What factors contributed to the growth and success of the St. Louis region in 2021?
First and foremost, our people are the reason we had so much success this year. We recently achieved a milestone of $2.2 billion in average loans for the third quarter in 2021 — a 22.3% increase from the year prior and a 64.9 million increase from the second quarter in 2021.
Our sales associates were on the front line calling on our current clients and prospective clients to ensure we were maintaining relationships even if we couldn’t be there face-to-face, while also helping our clients navigate a difficult year. Additionally, our operations teams have worked tirelessly to make sure loan closings and processes went smoothly for our customers. We have a wonderful team in St. Louis and without them, this success would not be possible.
Additionally, we had tremendous growth across many of our verticals including commercial, industrial, real estate, private wealth management and agribusiness. We’ve been able to build on the momentum we created over the past 10 years and have positioned ourselves as a premier solutions provider to middle market and private companies in St. Louis. Our dedicated sales effort and our strong foundation as a bank continue to resonate with our customers and the trust they give us with their business.
What impact does UMB have on the local economy in St. Louis?
Our impact on the local economy in St. Louis is twofold. First, we provide working capital to help businesses purchase new buildings and hire new employees which certainly stimulates the economy. We also support the economy through charitable acts of giving. Recently, UMB St. Louis donated $10,000 to The St. Louis Community Foundation‡, an organization that partners with local restaurants and caterers to provide meals to nonprofits in need. To date, $295,000 was awarded to 42 restaurants and caterers resulting in 14,750 meals delivered to nonprofits in the St. Louis area. We believe in supporting the community we work and live in — especially when so many of these industries are hurting due to the pandemic.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead for the bank?
Like many, I’m very much looking forward to returning to a sense of normalcy. I’m looking forward to getting back to the office, traveling and interacting with our customers and associates in person. I’m also excited about the great pipeline we have across various lines of business and continuing the momentum of last year into 2022 and beyond.
How have you remained involved in the community during the pandemic?
We’ve made it our mission to continue contributing to area charities and non-profits during the pandemic, recognizing that the need is greater than it ever has been before. We did this by sponsoring and participating in various virtual events including the American Cancer Society’s Champions of Hope Gala‡, where we donated $15,000. We also contributed $10,000 to The Magic House‡, St. Louis Children’s Museum to provide children with hands-on learning experiences that spark imagination and pique curiosity.
One charity that I am very passionate about is Brace for Impact‡, a program that purchases and renovates homes in low-income areas and sets rent prices based on income—ensuring no one is living above their means. We also recently donated $10,000 to Elevate St. Louis‡, a local organization that provides mentoring and education to inner-city youth. Despite the pandemic, we make sure our commitment to our community never waivers. It’s our responsibility to step up and be good stewards to the community in any way we can.
What trends are you seeing in St. Louis that have surprised you since the pandemic?
The biggest trend we’re seeing in St. Louis right now is strong, widespread interest in private equity and direct investing, and a huge amount of money is waiting to be utilized solely for that purpose. Additionally, it’s a seller’s market right now. We are seeing businesses that previously wouldn’t have likely sold, selling to private equity buyers with a lot of cash to deploy.
At UMB, we are extremely well-positioned to help executives and owners of those companies transition into what is next for them with our strong family wealth capabilities. Some owners are going to take that money and invest in the public markets, but others are going to take an approach of starting again and investing in starting a new company. Others might want to explore private equity opportunities.
Any words of advice as we emerge from the pandemic?
While there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it’s important to remember that the pandemic affected many people in various ways, so we need to be empathetic and caring to everyone. We are here for our customers, clients and associates in St. Louis and believe in the strength of our community to get through this together. We are optimistic as we head into the new year.
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