Community Commitment – Our success depends upon the success of the community.
So reads the third of five core values upon which Capitol National Bank (CNB) was founded 30 years ago. Often times mission statements and core values end up buried in a notebook and become nothing more than words on a paper. Not so with Capitol National Bank, where core values have been given a high profile throughout the organization since 1982. Every CNB employee is actively engaged in the daily emphasis on and execution of the bank’s core values – particularly when it comes to community commitment.
“Being deeply involved in supporting worthwhile causes in our community cuts to the heart of what Capitol National Bank has always stood for as a community bank, said Paula D. Cunningham, president & CEO of Capitol National Bank. “Our employees, management team and board members care deeply about the quality of life in our region because we live, work and raise our families here. Greater Lansing is our home and we want the best for this community.”
Since 1982, Capitol National Bank has donated more than a million dollars to worthwhile causes in the Greater Lansing region. Equally important has been the tens of thousands of hours of volunteer time that CNB employees have donated to non-profits of every shape and size, from the Capital Area United Way, American Red Cross and the Greater Lansing Food Bank to dozens of school PTO’s, church boards and youth sports organizations throughout the community.
Perhaps the best evidence of Capitol National’s history of supporting the community can be seen through the hard work of its employees. Several years ago, a group of CNB employees formed a Nonprofit Committee that annually selects a local charity which employees support through various fundraising activities during the course of the year.
“I am always impressed at the generosity and enthusiasm of our staff members in supporting local charities,” said Suzanne Carr, mortgage lender at Capitol National and member of the Nonprofit Committee. “People want to help and are willing to go above and beyond for those in need, particularly during tough economic times.”
The CNB Nonprofit committee makes an extra effort to get the entire team involved in their annual campaign. Employees have the opportunity to be involved in numerous FUNdraising events, including 50-50 raffles and Friday “jeans” promotions. Organizations that have been the beneficiary of the annual campaigns include the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Ele’s Place and Angel House Teen Mother/Baby Residential program. The 2012 charity chosen is the Lansing City Rescue Mission.
During the 2011 campaign to support Angel House, CNB employees divided into two teams for a pair of “friendly” competitions to see which group could donate the most items on the Angel House wish list. In March, employees combined to donate 630 items that were valued at $1,000.
In June, employees had a diaper drive and donated more than 3,000 diapers and 3,100 baby wipes. By year end, the employees and CNB were able to present Angel House with a check for $3,665.
“Making our ongoing fundraising efforts fun activities not only helps us raise money and supplies for our charities, it becomes a great team building experience as well, said Heather Stowe-Fox, who serves as co-chair of the Nonprofit Committee. “It is rewarding to know that the effort we’ve put in is making a difference in the lives of people in our region.”
A Community Bank True to its Mission
In many respects, Capitol National Bank’s community commitment is a reflection of the fundamental business mission on which the bank was founded by Lansing area business leaders in 1982. The Capitol National mission was simple – to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses that many felt were not being met by larger banks.. Founding president, the late Robert C. Carr was quoted in the Lansing State Journal:
“We believe that the banking industry in this community has failed to respond to the needs of our local businesses,” said Carr, 30 years ago. “Our goal is to provide personal, hometown style service to the Greater Lansing community to which we owe our allegiance.”
Much has changed in the world since 1982, however Capitol National Bank’s focus on being a community bank that helps local businesses grow continues to be as strong today as it was 30 years ago. It’s all about local people serving local people.
“That’s the tenant of our success,” said Cunningham. “We don’t look at how many accounts we’ve opened. We emphasize the building of relationships and knowing people by their name, not by their account number. We want to add value to every relationship and we think Capitol National does that better than anybody.”
The value Capitol National adds to businesses in Greater Lansing has been experienced by Eldon and Jolene Gustafson of D&G Equipment in Williamston. The Gustafsons founded D&G in 1993 and have expanded their business to seven locations since that time. Whether it is a line of credit or financing for new property, Capitol National has been a trusted partner in the growth of D&G Equipment.
“They have always been there for us no matter what our need was at any point,” said Jolene Gustafson. “We always have the trust and faith that everything would be fine with Capitol National Bank in our corner.”
The ability to help local businesses that have historically been underserved by large bank holding companies has been strengthened by two fundamental principles in which Capitol National Bank
has remained steadfast for three decades. First, all money invested in Capitol National Bank remains in the Greater Lansing region and is not shipped off to a corporate office in a distant community. Second, all lending decisions are made by a local board of directors that governs bank operations.
The ten-member Capitol National Bank Board of Directors consists of respected business and community leaders:
Christopher J. Abood, MD
President & CEO
Patrick F. Hayes
F.D. Hayes Electric Company
O’Leary Paint Company
Paula D. Cunningham
President & CEO
Capitol National Bank
Capitol Bancorp Limited
Robert L. Reid
Reid Real Estate, LLC
Nan Elizabeth Casey
Oade, Stroud and Kleiman
Charles J. Clark
Clark Construction Company
Greater Lansing Business
Lewis D. Johns II
LDJ Leasing LLC
The commitment to Capitol National Bank’s mission can also be seen through the longevity of service of many bank’s employees, four of whom have been with the CNB team more than 25 years.
“People enjoy coming to work every day and being part of a team that believes in what we are doing,” said Ronda Thompson, who has worked at Capitol National since 1985 and serves as vice president of development. “It’s great to be in an environment with loyal, hardworking people and being able to serve loyal, hardworking customers who appreciate what we do.”
People You Know and Trust
One of the advantages that customers have always enjoyed in working with Capitol National bank has been the ability to work with the same local people through the years. Five CNB employees have been with the bank for more than 20 years:
Lori Garcia, vice president retail manager (30 years)
Pam Crossley, senior customer service manager (27 years)
Ronda Thompson, vice president business development (27 years)
David Feldpausch, senior vice president SBA lending (26 years)
Deborah Keyes, vice president, consumer lending (21 years)
CNB has successfully emerged from the difficult economic times of recent years. Like all financial institutions, Capitol National had to restructure its operation, but has managed to do so in a way that fully protects the integrity of the community banking philosophy to which it has held true for 30 years.
Business indicators have been trending in a positive direction for CNB. Loan requests are increasing, particularly in the bank’s highly successful Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Program. Capitol National has also become increasingly involved in collaborations intended to spur growth throughout Michigan, including the Pure Michigan Connect initiative.. Capitol National was the lead financial institution that joined together with others to provide financing for the Gillespie Group’s Marshall Street Armory renovation, which has resulted in a new home for several Lansing area non profits.
As Capitol National Bank continues to move into a new era of growth, so too does the Lansing region. Unemployment is rapidly declining and several exciting development projects are in the works including the Broad Art Museum which opens this fall at Michigan State University. An air of optimism is being felt across the community.
The success of Capitol National Bank and the Greater Lansing region have been linked for 30 years. The outlook for the next 30 years appears brighter than ever.