Tom Brouster


Reliance Bank has turned over a new leaf. The personal and business banking institution recently emerged from major losses during the recession to become a profitable player ready to meet the community’s finance service and lending needs. And expansion is even in the works, with a new branch set for the prime intersection of Clayton Road and Lindbergh Boulevard.

Tom Brouster, chairman of the Frontenac-based bank and its holding company Reliance Bancshares, joined as a consultant in early 2012 and led the turnaround—raising $31 million through a capital campaign. The bank is profitable again for the first time in five years, with $1.4 million in the first quarter this year—its total income of 2012. Further, its $171-million in non-performing loans is down to $18 million.

With its newfound stability, the bank is in a position to lend. From small businesses and personal home or car loans to larger deals, its $31-million limit can accommodate most anyone’s borrowing needs, explains Brouster, who has 40 years of experience in the banking industry, including reviving 14 other companies. “It’s a new day for us. We have funds to lend to worthwhile individuals and businesses.”

With 20 St. Louis-area and 22 total branches, Reliance offers a comprehensive menu of banking and lending services that can be customized to fit clients’ needs.

And Brouster, along with longtime business partners and friends, vice-chairman Gaines Dittrich and president and CEO Allan Ivie, takes pride in the fact that the bank is locally owned and locally run. “We all live close by in the market we serve,” Brouster notes. “We can make all the decisions for customers right here. There is no higher bureaucracy.”

Through the years, the bank has been built on relationships, many made through nonprofit boards the employees serve on, adds Dittrich, who helped lead the bank's capital campaign. And Ivie believes that family philosophy will make it the premier community bank in the city, because community banking is a “people business.” “People have a lot of choices of banks in the city, but they want to deal with a bank that knows them,” Brouster says. “We hope they choose us.”

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