A Conversation With: Dragan DodikSenior vice president of commercial lending, NexTier Bank
Dragan Dodik, 37, recently joined NexTier Bank as senior vice president of commercial lending.
He is no stranger to central Pennsylvania banking, having spent the past decade with Centric Bank, Mid Penn Bank and Integrity Bank. He was also an executive at Blackford Ventures in Lancaster, focusing on venture capital and real estate development.
Dodik holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Penn State and earned an MBA in finance and accounting from Shippensburg University.
A native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, he now calls Swatara Township home, along with his wife and their newborn son.
Q: NexTier Bank has a strong history in western Pennsylvania. What makes the midstate an attractive market to move into?
A: Expansion in Central Pennsylvania, which has seen strong population growth, is the next logical step for the bank. Some of the Central Pennsylvania counties, such as Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster for instance, have been among the fastest-growing counties in the state this decade. NexTier sees more growth potential ahead, in commercial and industrial lending as well as commercial and residential real estate, land development and construction.
Some of the bank’s locations have been in place for more than 100 years. Why is being a long-term part of the community so important and how will that translate into a new market?
It’s important because community banks thrive on bettering our communities, provide funding for companies and projects that will have an economic impact for many years to come, retain and create new jobs, and create wealth, and these things take time. Like other community banks, we also firmly believe in giving back. NexTier Bank, just this year, has made five donations totaling $50,000 to local foundations.
NexTier’s proven commitment to community banking will translate well with the needs and demands of the Central Pennsylvania clientele. In addition, NexTier’s willingness to offer long-term fixed rates, in a rising-rate environment, is an edge I’m personally very excited about for my clients. Our branch office on Trindle Road in Camp Hill is slated for a first-quarter 2019 opening, and we’ll look to expand from there, both through organic growth and potentially acquisitions.
As more banks merge and/or acquire others, what do you see as the future of community banking?
The M&A activity we have seen in recent years represents additional opportunities for smaller community banks. In today’s technology-driven world, the community banking model will continue to evolve as we look for ways to meet today’s clients’ demand. Things that we are already seeing, such as smart ATMs and phone apps, are just the beginning, yet they will never substitute the human aspects of business transactions, especially the more complex ones. The need for relationships, trust, great service or just valuable advice isn’t going anywhere. The industry consolidation has opened the door for organizations like NexTier to enter the market.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve lived, and why?
While I spent about half of my life in Europe – Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany – Harrisburg is what I have called home for the past 19 years. Central Pennsylvania provides the education, career and business opportunities other places only dream of.
Pennsylvania’s strong economy and great climate are definitely important aspects of “interesting” to me, but the No. 1 reason this is the most interesting place I’ve lived in is clearly my beautiful family, my great friends, my wonderful clients and colleagues – all amazing individuals I get to surround myself with every day.