From every specially selected brick, cupola and stone fountain to each knowledgeable employee, Sterling Bank is “built to last,” says chairman and CEO Ken Poteet. And the company is building onto that rich culture with a new Chesterfield location, set to be open by the end of April and run by Poteet's son, Mclane Poteet.
The private bank, which also has locations in Clayton, Van Buren, Mo. and Poplar Bluff, Mo.—where it was chartered in 2004—will carry on its tried-and-true customer-service model, as well as its signature architectural plan, featuring custom bricks, a cupola and a plaza with a fountain, at the new Chesterfield branch. Ken Poteet says this business model marries the best of the old and new. “Our banks have a retro look, but we have progressive technology.”
When clients walk into Sterling, there always is a knowledgeable staff member ready to help. Among the bank’s 43 employees is an experienced staff, as well as knowledgeable young professionals. “Whether you are 60 or 25, you will have someone that can relate to you,” Ken Poteet says. While many businesses may offer similar products, service from committed employees who value client relationships is what makes the difference, he continues. “People yearn for service. It’s a lost art.”
That gold standard of service has led to rapid growth, from reaching $100 million in assets in 2007 to $430 million today, making Sterling one of the top five banks out of 320 in Missouri and one of the top 100 banks in the nation, according to Poteet. “We have more profit share per employee than virtually any other bank in the nation.” Mclane Poteet adds that the Sterling staff sets it apart from other like institutions. “We hire people who truly are the best at what they do, and that is at every employee level—not just at the top.”
Each level of the bank’s staff works to build onto the business every day, not just during the 9-to-5 work week, the elder Poteet says. To that end, Sterling holds various after-hours networking and entertainment events, including the Business After-Hours Event series, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. every third Thursday April through October. The events feature networking amid live music from local blues, jazz and contemporary talent in the Clayton branch’s plaza. And the series also will be held in the new Chesterfield bank’s plaza. St. Louis soul singers will open each series this year, with a performance from Brian Owens April 18 in Clayton and a show featuring Kim Massie May 16 in Chesterfield.
The events allow Sterling’s staff to interact with current and potential clients in a fun, relaxing atmosphere. “These are places where you can really develop relationships,” Mclane Poteet notes. His father adds, “We build one good relationship at a time.” And the Poteets believe that is how businesses are built to last.