make sure it's somebody that's really asking great open-ended questions and getting you to think. So, you know, what are your capital needs? Where do you want to be in five years? What's your succession planning? You know, how are you going to handle payroll? How are you going to do collections? What sort of collateral do you have? And if there's a collateral shortfall, how is the bank going to help you with that? So, for example, you know, should you get some SBA guarantee to help shore that up. Should you look at some mezzanine funding, you know, where you've got somebody that could potentially help invest in your company. And if you go that route, make sure you really understand what that means. Because sometimes mezzanine funding means you still have complete control of your company and sometimes people grab mezzanine funding, right? And all of a sudden you've got another seat at the table making decisions that aren't maybe the decisions you would be making. I think the most important thing is for a business owner to have a great set of questions going in about what you're looking for in a banking relationship, what sort of financial advice do you need? What kind of questions do you have? It should be you interviewing the bank, not the other way around. That's a different way to approach it. I like to sit around a table where we're all kind of sitting there having a conversation. You're just sitting across from a desk. How much are you really involved in that discussion, or are you kind of there waiting for for the bank to rubber stamp a yes or a no? Right. So those are the things that I would recommend. It needs to be a conversation and you need to know that that bank is going to be there with you and good times and bad. And I'm not saying that everybody's going to have bad times, but there's going to be a time where maybe payroll doesn't get there in time. But people have payroll checks. You know, is that bank going to cover those for you? Are they going to leave you hanging out there right with your employees, reaching back out to you, saying, my check, I went into cash this and my check didn't clear. I mean, that's reputational for you as well, right. And so, you know, what are all of those checks and balances? Do you have your banker's cell phone number? You know, now we give our cell phone numbers. I don't necessarily want somebody calling me while I'm on vacation in California like I did the other week. But we texted back and forth so that I could help get him to the right person so that he could get what he needed. I mean, that's important that you have the ability to reach out because what's happening in your company isn't going to necessarily fall between 9 to 5. Right. I mean, especially contractors who are out on the weekends and, you know, sometimes on the evenings, all those different things you need to if you've got an issue, you need to be able to get a hold of your banker when you have it on your terms, not on theirs.

Todd Miller:

:

That's some great advice and I think a little bit about, you know, I think some companies will go out and choose the bank that is convenient for them. Well, I may have to go down the street to make my deposits, but so that's some great advice there because, you know, ultimately, you know, when you choose a bank, you know, you you want this beautiful South American tree frog, colorful and help for you. You don't want a toad or something. So good stuff.

Jenny Saunders:

:

And Todd, one other thing I would say around that, is you don't have to have a bank that's right around the corner anymore. With all the different, now we like to see people come into our branches, so it's not about pushing people out. But if you find a bank that's really going to provide you the relationship that you want, you know, you can have it. We've, there's so many options now. You can scan checks, you know, from your office. You can have vaults in your office now and just put the deposits in there. And when you do that and credit your account right away, so it's not like you're waiting for, you know, to make a trip to the bank. So there are lots of different things that banks can do now so that it doesn't have to be the bank around the corner that's most convenient. It can really be the bank that's going to deliver the best service for you.

Todd Miller:

:

Absolutely. Good advice. So any particular financial instruments or programs that you find are helpful to contractors or those in the construction world?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So typically, a lot of times, contractors will need letters of credit depending on what the project is and, you know, what they may need to do to provide the project owner a guarantee that they can deliver. And so letters of credit have to be underwritten, just like full loans. So for people that don't know that, that's why you'll be asked to provide a full financial package. They're typically inexpensive and there's usually a fee that's charged for it. It's similar to bonding. I mean, when you think about a letter of credit, it's the same thing sort of as an insurance surety bond or some things like that, banks provide that. Again, I've mentioned letters or I'm sorry, lines of credit. Sometimes those are harder for contractors and construction owners to get because they have to be secured. And depending on whether you're just starting out or you've been in business a long time, you may or may not have that type of collateral. Typically, lines of credit are 10% of your overall gross receipts. So when you think about that, that gives you kind of a benchmark. So if you're, just for easy math, because I'm a Poly Sci major, if you do a $100,000 business, $10,000 would be typically what a bank would give you in a line of credit. So, you know, just to have sort of that benchmarking, remember that lines of credit are really used specifically for ebbs and flows in your business payroll, helping potentially with maybe supply chain issues, those sorts of things. If you need equipment or you're looking to purchase property, you want more of what we would call a term loan or a capital loan, which would be fixed. So you'd have a fixed interest rate, you'd have set payments every month and it would amortize and at the end of it you would be paid off. Lines of credit tend to be variable. So right now for anybody out there that has a line of credit with the rising rate environment, there would be additional cost. Those businesses are starting to see now because most of those are based they're floating typically on prime. And so as those rates start to go up, you're going to see some cash flow challenges or some so contracting of your cash flow because you're paying a higher rate of interest now on those funds than what you were before. So that's something to keep in mind as you're matriculating through this period of time is, you know what percent is your line of credit? Your variable line of credit on what's the parameters? Does it have a floor? Does it have a cap? And really be thinking about how much do you want to have on that line of credit? Because that money is more expensive now than it was 60 days ago. It's going to be more expensive the next time the Fed meets in September because we're probably going to have another half a percent hike in rates. And there's talk of even one more rate hike yet before the end of the year. So anything that's variable like that will continue to cost you more money. So part of what business owners need to think about then, is do I want to move some of maybe what I have on my line of credit that maybe I didn't really use for, you know, ebb and flow, maybe I went ahead and bought a piece of equipment on that or I used it because that was the easier way to go. Do you want to lock that in to some sort of fixed rate now before rates go up again? Those are things we haven't had to think about for a really long time because we were in such a low interest rate environment. On the flip side, if you have extra cash, you know, now is the time to see. You know, we're starting to see savings account rates inch up a little bit. It's still not great. But really looking at that as well to see, you know, am I getting the best interest rate on my excess cash? And and then the other thing I would say is, you know, it still makes more sense if you're comfortable with your cash flow, if you have debt out there, if your when your savings accounts are paying less and your interest rate is higher on debt, it makes more sense to pay off that debt as long as you're comfortable with the cash that you have on hand. Because what you're earning on that cash versus what you're paying on that debt, you're in an inverse situation. So all things that you need to really look at. And again, as you're sort of thinking more long term, I mean, inflation stayed flat in the month of July. Now, some people would say it was zero, which we know is not true. It was really eight and a half percent. But is it going to stay at eight and a half? Is it going to go down? Is it going to go up? Nobody really knows. I think inflation is going to be with us for a while. We have generated too much cash into our economy. When you create all that extra cash like we did with all the stimulus bill, money and everything that we did, you know, to help to help offset the pandemic issues that we were having. That money doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't just disappear. It's in our system now. And so that's a big part of our problem is the economy has been too hot, there's too much money in it. And then you throw in, you know, we already were experiencing supply chain issues with the pandemic, right. So, you know, we talked all the time, right. I remember over all the years that I've been around about, you know, offshoring everything that we did. So we've offshored everything. And then guess what? We have a worldwide pandemic. Everything shuts down. It's really hard to bring that stuff back in now, right. Our ports were closed because people weren't working because of the pandemic, a sea of all this stuff that really, you know, adds to it. And now we've added conflict, right, with Ukraine and Russia. And we're going to need to keep an eye on China and Taiwan as well. I mean, anybody that needs glass, you know, as part of their production, that area of the country produces an enormous amount of glass that we use for other things. And so, you know, Ukraine is fertilizer and grain. And so, you know, all of that stuff adds up. And then you have, you know, the government really working towards ESG stuff, you know, so, you know, electric cars and all of that stuff that is impacted fossil fuel, which is why, you know, all of energy is going up. So you have all of these things and then the pandemic's not really over, right? And now we we have the next wave of pandemic potentially coming, right? And so all that stuff isn't in our control. And so you really have to focus on what you can control within your business, which goes back again to, you know, your cash, your employees, your loans, your savings, your projects, your leans, all of those different things to try and ensure you're in the best situation to weather whatever storm comes your way, that's not necessarily in your control. And again, Debbie Downer.

Todd Miller:

:

No it's the reality. You know, that's really why I was excited to have you on here was to get people thinking about the things that they need to be thinking about right now. I know I'd mentioned earlier those friends of mine that had started a business and got some SBA supported financing. And we've heard that here coming out of the pandemic, that a lot of new businesses have been started. Have you seen the SBA being fairly active or have they been kind of holding off?

Jenny Saunders:

:

SBA is winding down, PPP, obviously, all that stimulus money that went out, we are finishing up that ourselves. We are seeing not just the SBA, but there's lots of different grants and whatnot available through different communities, cities, and the state as well. And, you know, every bank should be an expert or at least have that information available so that they can help provide that extra cushion of money. In many cases, that money is free. Well, you don't have to pay it back. There's a fee to use it. So, for example, if you have a collateral shortfall, you know, the state right now has a program that they can give a percentage of what you're short to, kind of help, you know, strengthen that. So there are lots of different things like that. The SBA is always an option. And I think now that we're past the stimulus, they're kind of getting their machine back up and running more efficiently than maybe what it's been in the past. Because, you know, if you were trying to do a traditional SBA loan over the last year or two, it took a long time. Right, because there was a limited number of resources and they were all pointed at a certain, you know, a certain thing. I think community development courts, just about everybody has those. Those are partners we work with. Banks work with them so we can do a loan directly through the SBA or we can use the Community Development Corp to help kind of mentor that and shepherd that through. That's really a great experience for customers, I think, because you sort of have a champion, right, besides the bank that that's helping to lead that through. So yeah, I think if you're looking to start a business again, reach out to a bank and have them partner with you and they'll help be able to pull in all those different resources. Or if they can't help, you can refer you, they should help you. But if you find somebody that doesn't help you, they should at least be able to guide you to where you should go to be able to help that. And I think we are seeing more and more startups because as we're, you know, hopefully going into the endemic right and now moving to that next phase. And of course, we have all these other challenges I just mentioned. There are businesses we need that didn't exist prior to the pandemic, right. But now we need to help us as we move forward. And we're seeing businesses reinvent themselves, too, right. Like that business wasn't sustainable during the pandemic and I still need to provide. And so now I'm now I'm doing this. So the entrepreneurial spirit in America is still very, very strong. And it's it's exciting to see what people are doing. And, you know, it'll be interesting to see because, for example, the restaurant industry will never be what it was prior to the pandemic. I mean, it's forever changed. I would say the same for retail. I don't know about you guys, but I'm all about Christmas through Amazon now, man. I just if I don't have to go into a mall or a store to do that, honestly, I'm probably spending more now, my husband would say, because I'm not going to the store anymore, right. Like you would go and. But what happens, you know, to all of that retail space? We're already seeing that, right? We saw that during the pandemic. We're seeing it more, you're seeing big boxes, you know, closing down. And then people, then what do you do with those spaces? Well, Amazon helped with that is now buying some of those spaces, right. And using it for distribution centers, right. Or at the mall up here at Polaris, we in Columbus, we we had a Sears, you know, Sears is no more, right. And so they changed that space and it's called the Fieldhouse, but it's got basketball courts and soccer and people are looking for things like that. We're not the same as we were before the pandemic. Every single one of us is different. And how that changes with how we do business and and how things matriculate through there is going to continue to be something very interesting to watch.

Todd Miller:

:

I agree. Very good. So you've touched on things that the bank can do for their clients, but I kind of want to look at that from the other angle. What are things that business owners should be doing and paying attention to in order to ensure a productive and helpful relationship with their banking partner?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So we should be your first call if something doesn't look like it's going to be the way you want it to be, that enables us to be able to help you. So often what we'll see with businesses is the last person they want to call is their bank because they don't want them to know that they might be having a tough time or they might be struggling a little bit. Because they may cut off my line of credit or they may, you know, they may do this or they may do that. But we know from the beginning that this is what you know, that you're worried about this. Even if you're just worried about it, like it hasn't even happened yet. We can often come in and help work with you to find a solution so that it doesn't get to a point where, you know, your line of credit is frozen or any of those horrible things banks do to businesses while they're trying to make a living. So I think that's to me that that is the most important thing. View your banker as a partner and they should be your first call when something looks awry. Other than that, I would say, you know, get us your financial documents when you say you're going to. I mean, you know, your tax returns, all of that, when that stuff is required, it helps us and it helps you. It helps us as bankers when we're looking to go to a loan committee to do an increase or to lower your rate or to lower your risk rating, all things, by the way, that your bank should be proactively doing for you, not something you should be asking for. When you provide us the documents that your your loan covenants request on time, that helps us be able to go in and tell a really great story to people that are helping to make credit decisions, right. So it helps us help you from that perspective if you're thinking about expansion or doing something different again. Make us your first call because we can be a reality check and say, Oh, yeah, that's a great idea. Or whoa Nelly, I think maybe we should hold off just a little bit, you know, before we do that, or did you think about this or think about that or somebody that I can link you to? And then the last thing I would say is that if something's not going right in the relationship, give your banker a chance to fix that. Sometimes, you know, we'll think everything's going along great. And it's only when you ghost us and you don't return the call. We're like, Oh, something's not quite right here. What is it? I think we're all good people trying to do the best we can, right? Businesses, bankers, and we all need each other, right? Like, I know if businesses could do without without an attorney, an accountant and a banker, they'd probably be happy, right? Because they all cost money. And, you know, it's almost like, all right, I got to go meet with the banker. I got to go meet with my attorney. They're going to charge me money and they're going to tell me something I don't want to hear. And, you know, that's not how it should work. I mean, we should all be partners trying to get you to the place that you want to be. And again, if that's not the relationship you have with your banker, I would plead with you and tell you that is the relationship you should have with your banker and you're not banking with the right bank if that's not what you have.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Maybe it's because of our common roots of the years we spent together in college. But you made a statement there that I've said so many times, and that is, at our heart we're all good people trying to do the right thing, and that really changes perspective, I think, when we keep that in mind. So speaking of that, FC Bank and you are very active there in the community and play a very supportive role and I think that's so cool. I get to watch on Facebook all the fun things that you get to do, but how do you feel that that helps to support the community? To what end? And you know, what benefit do your business clients get from that, from having a stronger community?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So for us, and what drove me to want to work here at FC Bank was the focus on the community. And for us it's important that the communities that we support are successful and thrive and that our mission and values are aligned to those missions, the values of the communities we serve. And so for me, getting to lead a bank that was headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, was super exciting because that's where I live and that's where our kids go to school. And so it was fairly easy for me to be able to identify all the things that we could do to help make Worthington even a more amazing place to live than it already was. And so, you know, one of the first things that we did was become the title sponsor, well the only sponsor for the Concerts on the Green, which is a community event that's held here every Sunday during the summer where different groups come in and perform. And we created the Ten Fantastic Charity program to go along with that. And so this coming Sunday we'll announce our winners. But essentially what happens is everybody goes, you know, you vote for your nonprofit to go into a runoff and then those ten finalists are picked. And then all summer they get to come into the concert and tell their story. So, you know, maybe there's somebody, a nonprofit that somebody didn't even know anything about that, they get to learn about and then they get to vote. And at the end, this Sunday, we'll give back a total of $10,000 back into our community. Every one of those nonprofits will receive something. We focus on the food pantry, the schools, the arts, the McConnell Arts Center. And we do this with every single community that we're in. We approach it that way. We have, you know, money budgeted to go and do this. And and really, for me, what I love seeing happen and for any of our listeners that are up in the Bucyrus market, we did something right before the pandemic. We hosted an iceless skating rink, and there was nothing. It was for their Candlelight Christmas event. We gave away hot chocolate and coffee and people were like, Why are you doing that? And it's like, because it's a cool thing to do for the community. And what happened was the following year, so Candlelight Christmas was was doing all right. It was a chamber event. But the following year, a lot of other businesses got involved. There were ham giveaways and people were wondering where the ice rink was going to be. And we did the ice rink two nights and it became a much larger community event and other businesses and organizations started participating. And we see that in Worthington and we'll see that in Westerville when we open that branch there, it's that way in Cardington. And so for me, it's about getting other businesses and organizations to also step up, right? Because there's plenty of business for all of us, there is. I mean, now I want my fair share of it just like anybody else does. I mean, there's there's no doubt about that. But there's plenty of business. And when we all work together to improve the communities that we're in, we all win because they're more attractive for people to live in and they're more attractive for other businesses to want to come in, and that helps all of us gain more business. And honestly, if you're doing the right thing, your business will grow organically and intrinsically. And you won't have to, you won't hear us, now we will ask people to bank with us, but we're not going to ask that right out of the gate, because then it's about us and not about you. What we want to know, first of all, is all about you. And if the conversation matriculate to the right spot, then, you know, we we might ask for the business. You know, we've had a great conversation with, you know, should we move forward with business? But at the end of the day, if you're doing the right thing and you're out in the community, I mean, we don't just write checks, we volunteer, we sit on boards. When we do events, we are there helping to participate because this is where our people live, too, right? I mean, our employees live in these places. And so it just makes it a much better place to be and to live. And it makes you feel really good when you go to bed at night that you made a difference, right. And so that's me in a nutshell. And what we're trying to accomplish, that's the bank and we can always do more. But I'm very proud of the different things that we've done and supported and that will continue to do.

Ryan Bell:

:

Yes. I want to chime in here a little bit. I think for every small business, it's important to be involved in community, and I think a lot of them try and do different things. I also think there's probably some like, well, doubt, they're like, is this really worth my time and investment? But really, you know, I live not far from you and we love our community that we live in here. We love the small businesses and seeing them get involved is always awesome and it just brings the community together. So I love a lot of what you said there. We have a bank that's not too far from my house. They do an amazing job, I feel like, with community events inside the bank, they have an actual coffee shop with a barista.

Jenny Saunders:

:

I know where you bank now.

Ryan Bell:

:

You know. I don't bank there and I'm going to get to this in a second. But, you know, they have this coffee and cars thing on the weekends where they have old cars there and I always stop and look at them. Anyways, I've always been drawn to that bank and I love small community banks. As a millennial, though, something that kind of has deterred me is, is the technology available from the smaller banks compared to the larger banks. You know, I do a lot of stuff from my phone and the functionality of apps and all that being available in my hand all the time whenever I need it. And being a good experience has always been something that's very important to me and has kept me from going back to a credit union like I have banked with before. That was what made me leave, was not being able to do stuff on my phone, and that might be silly, but as a millennial, it's something that's important to me. And I feel like the technology bridge is kind of closing a little bit. And there's more ways for the smaller community banks to compete with these larger banks. When it comes to technology, is there anything new or, you know, any programs that are related to banking that you think will have a positive impact in the future years down the road, especially for the smaller community banks?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So that's a great question and technology is really expensive, which is why you've seen such a big gap between, you know, large banks who have just an extraordinary amount of capital to be able to invest in R&D and then be able to get get that out, right. Versus smaller community banks where, you know, I mean, we have banks across the state of Ohio that that are only $100 million in assets, right, versus some that are in the trillions, right. In the billions and all of that. And so a couple of things are happening. One is your large institutions and your fintechs have done a lot of the development, research and development. So now those sorts of things are available at a much lower cost for credit unions and smaller community banks to be able to offer their customers because where the real expense is, is on the front end with the research and development, right? So as some of those things continue to come along, community banks and credit unions can purchase that technology to be able to offer. At FC, we've always made technology part of something, since before I came here that we knew we had to be a part of. We didn't want to become the Barnes and Noble of banking, or not Barnes and Noble, I'm sorry. Barnes and Noble you're still here. Borders, right. Or Blockbuster, right? That's who everybody points out, right? Blockbuster didn't adjust right when Netflix or Redbox came in and and they're no more. And, you know, which makes me sad, because one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night was take my daughter and go peruse the movies, right. And figure out I mean, you lose that experience, too, I guess now we do it on our TV. So from a being able to do it on your phone, I already mentioned from a business perspective how you can do scanning your checks. Now you can you can have literally have small cash vaults in your office that you immediately get credit for. You know, now you can get almost always just scan on your phone, a credit card payment, right? Like you have the ability to do that. All of that is going to continue. And that's something we're quite proud of that we offer and that we're continuing to look at. In fact, we have what's called smart centers. Now, the one we opened in Westerville will be like that as well, where it's all wireless and there's no teller line and you can literally sit on the couch and from an iPad, be able to run your transaction and then punch in a code over in the wall, it'll spit out your receipt. So, I mean, you know, all of those kind of really cool things, our ETMs, our enhanced teller machines. If you go to one of those in a drive thru or standalone, you have the option to use it as an ATM so you don't have to talk to anybody. You also have the option to actually press a button and a real person will come on the other end and have a full blown banking relationship conversation with you. You don't even need to bring your debit card anymore. You can use your your license. You can literally hold your license up to the screen and it'll read the QR code and be able to. So there are all sorts of really cool things like that. But, you know, here's one of the really interesting things I share with people because because we have the millennials who really always want to do that, right? And banks are trying to figure out how do we capture, you know, that generation? And then we still have our parents out there banking who don't want to do technology. Or like my mom, she's listening, wants to do technology, but struggles to figure it out, right? So she does it and then Marc always has to go over to tell her how to fix it, right. But she really wants to, you know, that's cool. And she wants to be part of that. That will be us one day, by the way. But here's something interesting, I think. When you talk about how people do banking or anything and technology and how it impacts things. So I have three children that are very spread apart. I mean, my second marriage. So I have a daughter who's 32 and her mode of using the Internet and connecting with people, everything is Facebook, which is old people now, right? Like, I love Facebook, but that's the way of us now. But my daughter still uses Facebook. She uses Instagram and she still uses Web, M.D. and, you know, some of those things to get her information right. My son, who's 25, he's all about Reddit and then like he fact checks me on Reddit, which really irritates me, right. I'll say something and the next thing I know, he's whipped out his phone and he's going into Reddit. I'm like, really? Are you fact checking me, really, truly? And then Nate, who will be 15 in a couple of weeks, it's YouTube. All of his information is through YouTube and he watches everything. It doesn't matter what side, what an opinion is or anything it's and Tik Tok and Snapchat, right. So there's three children all raised in the same household, right. But when you look at 32 to 15, how quickly our use of the Internet and technology has changed? Right. And it's interesting, you know, newspapers, another perfect example, right. I miss holding a paper in my hand. I also miss really great articles because, you know, journalists are a dying breed. But you think about things like that, about how much that has changed and what is the place also for technology in the whole scheme of things? Because I would argue that social media, which is not really what you were talking about, now it's taking us down a whole different path but has helped divide us as opposed to bring us together. So how do we use technology for good, not evil? And how do we use it to enhance our experiences but not replace them? So we want banking to be as easy and we want it to be where people want it to be. I want you, Ryan, to be able to bank the way you want a bank, right. And if that's on your phone or, you know, however it is, you want a bank, we want you to be able to bank that way. But we we still want have a relationship with you. So how do you have a relationship? Still have that and be able to provide the experience the customer wants with the ease. And so that's where we're trying to blend that with our smart centers. So you can still come in to a branch if you want to, and it's going to have all the cool bells and whistles so that it's more about the experience than it is about the transaction, right. So it'll be interesting to see as technology becomes less expensive, I think you'll see more and more of your smaller banks and credit union. They'll have to or they won't be in business because that's what people want to do. That was a really long, rambling question that if you were a frog you would have fallen asleep on. But, you know, that's that's how that works.

Todd Miller:

:

Bonus points. Very good, we'll explain that to our listeners here in a bit. Very good. Well, one last question before we kind of go into our wrap up. You touched on it earlier, Jenny. I mean, a huge shortage of workers out there in the construction industry has been crying those blues now for for several years. Is there anything you've seen out there that has made companies particularly successful? I mean, best practices or other things that have helped them in recruiting?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Yeah, I think that's what we're all trying to figure out now, right. I mean, is how do we do that? And I feel like at some point we're going to reach that bubble, right, where we're going to get through this and be to the other side. And, you know, it's funny because I was reading something the other day that said the Great Resignation is starting to turn to the Great Regret, right. Where people that quit work are now like, Oh, maybe this wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be, or left to go for more money or for some sort of promise. And the culture wasn't what they thought it was going to be or it was that, you know, it's the same story. It's just now I make more money, but I'm still just as unhappy as I was before, right. Well, it's interesting, because when I was at the Ohio Small Business Council yesterday, there was someone there that was talking about a couple of really innovative things that I thought were really cool. One was creating sort of an emergency savings account that a certain part of it was going every the company was paying it. And I think at the end of the year, it's like $3500. So they're a small company, about 35 employees, but they're required to take four financial literacy classes, and they're required to be there at the end to get it paid out. And so I thought that was sort of interesting to try and retain employees, but give them a little something. Something else that somebody mentioned that I thought was also very interesting was instead of doing increases. So, you know, everybody's like everybody's getting paid more. Now, I need inflation, you know, increases and all of that. They're doing an inflation sort of stipend and so they're taking a look. It's not a permanent pay increase. So every month they look to see what inflation was and then they're doing some sort of factoring into that. And then they're giving a little, you know, a bump in everybody who's employed at that time for that month to kind of help with that. But the nice thing about doing something like that is when costs do go down, you're not locked into, you know, sort of this permanent increase, which, you know, is the other thing. As we're increasing pay for employees, once inflation goes away, you're not going to be able to go back or goes down. You're going to have to go back to say, oh, hey, everybody, take a pay cut because it's cheaper to live now. Right. I mean, these are hard increases that are going to be with us going forward, depending on how. But it is more expensive to live. And we as business owners do have a responsibility to take care of our employees. I mean, and there are people out there that are really hurting, right. That are trying to figure out how to, you know, make ends meet and buy groceries and put gas in the tank to go back and forth. And it is our responsibility as business owners to care for our employees that we have. And so but it works. But we also take care of ourselves because if we're not financially healthy, we're not going to be in business to be able to offer them anything, right. So it's this big conundrum as you try to figure it out. And again, it's one of those things that we have to be thoughtful about, but we also have to be nimble enough and open enough to look at things as they change, because we are in a really quickly moving, changing environment. And what we decided a month ago, or two months ago, or this time last year is not the same even set of circumstances we're in now. And so we have to be able to adjust and look at things differently, which is hard for the human race in general, because we're not used to this amount of change. But business owners in particular, because when you think about all the responsibilities and things that a business owner is managing and then you've got to be able to change on a dime. We already talked about that, right, with like increased supply chain increases, right. If your product is going up and you're seeing product increases at a fairly quick clip. You know, how do you even keep up with that? Right, to be able to ensure that you're doing what's best for your company? So that's that's my thoughts there.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. No, that's great. And, you know, I love what you said. I mean, as business owners, we have a responsibility to take care of our people and that's good stuff. So, thank you so much. We're pretty much closing in on the end of our time. Before we close out, though, I want to ask you if you'd be willing to participate in our rapid-fire questions. So these are seven questions, maybe a little serious, maybe a little silly. All you gotta do is provide a short answer for each one. Our audience understands that if Jenny agrees to this, she has no idea what we're about to ask her. So are you feeling up to the challenge of rapid-fire?

Jenny Saunders:

:

I am.

Todd Miller:

:

Good, because I don't know what I'd do if you weren't. So I haven't had anyone turn us down yet. So away we go. Ryan, I'm going to let you ask the first question.

Ryan Bell:

:

Alright. So this is a question that comes up a lot here, and it's one of our favorites. If you had to eat a crayon, what color would you eat?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Purple.

Todd Miller:

:

Boy, that was a quick response.

Ryan Bell:

:

I'm always surprised how quickly people know what color crayon they would eat.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, it's almost like they've thought about this. Question number two, why don't we talk about Bruno?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So great question. Because he's a scary, freaky man. So I didn't want to just burst into song there, but I also wanted to go, you know, Todd, I had a car called Bruno for a long time, and I almost went there.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, that was the prompt for the question. Yes, Jenny and I spent quite a bit of time in Bruno, which was probably about a 64 Catalina. I think it was a Catalina.

Jenny Saunders:

:

It was a Catalina that could fit 12 people in it comfortably, which we did. And we did Chinese fire drills, which we should not promote at all.

Todd Miller:

:

Let's not tell our kids.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Yeah, yeah. That car, I'll never forget your parents. Every time I drove up in that car and the horrified look they had.

Todd Miller:

:

I don't remember that, but.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Oh, yeah.

Todd Miller:

:

Is she going to be safe?

Jenny Saunders:

:

He's not getting in that with her.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Ryan, go ahead.

Ryan Bell:

:

Favorite vacation you've ever taken?

Jenny Saunders:

:

We went to Norway right before the pandemic. If you've never been, it's the most beautiful place I have ever been in my entire life. We weren't planning on going there, but that's where somebody recommended it. Every picture we're in looks like we're Photoshopped. And every time I didn't think it would get more beautiful, we go to the next spot and it did. So I would recommend that for anyone.

Todd Miller:

:

And they didn't really have barcodes on the sides of their ships either I don't suppose.

Jenny Saunders:

:

I don't suppose they did, no.

Todd Miller:

:

Okay. Another favorite question here on the show, top or bottom half of the bagel?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Bottom, but I don't really know why.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah.

Jenny Saunders:

:

I just always keep the top off and eat the bottom first.

Todd Miller:

:

It's about a 50/50 split on that one. Interesting. Okay.

Ryan Bell:

:

What are you most looking forward to right now?

Jenny Saunders:

:

I am most looking forward to the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten and going to the Big Ten championship game and hopefully going to a national championship. Now, my daughter would say, Really like you're going to have another grandchild in January. That's not what you're looking forward to. But look, Buckeye football comes before the baby.

Ryan Bell:

:

It's almost here.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Yeah, it's all about timing.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, congratulations on the additional grandchild on the way. That's great.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Thank you. I'm super excited.

Todd Miller:

:

Question number six, if you could trade places with anyone living in the world today, if you could trade places for just one day, who would you trade places with?

Jenny Saunders:

:

Really? That's a rapid-fire question? That's brutal. Who would I change places with? I guess I would have no idea. Really, I have to answer that?

Todd Miller:

:

You don't have to.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Do people get stuck on that one? Do people get stuck or not?

Todd Miller:

:

I'll tell you.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Like they have to be living. Do they have to be somebody living?

Todd Miller:

:

Wouldn't have to be. Wouldn't have to be.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Then I suppose I would trade places with, yeah, I got nothing.

Todd Miller:

:

No, that's fine.

Jenny Saunders:

:

I'm thinking too deep on that. Ehh on that rapid-fire question.

Todd Miller:

:

It's funny though, because almost every guy we've ever asked that said Elon Musk just immediately. That's what they said, yep, yep.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Really? See, I was thinking much more deeper, right?

Todd Miller:

:

Like, yeah, I know, yeah.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Yeah. Like I was thinking, how could I change the world? Or who got to see a really cool discovery, right? Like, like I was, I guess, you know, how about Peyton Manning so I could throw the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl? That, I would love to do that.

Todd Miller:

:

That would be cool.

Ryan Bell:

:

I think there's an initial gut reaction when you hear that question, like Elon Musk. But maybe if you really spend some time thinking about it, the the possibilities are endless.

Jenny Saunders:

:

So yeah. But, you know, that's a good thing to have an initial. Yeah, alright. Well, I failed that one. Throw me a little bit better of a softball for this last one.

Todd Miller:

:

The next one's a hard one, too, but this is Ryan's.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Is it really hard? Great!

Ryan Bell:

:

Yeah. Whatever comes to mind first, what would you most like to be remembered for after you're gone?

Jenny Saunders:

:

That I was a family person who cared very much about her family, friends, and community, and that I was fun at Christmas.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome.

Ryan Bell:

:

At Christmas.

Jenny Saunders:

:

We have a snowman that sits in our fridge that sings the song every time you open it. And my children hate it. And they have talked about that when I die, they're going to do something to the snowman. And I'm like, Oh, no, the snowman gets its spot at the funeral. So that's why I brought that up. That's it in a nutshell; that I made a difference.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, you are well on your way to having that be what people remember about you. So that's cool. So thank you again so much. This has been a real pleasure and privilege. Is there anything we haven't covered today that you'd like to share with our audience?

Jenny Saunders:

:

I can't think of anything except that everyone should work really, really hard on their calligraphy.

Todd Miller:

:

And there we go again, another bonus point. So just so everyone knows, our challenge words were in case you hadn't figured it out. The challenge word that Jenny had was calligraphy. And she had given me the word frog, which seemed easy at first. But then I was like, How in the world am I gonna do this? And Ryan had rambling, which Jenny then gets bonus points for working in our words as well. I didn't even think about doing that.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Always up for the challenge.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Well, if folks wanted to get in touch with you, Jenny, how can they best do that?

Jenny Saunders:

:

So the best way to get a hold of me is via email. And so that would be jenny, J-E-N-N-Y dot saunders, S-A-U-N-D-E-R-S, at fcbank, one word, dot bank. So not .com everybody goes .com and then I never get it. Or you can always call me at 614-792-4026 and I'd love to hear from anybody, any questions people have or if they want to know how to get their business involved in the community. Anything around any topic that we talked about today or if you're looking for a banker, there I did ask, don't hesitate to reach out. I'd love to talk.

Jenny Saunders:

:

Todd Miller: Awesome. Good stuff. And we will put that contact information in the show notes as well, so. Well, thank you so much for joining us. This has been a pleasure to catch up and real joy. And I also want to thank our audience for tuning into this episode of Construction Disruption with Jenny Saunders, President of FC Bank. Please, I encourage you watch for future episodes of our podcast, we always have more great guests on tap. Don't forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Until our next episode though, change the world for someone, make them smile, encourage them. Two powerful things you can do to change the world. God bless, take care. This is Isaiah Industries signing off until the next episode of Construction Disruption.

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