We have seen so many community banks face uncertainty this week. Despite this time of uncertainty, they are working tirelessly to help support their communities. Join Ben Pankonin and Jill Castilla in a conversation about how she is leading Citizens Edmond while encouraging community banking through trying times.
We will discuss how:
- Communication changed this week
- Leadership looks in this moment
- How to lead going forward
Ben Pankonin 0:11
Welcome to webinar today today we are talking with Jill Castilla, about leading a community during a crisis. And, you know, at at many times we have these opportunities where we have a crisis and we’re always looking for the leader around us. And, you know, right now, you know, Gil has been one of those leaders, for me personally for our company and for I know many community banks and seeing how she’s communicating how she’s handling this sort of crisis. And, you know, I think it’s just a unique opportunity that Jill’s willing to share with all of us a little bit of what she’s going through and how that’s working. So Jill, welcome to the webinar.
Jill Castilla 1:00
Hey, it’s so good to be on. Then I’m honored to always talk with you so and to have so many different community bankers online is great. So
Ben Pankonin 1:10
yeah, we’re, we’re climbing in attendance today. And I thought a few things we could we could chat about today. We have, it looks like you’re downtown at citizens’ admin today. So you did make it into the office. I’m here at my home office. For those of you who joined us with us the other day, we’re running with this new social tag that says be social at a distance. This is my wife and I, this is our home office. So now we’re sharing an office. And, you know, this is just part of the world we’re living in right now. And so, as we’re as we’re trying to embrace that and embrace this new awkwardness here, Jill, I thought it would be great to just hear you have some awesome personal announcements this week. In the midst of all of this.
Jill Castilla 1:54
It’s been a great week for our family and it’s just such an important time for our country, but Your daughter got a call earlier this week from Senator Inhofe and from our Congresswoman Horne our, our congressional representative and let her know that she received appointments at West Point. And so we’re army family so huge bill but she actually has appointments to the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy and also for your ROTC scholarships every service to go into a civilian college. And but was one of us her number one choice and it’s been like a three or four month wait since she received those other big announcements. So it was a huge deal for her and our family and the center staff actually recorded them him calling her and they sent that to me, which is really kind so that was amazing. She said, a senior in high school, so lots of change for her this semester. But that was really fun. And then our oldest child and he graduated from West Point and as in armor basic course and for any Georgia and we can’t go to his graduation But it’s today where he gets to graduate and be a full fledged armor officer in the US Army. And then he’ll be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas here in probably a couple months. And but as an armor officer, you get to put on a big Stetson hat. And so he was really kind of nervous about whether he’s going to be able to graduate or not did really well. And so when he sent us the text, the picture of him wearing his big Stetson hat, we knew that it was great. And we knew he was really proud of himself to where he had achieved that to the point to be able to graduate. And then we were just like, bursting with pride. Because you know, it’s so neat to have a kids that are wanting to serve not just be having accomplishments, but they want to serve our country.
Ben Pankonin 3:42
Yeah, no, I Congrats. Congrats. It’s an awkward time. But you know, I think it’s, it’s great to hear that, you know, there’s some, there’s some awesome things happening even in the middle of a week like this. But you know, when we kind of like, think of This week, you know, I, we asked everybody when they were registering, you know, first four different questions. And so I have a laundry list of questions for you today. But I thought we kind of open it up with a few. You know, one of them is just kind of understanding. You know, in this time, you’ve been sharing a lot of different information. What’s changed at the bank? Where are you at today? Like, if you were to say, hey, operationally, as a bank, what’s happened? Where are you at in that process of closing or changing things? Where are you at in that process?
Jill Castilla 4:40
Yeah, so about three and a half weeks ago, whenever we were pretty certain that the virus would hit our shores. We started beating as a team on how do we get completely remote and be able to support our customers we, we file for our first patent. We file for the actual patent a couple of weeks ago. For a remote cash processing and coin processing facility, we’ve had one up and running and a provisional patent application for that. So we just started rushing towards like, how do we complete support a bank digitally? How do we move everyone home? Do we have the capacity to do that, and we started inventory all of all our hardware and analyzing our software, sorry, my emails blowing up. And always like all our software to to see if if we had the capacity to be able to support that with our bank systems and just even having the hardware to do so. And we created boxes so that we would have a basically kit a remote kit for every team member to be able to just grab and take home and then they have a surface and a monitor, keyboard, mouse and then a soft phone with our IP system to be able to support customers. So what we ended up doing and we had a proach where we’re having phase one would be kind of prep mode. To be closing the lobby, we are one location office but we have a kind of remote drive thru. They’re not connected together. And so phase two would be having the the lobby closed and I appointment only meetings with customers and having our drive thru open, which is we’re on phase two right now. And then phase three, which we are almost at the point of being completely prepared for is 100%, remote supportive customers so that customers can access our bank lobby, we think we’ll be reopening our bank lobby next week. But it’ll be a self service bank lobby and assisted service through our ATMs. So that phase three is how do we provide complete remote support to our customers with no degradation and the services that they have access to? So right now, we, I shouldn’t be at the bank and I’m, I’ve told everybody, I’m blessed. You’re have to be at the bank and you’re, you’re designated to be at the bank. You shouldn’t be at the bank. But it’s been hard not to come in And kind of lead the ship from home is a little bit more difficult for me. But we have about four people in the bank facility right now. And we’re having some trouble with getting like chargebacks to customers, those are going to have more of a physical component to them. And our phone system has been a little bit more difficult to move remotely. But we’re almost there. And then we have in our other building, we have two individuals that are one is managing our commercial lane and one is managing the regular drive through lane. So that’s basically where we’re at. We’re also rapidly deploying one of our items that we have in storage so that it can be more accessible in another area of our community.
Ben Pankonin 7:40
Wow. You know, I think you’ve done a remarkable job of moving people remotely so quickly. But when I think about it, you know, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about these business interruption plans, I have to fill out ridiculously stupid vendor diligence documents that say things like I have a remote facility an hour away. Which we actually filled out years ago and said, I called a friend and said, Hey, could I use your facility if we ever like something ever happened because I have to fill this out because banks are requiring us to fill this out. Now that we’re in this mode where everything’s gone virtual and remote, you know, it seems like what you’re saying is you sort of built a more resilient company in this in this process. And maybe maybe you could talk about, like, how have you sort of built this resiliency more into who you are then sort of what that plan looks like?
Jill Castilla 8:33
Well changes heart and culture change is probably the hardest thing that you can tackle. And, and we’ve been trying to do that now for the 10 years that I’ve been here the bank was a turnaround situation when I came and so we were trying to survive, and then it was how do we recover? And then how then how do we lead into the next century of banking and so we’ve been, you know, on this rapid pace of change, and have developed a lot of resiliency In our staff, and they’re accustomed to this kind of controlled chaos, and it’s never been environmentally put upon us, it’s been self inflicted and kind of chaos just like an entrepreneur just like a startup would have we refer to ourselves as 119 year old startup. And that conditioning really prepared us well for this. Our staff, we just we have been having regular checking calls, we’d have one this morning. And I mean, they are they’re on top of this, we have a very collaborative culture and I’m getting texts and emails from all over whether it’s a teller in the drive thru, and operations specialist marketing, where they’re saying, how about this What about this, oh, I’m having trouble with this or I’m having to print this off or leaving this person remotely increased my workload on site and so they’re, they’re solving the problems from a peer to peer standpoint, and letting those double up and you know, in in traditional cultures, you can get it where it’s a lot top down lead chain And unfortunately whenever you get more of that entrepreneurial spirit infused into your company, then that then it starts making it where everybody is like, like change is not only inevitable but we need to initiate change or this or get swallowed up. When three and a half weeks ago the analogy I was using was like okay, this tsunami buoys have given us an alert, that there is a an earthquake and the sea levels have risen six inches. But this result in US Nami to us that decimates the coast and everyone’s going to think it can happen and it cannot come. But we have to repair it if there’s a tsunami coming. And, you know, it’s really hard to think that way to say, positive and make sure you’re being optimistic, but then also planning for the absolute worst and then, but once it’s kind of gotten here, not that it’s in a terrible situation that we’re in right now. There’s so much confidence from our team to think, well, we got this and we could be the only bank in the nation or maybe the world that could just like serve our customers can pletely and not have to be, you know, on site to do that. And it’s been a when this challenge has really brought our projects to the finish line and you would thought that staff would have been like, we need to abandon some things that we have on the agenda to do. And instead, they’re like, we need to get this done now, because it’ll help us serve our customers better. And that’s been really, then that culture change and seeing the effect of it in this mode has really been profound.
Ben Pankonin 11:32
Absolutely. How do you feel like the your military background and training, has that been a factor in this in this whole process?
Jill Castilla 11:43
Yeah, the military piece of me is quite ingrained. You know, I enlisted when I was 19. And I mean, the military is all about like, busted up plans. And you know, you can read I encourage everybody to read Sun Tzu’s Art of War because, you know, knowing your enemy is so An important thing to do, and you do that without emotion so that you understand how to fight it. And so I think the the military piece of it makes it where you’re always you’re mission oriented, but it’s people always. And so you’re always thinking simultaneously about how do you execute the mission? How do you take charge the hill and overtake it, but you also make sure that morale stays high, and your people are going to follow you and you when you charge up the hill, and man, there’s just nothing I don’t think in life that prepares you like the military. Mm
Ben Pankonin 12:31
hmm. You know, I had there was a question that was in there in our list that was, you know, how do we support leaders in this process? And I want to cue you up because you encouraged me in a book over Twitter. I never told you that I read it but a Message to Garcia I read because of a tweet you had. And that was one thing that I thought of in response to that question, but maybe you could share about that.
Jill Castilla 12:55
Yes, so they met messaged Garcia, which is a it’s written a long time ago. And and you’re gonna think I’m crazy when you first start reading it but you know, it is encouraging you know it’s a great analogy for you to give to staff and there’s lots of other additional things that I can also provide it is how do you encourage that to be resourceful that to supporting the leader is that if I can find the answer myself and have one less question I’m having to ask for clarification. The leaders asked me to get the letter to Garcia and so and they just a quick little summary of kind of what happens so there’s what’s the guy’s name the lieutenant that’s given more
Ben Pankonin 13:46
you’re gonna kill me on that one? I couldn’t tell you at the moment.
Jill Castilla 13:50
If Josh papers on he’ll know but um, but yeah, so this guy gets this mission from the general to take this Message to Garcia. Well, he doesn’t know who Garcia even is or Where he is or what has been what companies live here, they ask no clarifying questions that just has a message he has to get to this guy. And he goes through all these different trials and has to make these determinations to ultimately get the letter to Garcia. And it was just through his resourcefulness that that made it happen. And I actually came from center light center in hos office, and they asked like, how did you develop this culture to where you are relentless in pursuing the answer to a question or to get the right thing done? And they’re like, you need to read the Message to Garcia, you haven’t read it yet? Have you? So go read that I’m so and so. And so saying that you read it. We’re having our whole team read it when they come on board. So again, it’s kind of old fashioned, but it does give you that, like, how do you build a resilient team that push the sport and find the answer?
Ben Pankonin 14:47
Yeah, yeah. No, I thought it just started to answer that question. I thought that you know, what a perfect example of the way you’ve done that. So we’ve got a variety of choices. Questions that revolve around some leadership and some of the communication strategies you’ve had? I’ll warn you, one of them that I had some about, you’re sharing. I see you’re sharing like your personal cell phone number. And by the way, I shared your tweet last week when I was speaking at a conference, I shared one of your tweets where you shared your cell phone number, and I got grilled for it. So I’m kind of funny. Because they said, what, you know, what are the risks associated with that? This was last Tuesday that I spoke and share that as an example. But, you know, one of them was, you know, Lynn, from United Southern bank, she says, what are some ideas for just helping community and small businesses through this like this really trying time?
Jill Castilla 15:52
So the important thing with going through a crisis is that you have authenticity that people that believe what you’re saying and that you’re transparent Don’t hide anything from people. And so the the exercise of putting my cell phone out there is is to that and being to not only put out what I believe is accurate, but to be completely transparent and that someone can can provide me feedback or questions and return, I will say, everyone is so respectful whenever I do that I don’t get any craziness. My one mistake I ever made was that Elon Musk put out that he was looking for a bank or wasn’t getting the financing they needed. And I tweeted back at Elon Musk and said, Hey, come back. I think it says think of them and here’s my cell phone number. And I continued for about two weeks to get weirdos calling me But But otherwise, it’s been very only good stuff that’s happened that I put text because I really don’t want to get calls and I’m not during this time. I’m not really answering calls. I’m letting go. So it’s voicemail. So you’re just talking about text messages is pretty low key but and no matter what You’re willing to do i think that that transparency knowing that people have access to you so that they’re not, they’re not in a panic and thinking that they’re going to be left alone, because that’s what that’s what can ensue, there can be concerned that I don’t have access to my financial resources, I don’t have access to talk to someone about a loan that I might have concerned about. I don’t have a question about the general community and I, if my leaders aren’t accessible, then then I grow even more concerned so that authenticity and transparency is essential, especially as community bank leaders because we’re not just me being leaders and we’re the presidency of a community bank, you are a leader in your community by default, whether you want to exercise that or not, and the more that you can be accessible and transparent to your community, the faster we’re going to pull through this the more support the officials that are trying to execute change are going to, to have because you can amplify their message and you can build that ground swell support.
Ben Pankonin 17:59
Good So we had some questions about, you know, what? What are just some tactics from communication? Like, what’s a positive way to respond during crisis crisis, which is one of them. So like, I think the way I think about that is like, how do we think about how we would create content during this time period? Because, you know, we’re kind of, I’ve talked to a number of people in this role that have said, you know, kind of like, watching the news, and then all of a sudden I transition over to make some content. And it’s really hard to get my mind to shift from this place to making meaningful positive content in their for their communities. How are you doing that?
Jill Castilla 18:46
You know, I’m doing the best I can. I am making mistakes left and right. The main thing in this time period or anytime a crisis, people want to know that you care and as long as it’s you are trying to use that filter. Before you post something, is this something that’s going to contribute to the overall social good or not, and kind of having that filter with you, then then post but, but going out there and just telling people you see something that’s terrifying or, or heartbreaking, and instead of conveying that message and just making, you know, more anxiety build up, you know, showcasing to people that you’re here and that you feel it and, and if you can develop a program to address it, then then put it out there. And we that’s what that’s what we’re trying to do. And the other thing is social is so great to see what other people are doing. You don’t have to have all the answers yourself. In those moments. You can retweet someone else that comes up with a brilliant statement that inspires you and makes you feel better. We’ll share that word like and be a cheerleader for others, but then also amplify the messages of others that are being great leaders. I think in this time too. I’m stepping out. Maybe a little But more than I normally would, too, if I’m not getting someone that’s authentic and transparent. I’m not necessarily calling out but I am pursuing to the ends of the earth and behind the scenes or maybe direct messages, demanding that because we have to be leaders, both for our community, but then this period of time, you have to sometimes be the bridge with some of the other leadership’s to tell them like what the community really needs. The biggest advice I have is this cannot be self serving in this environment, like don’t start thinking that, Oh, well, this would be a great time to put out my home equity loan special or just no, like No, your heart has to be there with a Ryan Ryan intentions to be again a leader and you’re in depending upon whatever crisis your communities facing, especially this one that’s really affecting all of us or will affect all of us. It’s just saying that you’re here, that we’ve got a plan. We’re sharing the plan and when I’m accessible to you, if you have questions Um,
Ben Pankonin 21:00
so so we’ve talked about that just a little bit. But you know, the I’ve gotten some of these questions about, like, how do we sell, right? Like, as a bank, the thing that we provide is a product, right? We provide a loan that helps people in times of need oftentimes. So how do we message that in a way that does have that authenticity?
Jill Castilla 21:24
Yeah, so I think whenever that if you’re selling a product, you really, in this time, it truly has to be for the benefit of the, of solving the crisis. So if it’s a government program, that you can be a conduit or the chicken makeup like we’re using, we’re making people highly aware of there’s a damaged on otay.gov website so that we can assess the damages in our state. So then we can provide that to the SBA or our state can be designated disaster site. So then SBA loans can be applied for on their side for the disaster loans. So, you know, there’s line, this communication that’s happening out there. So we’re kind of a clearinghouse for some of that to make sure that it’s accurate that this is you are not applying for a loan, when you go to the damage side, the damage side has to assess the damage. And then then you have to apply for this other loan, and you can’t apply for that loan, although maybe you may see on social media, you can, you’re not gonna be able to apply for that until we get the the designation. But these are the things that you can do to prepare for applying for that loan. And so just jumping into stories and making sure that you’re in we want to be the ones providing that loan down the line. I mean, so will be something that will result in some type of lending behavior on ours, we’ll promote that. But it’s all an effort to address the current problem. If you have like a relief loan, that you’re that you’re we’ve talked about setting aside some funds to our bank to have provide some immediate relief. We’re not gonna it’s SBA funds aren’t in the immediate future.
Being able to
clearly state that it’s for this purpose and our economic benefit. I mean, you’re going to be highly criticized in this environment if you’re trying to have an economic benefit off of this crisis. And so just don’t do it. I mean, unless you’d have to be a lot smarter than me to pull that off. But I think everyone’s the good leaders are going to rise and shine in this environment. And so try to exercise be good and exercise good leadership. And if it seems like it’s something that will help people like truly, truly help this crisis, then then yeah, push those types of products. But don’t you got to be really, really careful.
Ben Pankonin 23:37
Yeah, so I’m hearing you say and I was on a call yesterday with I don’t know how many entrepreneurs on the call that are nervous and they’re trying to wonder about these programs. So you’re educating them today on here’s where we’re at in this process, that kind of your your philosophy on that part of it is educate them where we are today. Yeah.
Jill Castilla 24:00
Educating and then giving them the accessibility to me so that we can work out individualized solutions for them. Because, you know, deferring everybody’s principal and interest payments for six months isn’t going to help. I mean, I’m sure everybody would welcome that. But it’s not necessarily what if you can have more targeted solutions to potential customers without putting your bank at risk, then that’s those were those. That’s what we do ask me to bankers, we talk to people, we figure out how we can help them individually. And so I made a mistake. And for instance, this weekend, I tweeted something out that was made it as last week because whenever the Fed announced that they were going to be doing the $700 billion purchase of bonds, a lot of that was going to be mortgage backed securities and everybody was tweeting out about what you need to put on your social distancing lists. So it was like play Scrabble, you know, rearrange your sock sock drawer and I put I tweeted out like add refinancing or more Getting to your social distancing list and, and I got a lot of feedback about that that I was being opportunistic about something that was you know, pretty tragic situation that was building up and and that certainly wasn’t the intention of it. I wasn’t trying to get people to refinance mortgages with me and just knowing that rates will likely decrease, but is that usually have that kind of self awareness whenever you’re putting something out especially on social
Ben Pankonin 25:26
Right, right. Well, and obviously we’re also experiencing as I’ve been chatting with some lenders, the such increased call, uh, you know, increased volumes of attempted refinances this week is jacked rates up for a period of time as well. So we’re experiencing some weird things in that equation as well. Hmm. Yes. So, with that being said, you we’ve got a product challenge resolved. We’ve also got a thing to communicate. I’ve seen you do it a number of times in the last week to help people know How most efficiently they can engage with you or engage with the bank. How are you doing that? And what’s what’s the thought behind how you’re communicating about how they would best engage with you?
Jill Castilla 26:15
Um, well, I mean, we’re juggling so much we were on the phone with customers throughout the day. And we’ve actually been yesterday we were supposed to talk to the Senate, small business committee, and today we’re supposed to talk about the Senate Banking Committee. And so we’re trying to like do like advocate for industry and for small business, but then you’re needing to have these phone call conversations with customers. And then you’re still wanting to be accessible to anything that arises during the time. So some of the things that we’ve been doing, just in this kind of goes with time management, maybe two is we have one staff member completely dedicated to watching the news. And so the end of the day, every day she’s watching all regulator news, all anything happening from presidential announcements to things that we can’t expect it Oklahoma things are happening in Oklahoma thanks a sociation for putting out and she basically scrubs it down so that I don’t have to watch the news all day I can really just read that and have like a really concise sheet of what’s been going on and that’s been a huge lifesaver for advocacy I’ve been relying upon email and phone calls so I am my cell phone number is out for that and then and then the my email so like right now my assistants watching my emails to make sure that we’re not getting some type of call to action specifically related to advocacy or some initiatives at the national level. And then accessibility to me I’ve been trying to encourage courage text it’s so much more time efficient, you can multitask if I’m on a follow up call with someone or respond to an email on a conference call or even or even here, I’m kind of looking at my my text messages. And I’m it’s just an easy way for me to make sure that people have access, I don’t lose track of it, and I can easily respond and that’s that can be more 24 seven for me which is really, really helpful when it comes To the bank, we just have amped up our phone coverage, so to call a bank and make sure that you get an individual quickly rather than the anxiety of waiting. So we’ve amped up our Customer Care Center, which is just at our direct line of our main switchboard, and then we’re expanding how much how many other people are engaged with that. And then we also have like our items. And so we’ve increased the amount of support for those so that customers can access conversations with our staff there and be able to connect to a loan officer quickly if needed to through the items. And again, we can support those from home now, which is really helpful.
Ben Pankonin 28:40
Awesome. So and then how are you kind of briefing staff and you’re internally How are you briefing them on what’s going on and kind of how to navigate?
Jill Castilla 28:52
Yeah, that’s a great so we’ve delegated that pretty much out to the managers and the management team. And then I’ve had two staff wide calls So I believe the first was on Monday or Tuesday. This week, it seems like it’s been four years long on, but it was on Monday or Tuesday, and we just had another one this morning. So it was just a 730. We promoted to the management team, they made sure their staff was aware of it. We had to divide out into three different sections, because we’re really focusing on caring for our team members caring for our customers and caring for our community. And so we just divide the phone the phone conversation into three different categories. And I go through each section and say what we’re doing and then pause for other team members to manage it from those areas, too. Inevitably, I’ll miss something. And so they’ll they’ll chime in with what I missed. And then we leave a section open where we ask questions and then we move to the next section. So first, we do team members and then we’re at customers and then our community. And then we recap that and an email to and and staff has the ability then to text any of us and during the call even to be able to ask questions. So that we can answer them. It’s that’s been the most beneficial way so far. And we probably need a little bit more sophisticated kind of audio visual kind of interaction as this continues to ensue, but just web video, teleconference has been working for us. We also have Skype. Sorry, so we can chat. So we’re using a lot of group chats throughout the day.
Ben Pankonin 30:26
Yeah, yeah. It’s it’s changing things for everybody. As you know, my home office, everyone’s you know, sort of adapting to this kind of new normal of what it’s like to work at home. We’ve been trying to push out some resources. We’ve been a hybrid model for a long time have you know, people can work from home any day, they don’t have a meeting at the office. And it’s been amazing to see those types of conversations even Well, now we’ve got a full house or people with with kids at home and you’re trying to manage those things as well. So you know, with that That being said, I had a question that was from Cindy at First Citizens just says, How do we keep the call, like what do we do to help? Just calm and I think she’s thinking not just the bank, but you know the community what, what sort of tactics are what what’s your strategy to help people be calm.
Jill Castilla 31:24
The main thing I think that we need to do is just basically be ever present. I think there’s a great amount of anxiety, anxiety that happens whenever you’re silent or inaccessible. And so we just need to keep that communication lines open, and then really adhere to that. You’re not deviating from who you are. So being exceptionally genuine in every interaction that you are and to ensure accuracy beyond anything, there’s so much misinformation that can fly in a crisis and so take the time to ensure that that you are communicating things that are very, very accurate and be as positive as possible. Don’t be a false positive, acknowledge when a situation is serious, but, but give hope that we’re going to get through it and for the community to know that you’re here together and, and for us, I mean, our bank has been around for 119 years. So it survived the Great Depression. And it survived the the Dust Bowl and oil best and booms. And this, this is another crisis that we’re facing, and we’re equipped to be able to handle it. And so being able to convey your story of resiliency is important at this time.
Ben Pankonin 32:31
So I love what you said there. And I’ve seen you tweet it, where you’ve said we’ve been, you’ve been through hardships for 119 years. And this is another one of them, right? So one of the things you’re doing in there that not everybody picks up on is you’re being vulnerable about the challenges you faced. And it’s not just about us being strong, strong, strong all the time. It’s also Hey, there were some times that were difficult over the last hundred 19 years. You’re willing to admit that he’s sure about but maybe you don’t think about that after doing it so many times, but that’s it’s profound in the way you’re doing it.
Jill Castilla 33:13
So vulnerability if you’re a Bernie brown fan is the only world way to create connection. You cannot create connection with other human beings. If you’re just going to have this Teflon exterior and display perfection only to the world. You cannot connect with other people and especially when it comes to prices, so we have the benefit. It’s such a blessing to us for us to go through our 2009 2010 turnaround. Our bank was the lowest rated bank that you can be so not giving up camels or anything. You guys are smart bankers. You know what that would be. worst performing bank in Oklahoma, you know, I’ve gone from 125 staff members to 55 over 10 years and have made tons of leadership mistakes and being, you know, from a turnaround leader where you’re autocratic, and everything’s black and white, and you have no patience, and don’t accept anything other than perfection to then now being more of an entrepreneurial leader where you’re like, yeah, failure is an option. Let’s go for it. And all that comes with a lot of pain. And the first time I started telling our story, and and it was emotionally exhausting for me, and I thought that I would get just killed. And it was in my community. It was to a group of women and a pretty large audience by 2200 people that were in my community community leaders, and I thought that there was going to get even more hated than it already was in our community. And there was a line of like, 50 people and I stay there for like, an extra two hours afterwards because everyone was like, I had no idea and you guys are amazing. And we’re here for you just like you’re here for us. And you that was powerful moment for me and so whenever I’ve ever you don’t want to lose confidence in the in the public, like you can’t say we don’t know what we’re doing from a banking standpoint, like, like we’ll try to figure out this loan because the first time we’ve done it like you have to be confident in what you’re doing, but whenever you face struggles, if you are honest about it, and you say like I’m making mistakes all the time, that resonates because we all make mistakes and we’re all concerned and we all have we none of us have been through this crisis before I did see another bank tweet out that like we’ve been well prepared for this crisis and now we’re going to crush it will mean the Wow. Like you putting on this webinar. Like this. You to Know like this is an unprecedented time and we are advocating for you we are going to you know, go to the ends of the earth to make sure the small business gets the funding that we need. And we’re going to knock down whatever doors we can tell us what we need to do to help you have the ability To continue your business and help us figure out what type of programs you need for us to give you and when you have that servant leadership rather than feeling like that you’re in an ivory tower and that’s what vulnerability is all about. I mean, it is that if you can’t be a servant leader, if you’re not willing to tell your story and kind of build peel back those layers and and be a human to someone.
Ben Pankonin 36:24
Hmm, no, I think that’s, that’s beautiful. Jill, I think what that builds to is it builds that other people are all vulnerable at the same time. Like, you know, like I shared last week with some of our team I was like, you know, look, like I we kind of grew up with a lot of screw ups starting this thing and had no money like, what am I afraid of? am I afraid of not having money, right? Cuz like that was actually kind of a fun time in some some respects. And so I think like, there’s some confidence when you sort of like, been through some of that and you sort of go I don’t know like that screwed up. Before your confidence, just very evident in that process.
Jill Castilla 37:05
Well, I might have said I talked about it all the time. Like I mean, I can carry out groceries again, I’m all good with that. Or maybe I can listen the army again that would be great. So, and I, but the thing is, is, we are resilient industry. We are so blessed. And we need to we need to make sure that we are telling ourselves the truth about this, that we are not dependent upon people coming through this bank every day. Like if someone doesn’t come into the lobby for three weeks in this bank. The banking model allows you because you’re accruing interest. You are in business as long as you have loans on the books and the loans are accruing, and and that you’ve got deposits to fund them. So our business model that was at risk at is the credit risk component or liquidity in capital, but we don’t have the same challenges as other banks. So we can encourage other other small businesses so we can really step up and be net leadership knowing that we’ve got a business model that doesn’t rely upon goods being sold today. Um, you know, the goods were sold a long time ago and we continue to reap the benefit of it. So it our business model is strong. And so we are in a position to not be, we have to be concerned about our companies and manage them appropriately. But the crisis is longer term for us. It’s not today. And so we need to make sure that we’re being the leaders to those there. They’re experiencing that the crisis now.
Ben Pankonin 38:28
Now, I like that. So there are a couple questions that came in a little bit later about small businesses, particularly. And so I wanted to kind of guide you a little bit because I’ve seen you tweeting a bunch of times about the way you’re supporting small businesses. And so that was part of what they were saying is how do you how do we support small businesses at this time, like in this kind of like, you know, we’re in this hybrid where some of them are still open or they’re open in different capacities. I’ve seen a lot of ways you’re doing that. We’d love to hear What you’re thinking behind those?
Jill Castilla 39:03
Again, it I think it has to be a need for each business that you interact with those that are out there, they’re got a food truck and they’re willing to park it anywhere. They just need a space, you know, you open up your parking lot to them. We have a brochure that occupies some of our space and our co working facility and you promote, you know what they’re doing. You don’t have to go to the big box grocery store, you can come them and they’ll deliver to the curb for you. We’re also we have a co working space, I mentioned ball for a five or we have a deferment option for the occupants of that so that they don’t have to pay their membership fee for a certain period of time so we kind of monetarily assist them. We have a theater that we financed that we sponsored a virtual concert for last night and it was like the coolest virtual concert experience. I think they had like 20,000 or 15,000 people that attended this virtual concert here in Oklahoma City for one of our one of our great community leaders and saw some rapper and so we sponsor that first one. And we I think as bankers, we can lead the way to showcasing what’s happening and in our small business community and that there’s opportunities to sponsor some things that are going to create greater community good, or showcase some various small businesses. Then thinking about the dollars that we deploy and how impactful they can be. For us, like we’ve had to cancel our last two heard on hers and so we heard on hers ours big street festival we do every month, it usually starts in March and goes through October so March and April, are cancelled. So we’re using that money to deploy to our community and say, Okay, how do we support small businesses more directly, that each dollar needs to be amplified beyond just that particular business? And like we do cash moms, physical cash models, well, how do we virtualize the cash mom and and create where we have more people going to using a particular business on a particular day and We are able to kind of target that and really help. We did it the other day on Sunday, we we did an initiative where we encourage everybody to buy like the swag from the different small businesses around our community so go out to their online store and buy them out well, you know may have only given that business $1,000 boost for a week but your that could have been the thousand dollar boost they’ll allow them to last another three weeks. And so you know, it’s it’s unique and again, and accessibility and having that cell phone that text messages and we have small businesses, they’re killing it right now. We had a guy that brought us a bunch of chicken and Caesar rats from Eddie’s who’s doing amazing job is catering and this business is doing really well. And he came and brought food for our staff and we’re we’re purchasing food for their lunch their lunches every day. So we’re able to send food home with them for dinner. And so you know that what’s nice about a crisis I mean, there’s it’s horrible to be in one but you see Communities come together. And Oklahoma, we have kind of Oklahoma Standard where we all come together when there’s a tornado or, you know, any other big event, which seems to always happen here. And so you see communities coming together and that and the have nots getting assistance from the haves and the have nots been supporting to the haves and is this circular reference that ends up causing there to be so much good in the community. And, but we just have to make sure that that’s sustainable. So we need to be feeding it to make sure that that that synergy, and continues to escalate and injure as we continue through this crisis.
Ben Pankonin 42:36
Well, I saw, you know, a couple tweets that were back to you last Friday, because you prepaid. You prepaid a bunch of bands that were supposed to show up on Friday, and I saw that I was already coming back to you in social media right away.
Jill Castilla 42:53
And as I was just doing the right thing, and our concert organizer, we said that we wanted to do that because we knew that the The local artists would be really struggling because there’s not a place for them to pay play. And so we asked if they thought that they would be willing to do that if we prepaid and they’re like, No, you can just have to pay them like maybe pay them 25% You don’t have to pay them the full amount and you’re like, No, we actually want to pay the full amount let’s just go ahead and do this and, and they can come back and play you know, in a later hurt on hurt and so it’s just all doing the right thing and being a good person through this and we all someone I mean, I assemble more than anybody. But I think if you can set your attention out there that you want to do the most you possibly can and to treat individuals in the best way that you possibly can, then then you even though you may detract, step off the curb occasionally on that path, you still have a path that will lead to the right in the right direction. Hopefully that’s the path that brings the community to another level.
Ben Pankonin 43:55
So we you know, we’ve been shifting a lot of staff around to just think about this. problem that we’re seeing emerging, which is, you know, when we were at the bank, you know, and everybody sort of like in one office, you can kind of say, Hey, I see how you’re doing today, or I see how you’re doing. And we can kind of have some self healing in that community. But when we sort of separate and everybody goes remote, that challenge of, of mental health and connectedness changes a lot. And you know, we’re experiencing that and trying to tackle some of those things. Personally, I’m trying to figure out, hey, all of a sudden, you know, at seven o’clock at night, I’m like, I didn’t work out today. And now I’m struggling with that. I had a question come in from Chris, that says, as a leader, you can become depleted by giving to others. What do you need from others that helps you recharge and energize you
Jill Castilla 44:57
Chris, I think he just sent me a text to
you know I think for all of us so not just me but for anybody that you see that’s out there that’s trying to do good in the world or that they’re trying to put themselves out there and like take these steps I mean if you can just have a little note and encouragement because it is you know it can you get a lot of criticism to you put yourself out there and you’re you and I know now plays on Sorry, my emails going out, and you bet allies on that on the call and you put yourself out there and you think you’re giving all this good that you can get a lot of bad coming your way. And sometimes that’s not real public. And so if you cancel, have a note of encouragement or provide your feedback on how you’re doing things, you know, it’s it. It’s such a good question and Chris is one that I love spending time with because he challenges me as leader and be surround yourself if you’re a leader with those types of people, but you know, Getting a text message from Chris, that refuels me for the next two months. And so, you know, reach out to people and know that they’re accessible because they need to hear that. And I, our staff after our call today, you know, some of them send some really encouraging words and, and I’m really just is really grateful to have that you certainly aren’t asking for that as a leader, but it’s something that does give you that little boost of adrenaline to carry you forward into the challenges that will surely away,
Ben Pankonin 46:30
huh? Yeah, we spent some time as a company just asking a couple questions. A couple days ago, we sort of went around and just had as many people as we could kind of get on one call to ask like, what were you encouraged by over the last week? Like what was the unexpected thing? And, you know, I was, I don’t get too emotional, but I did. And, and we had some staff members that were like, you know, some of them were in a spot where they said, Hey, this is too like, I’m not there. yet. And I think you know, having that permission to be able to say that in front of your peers is good. And I really appreciate what you’re doing Jill and in just sharing with all of us and being generous, that’s a huge encouragement to me and, and to my team, I share some of your content sometimes just with them to say, hey, like, this is, this is who you’re cheering for. Right? Like, we need to know who we’re working for who were cheering for. And this is, this is what you’re cheering for. So thanks for that, Gil.
Jill Castilla 47:29
Well, it’s encouraging to see what everybody’s seeing out there in our, in our community banking community. It’s there’s a lot of really good people that have their hearts in the right place. And we’re perfectly situated in every community throughout the United States or near every community throughout the United States, to be the leaders through this crisis for you know, ensure that we from a health standpoint, that we’re protected to ensuring that we’ve got the that we’re connecting small businesses that have With the leaders that need to solve problems and and then the resources that we have, whether it’s through lending, or through even the allocation of capital to to assist our communities, we are perfectly positioned to rise to this occasion.
Ben Pankonin 48:18
You’re so right on that I had a couple people email me today and said, thanks for sending this out. Unfortunately, I’ve got to do the same thing Jill’s doing today. And I can’t, I can’t spare the, you know the time to be with you all. And I shot back as many personal responses as I could to just say, that’s what you should be doing. You know, we need that in every community across the country. We need the frontlines. You know, which I just shared with a couple of business bankers that I know in our community that are talking to me about what it’s like to be on the phone all day and the transition they’ve experienced from These in person meetings that we’re used to every day, and certainly they had some hard ones too, all of a sudden they’re on the phone. And it’s really draining for them. And so, you know, we need we need leaders like you, you know, helping to lift them up to Yes. And
Jill Castilla 49:15
my cell phone number I don’t know if I’ve said it yet or not. It is 405-808-8993. And you guys text me if you are in this because if you guys hit a bump in the road, or you get off of that, that path and stumble off the curb, send me a text because it is, you know, there’s several on the call. I know that we’ve had those late night discussions where we’ve where we’ve hit a wall, and we’re here for one another. I mean, that’s, that fuels me just as much as I kind know does to know that we you have other people that are sharing the same challenges and that this burden isn’t yours alone. It’s one in which we are all feeling and sharing and the more that we can connect with one another and care for one another and, and share experiences when other the better off, we’re all going to be individually and being able to make a positive impact in the communities that we serve.
Ben Pankonin 50:10
Awesome. Well, Jill, you know, I want to be conscious of your time. And I know you have so many things. So thank you for being so generous with all of us today. We’re going we are recording this. And so we’ll be sharing that out to anybody who registered for this webinar, and then we’ll put a link out there. So if there’s anybody who wants to jump in, it’s completely free. Just Just click through and they’ll be able to view that as well. But
Jill Castilla 50:39
can I jump in before you sign off? I want to. I want to thank you, Ben, for your leadership, putting something together like this and like you’ve done throughout the week in previous weeks, and I’m sure more to come. We need this type of venue to share and thoughts and ideas and ask tough questions that we may not have the answers to toon, really gratefully Put this on.
Ben Pankonin 51:02
Well, thanks, Jill. I mean, it’s been a pleasure. It’s been fun to know you over all of these years, I think of that first time we met at a conference in Hawaii. And I had only known you on Twitter. And I remember meeting you the first time and thinking, well, she’s the same person. Like we’re friends already on Twitter. So now, those of us who have been practicing social distancing over Twitter for years, it feels like we’re together anyway.
Jill Castilla 51:28
So I’m sure lots of good friends out there.
Ben Pankonin 51:30
Yeah. Thank you so much for your time and, and we’ll be thinking about you in the days to come.
Jill Castilla 51:38
Thanks a lot, Ben. Hi, everyone.