Community Banks Put Emphasis on Employee Retention, Hiring

Article excerpt

Attracting and retaining key employees is high on the priority list of 93 percent of community banks, according to Grant Thornton's 11th annual Survey of Community Bank Executives. Employee retention and hiring will continue to be important for the 60 percent of banks planning on opening new branches in the next three years.

Customer service is the lifeblood of Oklahoma City community banks, says Eddy Ditzler, financial institutions practice leader in Oklahoma City. Achieving a high level of service that exceeds customer expectations and differentiates community banks in the marketplace is contingent upon the hiring of a knowledgeable, customer-friendly staff.

Competitive compensation and benefits packages play a large role in attracting new and retaining key staff members. Retirement saving options is the benefit most often offered by community banks, according to the survey - 86 percent of the banks offer 401(k) savings plans to management and 83 percent offer the plans to staff employees.

Other findings include:

* Sixty-two percent offer cafeteria plans to management and 60 percent offer the plans to staff employees, up from 50 percent offering these plans for both management and staff in 2002. …