Charting growth Featured

7:56am EDT June 27, 2005

American Chartered Bank grew its assets 20 percent from 2003 to 2004.

Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that it did it all organically, with no acquisitions.

Bob Riter, who started the bank in 1987, has never made an acquisition and focuses on customer service in his niche, which he defines as small and mid-sized companies with an emphasis on the family-owned business.

The bank places heavy emphasis on close interaction with customers. As a result, it has experienced lower than industry norms in failures because of its ability to quickly identify problems and work with customers on those issues. Riter says this helps the bank stand apart from larger national banks.

The low employee turnover is because of how the bank approaches compensation and performance incentives. And it requires all commercial bankers and other senior officers to purchase shares in the bank. In addition, each banker is required to develop his or her own book of business; bankers are not restricted by territories or customer lists.

Riter says he focuses resources on those who best utilize them, and rewards are based purely on performance.

One of the important roles of the bank is to give back to the community, he says, and American Chartered contributes to childcare services for lower income people and to Boys and Girls Club in Chicago. Riter says the bank will contact the club and ask what needs have not been met through other means and will help in those areas.