Exceptional customer experience is the gold standard for any business. But what truly sets a business apart is delivering that experience time and time again, in both the smallest and largest of ways. Core Bank is hyper-focused on that goal. In fact, its very name represents the company’s entire philosophy—that its customers are its core. That mission drives everything the company does, resulting in a place where people want to bank and work, and have fun doing it.
Seven years ago, David Scott, Chairman of the Board for both Centennial Bank and Omaha State Bank, merged the two entities and named John Sorrell as President and CEO. Their vision was to create an unparalleled banking experience and build a headquarters in West Omaha that would exemplify their continued commitment to serving the community. Putting knowledgeable people who thrive on collaboration all under one roof was a key component to succeeding. Now with approximately 150 employees and seven locations — Core Bank has emerged as a local leader in the industry.
Breadth and depth of knowledge is key to Core Bank’s ability to deliver on its promises, and the company’s leadership team brings a wealth of experience. Craig McGarry is the Executive Vice President of the bank’s Private Client Group, and Steven Knapp is the Executive Vice President of Commercial Banking. McGarry has spent 40 years in the banking, trust, estate planning and investment arena, as well as holds a law degree from Creighton University. Knapp brings 39 years of experience in banking and met McGarry while both worked at First National Bank of Omaha. Their shared passion for caring for others, hard work, and having fun creates a culture that is evident throughout the organization.
Core Bank recently rolled out its Private Client Group as a way to help individuals during life’s pivotal moments—think having a child, an upcoming retirement, or sudden loss of a loved one. McGarry explained that most people don’t have any previous experience with that type of event, but Core Bank’s team brings decades of shared experience helping people in those exact situations. “We bring a wealth of knowledge to the table, and it’s all unified here at a single point of delivery,” he said. The phrase “fiduciary is still fashionable” is one that Core Bank touts, meaning it’s always been a key part of the personalized services offered and customers will never have to worry about being “sold” a product.
Knapp oversees all of the bank’s lending functions, which include commercial, SBA, mortgage, and retail. Core Bank ranks third locally for home mortgage loan origination, which Knapp said “for a community bank, it speaks a lot about our folks.” Another testament to how hard the bank’s employees work to help customers is what they accomplished with regard to the recent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the CARES Act. Core Bank funded 800 PPP loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs, some of whom were not even Core Bank customers. “We got it done,” Knapp said. “Because of our SBA focus, we already had staff trained in government lending programs, so we had all the right people and tools in place.”
Reflecting on the amazing effort on the lending side, McGarry said there was a “cultural issue at play” that contributed to their success with the PPP loans. “When you’re small like us and have people who don’t rest on their laurels, they make it happen. It’s not just about being at work; it’s about being there with a passion to help just one more person.” Fostering that culture relies heavily on having transparent communication throughout the organization, which McGarry summed up by saying, “we talk and take action.”
Taking action is made easier by Core Bank’s commitment to technology. Its headquarters is outfitted with everything needed to conduct business virtually, which made the transition to remote meetings during the pandemic nearly seamless. They can even adapt to hybrid meetings, where some individuals are in person and others join remotely. All of this is done while ensuring data integrity. “Core was ahead in making the commitment to remote technology, so when the world changed, it wasn’t a scramble,” Knapp said.
No matter what an individual’s goal is, Core Bank wants to help them achieve it. Knapp said they excel at thinking outside the box to help their customers, which goes back to their focus on collaboration within teams and helping customers find answers. McGarry added, “We bring more than just expertise. We take personal delight in helping other people. Core is in our name for a reason. We want our customers to be the core of our organization.”