Tom Brouster


Reliance Bank is defying the sluggish economy. Following a two-year turnaround and a $31-million capital campaign led by chairman Tom Brouster, the personal and business banking institution has expanded its leadership team and set its sights on the 2014 opening of two new branches—in Frontenac and The Grove.

To help lead its new chapter of expansion, Reliance has brought on two veteran lenders: Rick Sems as president and CEO and Tim Fogerty as executive VP. The new team members bring decades of experience in both large and small markets of the personal and business banking industry, Brouster says. “Moving forward, we have a qualified, seasoned lending team to meet borrowers’ needs.” The new lenders are generating fresh ideas and making connections, Sems adds.

Among plans on the horizon for 2014, Reliance will be transitioning its current Frontenac bank branch into a new full-service location at the prime corner of Clayton Road and Lindbergh Boulevard in Frontenac next year. And a new full-service branch also is set for a historic building in The Grove this fall. The two new locations will increase the bank’s St. Louis-area presence to 22, with 24 total branches in Missouri and Florida.

Additionally, a new lending office will open later this month at Justine Petersen, a leading economic development center lending to low-income individuals on North Grand Boulevard. “This office will help fulfill our community approach to lending, which includes lending to low- and moderate-income individuals and micro-businesses,” Brouster notes.

The bank’s banner year is rounding out with $6.5 million in record earnings, and increases of $21 million in deposits and $49 million in total assets. In addition, the institution’s loans have grown 13 percent and it has experienced 22 consecutive months of no loans more than 30 days delinquent.

Reliance’s leadership credits its 2013 success to its philosophy of providing excellent customer service to quality borrowers, as well as its knowledgeable and personable staff. “Community banking is a people-oriented business,” says Allan Ivie, president and CEO of the bank’s holding company, Reliance Bancshares. “We believe our team stacks up to that of any other local bank—big or small.”

Part of the bank’s commitment to the community also extends to volunteer work on local nonprofit boards, says vice-chairman Gaines Dittrich. For instance, Brouster will be on the board of City Academy, Ivie works with Beyond Housing, Dittrich helps Angels’ Arms, and Sems serves Operation Food Search.

As 2013 comes to a close, Brouster is reflecting proudly on Reliance’s growth amid the city’s competitive banking industry. “We’re excited about our progress, and we’re excited about our prospects moving forward.”

ON THE COVER: After a record-earning year, Reliance Bank is moving forward on expansion plans, with new branches in Frontenac and The Grove set to open next year. Pictured on the cover: Todd Smith, Rick Sems, Tim Fogerty, Tyler Dunaway. For more information, call 569-7200 or visit

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