Dennis Wright, Dallas market president, talks with the Dallas Business Journal about the bank’s growth in North Texas and the challenges and opportunities faced along the way.

What challenges is UMB Bank preparing for in DFW?

It’s a very competitive market. I think one of the reasons we did well last year is we were nimble and flexible and took a different approach. In 2021, I feel like people are probably going to loosen up a little bit and maybe the competition will loosen up, not be as cautious as they were in 2020.

We’re obviously hopeful that we continue to come out in a broad-based recovery. I’m pretty optimistic. I really feel like we’re well-positioned and so are our clients.

You mentioned the bank’s nimble approach. Tell us more about what that means for your customers.

When you work in a large institution, just by the fact that they’re very large, they have to be extremely policy centric. And when they do something, they do it the same way every time. That’s a great thing for banks like UMB because we really are not policy-centric; we have broad and accommodating policies.

We focus on hiring great talent. People we can trust to be creative and make good decisions. We do it differently, and we still feel like we are managing risk appropriately. We’re open minded to try to do things in a different and creative way. We also have the flexibility and the ability to get our executive leadership team in front of clients and let them get to know us in a more personal way.

Is creativity usually embraced in banking?

There are a lot of really creative bankers and hard-working bankers out there. I think, unfortunately, some of them are on platforms where they’re not allowed to be creative. I think UMB creates a platform where we encourage people to come up with a unique way to meet the needs of our clients while still managing our risks. But we’re not going to just say, ‘Anytime you do this type of deal, it has to be done in this type of way.’

Anything else that you’re proud of as you look back on the remarkable growth in Texas?

Some of the things I’m most happy about is that in the past year we had some really large, complex companies that chose to move from a much larger bank to UMB. Just watching that execution play out, you look at teams of technology experts on both sides, mapping out a process to move a highly complex cash management and treasury platform from one bank to another over a period of months. Implementing and testing and just making sure that when you flip the switch that you execute flawlessly — this was pretty cool.

It’s pretty exciting to think about a bank of our size being able to compete head-to-head with a $1 trillion bank and win and have a satisfied client at the end of the process.

Learn more about our Dallas office growth in a feature article from The Dallas Business Journal.

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