Jim Gibson is president and CEO of Integrity Bank. The bank’s shareholders will meet Feb. 24 to vote on a proposed merger and sale to S&T Bancorp.
Q: Integrity Bank shareholders will meet Feb. 24 to vote on a proposed merger and sale to S&T Bancorp. You favor the merger. Why is it a good thing for shareholders, customers and employees?
A: The price being offered for Integrity shares is the second highest premium paid for any bank in the nation since 2008. Not only is it a high premium, but it (S&T Bancorp) also is a company that has a very similar DNA to Integrity. And when you put the power they add to it to our DNA, for our shareholders it will be Integrity on steroids. It will present additional upside for Integrity shareholders.
From the customers’ standpoint, that similar business model (following a merger) will allow Integrity to be “on steroids.” Before, we had some limitations with our size. And now we can play more aggressively in a little bigger arena and still offer the community banking experience.
From an employees’ standpoint … we’re probably going to have about 20 employees who will be displaced. Each of those has a pretty good severance package. It is amazing the number of other financial institutions that have been courting our employees. They’re going to be able to obtain some of our high-quality employees once that merger date is complete. Our remaining employees are going to get better benefits, I think it will give them a better upside in compensation, and it gives them an environment where there’s more opportunities to fill.
S&T is not bringing anyone to this market to tell us to do anything different. They want us to do what we’re doing, with higher velocity and higher volume.
There are many banks in the midstate for customers to choose from. What are some qualities of Integrity Bank that make it stand out?
When Integrity Bank was formed, we spent about a year evaluating the highest-performing banks in America. And we tried to take best practices and see how they would fit in a business model in Central Pennsylvania. We realized there needed to be a difference between us and the other banks.
Therefore, we attempted to speed up our drive-thrus. We have a three-step drive-thru like a fast-food store.
We attempted to make the branch experience significantly different than the average stodgy bank. We have a lot of glass (in the building design); it’s a nice appearance. When you walk into a branch, you will see the Integrity logo and a vault behind it (representing) the strength and solidity. You will smell the cookies that are baked on site, you will smell the coffee that is ground on site. We try to make sure that when (an employee) shakes a hand, they know how to shake the hand correctly.
The music that they hear is either a love song for the ladies or a song to dance (to). It’s OK to dance in our lobbies. It needs to be a great, great place to bank.