Mark White, president of Northstar Bank Colorado, moved with his family to Colorado Springs from Grand Junction when he was in junior high school. He loves the outdoors and spends as much time as he can hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and golfing with his wife Lori and their sons, 14 and 16, both students at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Lori White is a second-grade teacher at Stratmoor Hills Elementary School, and she is a native of Colorado Springs. He spoke with the Business Journal recently and discussed his successes and the bank’s goals.
How has your career background prepared you for your current position?
I have held a variety of retail, commercial and institutional banking positions that have provided a broad set of management and business development experiences. Additionally, I grew up in Colorado Springs, which also provides for a deep personal and business relationship which is at the heart of banking. Banking is all about people — having great people, the right people, well-trained people and engaged employees.
What is the secret of your success?
Recruiting people who want to be here, people that engage our clients and people who engage our communities. That’s how you run it and maintain it but also grow it effectively. People bank with people. Technology is great, but at the end of the day, when you need to talk to somebody and be accountable for something, or you need financial advice, you want to talk to a person. We have great people, we have great clients, we have a great community. That’s the recipe for success.
When will your downtown Colorado Springs branch on Tejon Street be complete?
We’re on schedule to be completed around mid-September or the first of October. That’s going to be a great downtown location for us. It’s going to be around 12,000 square feet, about the same size as the [Broadmoor flagship branch]. This bank is really growing into something that’s community-based.
What are the advantages of merging two banks (the Bank at Broadmoor and Colorado Community Bank) to form Northstar Bank Colorado?
It was absolutely a big name and a very well-respected brand over 30 years. Now we have 22 locations, two loan service centers and 20 branches. Our capacity, our lending limits are really much larger. Our lending limits are around $10 million now, where before we were a couple million. That capacity combined with our customer relationships are really strong. That’s one advantage, and that helps build the community.
The Northstar Bank brand promise of “Building a Brighter Future” for our clients, employees and the communities that we serve is accomplished through customer intimacy and understanding coupled with more robust lending, deposit and financial solutions.
What has been challenging since the merger?
The idea that if you’re changing, it’s not good; any time there’s change, it’s perceived as being a negative, and it’s not. This is growth. We employ 185 people in the state of Colorado; we’ve hired net 20 people across the state. The Bank at Broadmoor was really well-run, and we’re building on that legacy. The market perceptions have been the biggest challenge.
In the financial industry many times any change/merger/acquisition is seen as negative. In the case of Northstar Bank Colorado, the experience is very positive for our clients, employees and communities around Colorado where we are located.
What are your goals in the next year or so for the bank?
Enhance and continue to exceed our customers’ expectations as we grow the bank. Deliver on the Northstar Bank promise in all our Colorado markets.
Currently we are a bank with about $700 million in assets. Our long-term goals are to be a bank with $1 billion in assets. Right now we’re the 11th largest state-chartered bank.
We want to grow through acquisition and organic growth.
What nonprofits are you involved with?
I’m a board member of the Springs Rescue Mission and of YoungLife of Southern Colorado. I’m a past board member of VisionTrust International.
What do you appreciate most about living in Colorado Springs?
The outdoor activities and mountains. There is no better lifestyle that can be found than in Colorado Springs.
It’s my home, where I’ve lived most of my life.