Summit Bank of Kansas City likes to think of itself as ‘not your typical local financial institution,’ but more so as ‘a group of community-minded bankers with extensive experience.’
Led by Rick Viar, founder, CEO and president and board member and vice president for business development Bob Glaser, Summit Bank has helped small business owners in Lee’s Summit fulfill their dreams of running their own enterprise since opening its doors in November of 2005.
Being deeply engaged in the Lee’s Summit community is what has allowed the bank to grow, and in turn, help advance the business prospects of those in the communities that they serve.
Viar currently serves on the board of the Lee’s Summit Education Foundation and is past president of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council. Viar is also a member of the Truman Medical Center Philanthropy Board, Lee’s Summit Industrial Development Authority, Lee’s Summit 360 Implementation Committee, and Lee’s Summit Symphony Board.
Glaser has his footprint all over town as well, serving at one point or another various positions with the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and Hope House.
Those established roots have help launch several Lee’s Summit businesses that have grown in stature the last nine years.
“Part of our business model is to become as deeply engaged in the community as we can. One of our core values is community leadership,” Viar said. “Which means we just don’t become involved in an organization, we actually try to bring leadership that organization. We meet a lot of business owners and a lot of people that manages businesses in Lee’s Summit and Bob and I are well aware that timing is everything.
“While (a company) might not need be in the market for a bank like ours today, but sometimes situations change. I may get a call (from a business owner) and he’ll say ‘if the timing is right can we talk about developing a bank relationship?’ We’ve got to be nimble and we’ve got to be ready to respond when that opportunity gets there.”
“On the other side of that, one of our themes is we try to say yes to every customer,” added Glaser. “Some banks look for reasons to say no when they have a request from a customer.”
Angela Brown can relay the community feel of Summit Bank.
Brown, principal of Empowering Action, a sales performance and leadership development consulting firm, and her husband Tim, who handles the day-today operation of the couple’s The Partners Agency, said Summit Bank representatives reached out to them about three or four years ago and made the small business owners feel like “a big corporation.”
“They actually sought us out,” Brown said. “We are a small business and typically when you are a small business banks don’t typically seek you out by coming over to your place of business and introducing yourself as the local bank. I know what type of service companies get from their banking partners. They come to their home; they go the extra mile. With Summit Bank, when they sought us out, they sought us out like a major corporation and we are a small business. They made us feel like we were a major corporation.”
Viar said he knows Summit Bank is not the only bank in Lee’s Summit that provides great service to its customers, but added he would put the bank’s modus operandi up against any in the city.
“One of the characteristics of being a community bank is that we do meet the credit needs of a lot of local businesses,” He said. “Sometimes it doesn’t go as well as we want. I think what a customer gets with us is a willingness to try to work through the problem compassionately and as patiently as we possibly can because we do know them as friends and neighbors in the community.”
Glaser agrees with Viar’s assessment.
“And that’s the tough part of it.”