Last year, Forbes ranked Enterprise Bank & Trust as the third-best bank in the country. For 35 years, Enterprise has been a pillar in the community, providing excellent advice to businesses and giving back to local organizations. Chairman & CEO Jim Lally talks about the importance of continually connecting with the community and doing well by doing good. “I’m one of 1,150 people, all of whom believe in what we do every day,” said Jim. Kirkwood City Lifestyle sat down with Jim at the Kirkwood Branch at 1052 S. Kirkwood Road to discover the story behind this benevolent bank located in our backyard.
KCL: Why does the phrase “Doing Well By Doing Good” resonate with you?
JL: That phrase delves into our philanthropy and into our pledge to make you better. Our associates are committed to doing the right thing, being fair to our clients and ourselves, and being generous with our time and expertise without expecting anything in return. It comes back in spades. It’s a good creed to live by. We will spend our money here in the community to improve the lives of the residents - whether they are clients or not - because we know that better, smarter people strengthen our community.
Every year, Enterprise Bank and Trust publishes a Community Impact Report. What areas will the report highlight this year?
We are consistently committed to three things: housing stability, education, and youth. These are our North Stars. We can’t fix everything, but if we can support those three things well, we can improve people’s lives.
We have a business that invests heavily in affordable housing, and we provide access for businesses to open in areas that otherwise wouldn’t be developed. We support organizations that help with job placement and training for people who have gone on the wrong path or need a little direction. We also contribute to youth organizations that provide educational opportunities that set kids up for a lifetime of success.
Our Community Impact Report also focuses on our commitment to our internal associate community. We want to ensure that we are improving and creating a diverse organization where everyone has a voice. Our associates have created four business resource groups: The Black Heritage Connection Group, The Asian and Pacific Islander American Group, The Young + Young at Heart, and The Women’s Connection Group. These groups provide associates with a feeling of familiarity and a comfortable place to talk, learn, and ask questions. For example, we can’t fix the childcare problem in this country, but we can provide an avenue for new moms to talk about their struggles and learn from other women.
About five years ago, one of our associates started the reverse mentorship program, which created a safe place for people to connect and share their stories. I was the mentee for two African-American women. We talked about what it’s like to be an African-American woman working in our company. They said, “Jim, it’s not perfect, but we see a path to make it better.” Providing a space for everyone to have a voice is something we’ve executed well, and it happens formally and informally.
In 2022, we started the “reCONNECT Series” to create strong and meaningful friendships within a hybrid work environment. We also encourage people to let their co-workers know they are loved and appreciated. We want people to know we care about them, and we want them to succeed. We hold ourselves and our associates accountable, and we want them to understand that they are valued. The impact that this has had on our company culture is that regrettable turnover is very low. Not only are people not leaving the company, but we are growing.
As Enterprise continues to grow and innovate, talk about the legacy that the bank is creating in the community.
Our goal is to make you better. We get out of the office and meet people where they are. It’s purposeful and authentic. We want our clients to know we show up for them. We ask how they are doing and give them tools to achieve their dreams. Issues that are monumental to our clients are things we solve every day. That’s the fun part of our business. The litmus test is whether we are one of the first three calls our clients make on their worst day or their best day. It takes a long time to reach that level. We take pride in building long-term relationships with great trust and loyalty on both sides of the table.
We are also celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our signature business training program, Enterprise University. We offer over 30 live virtual courses - at no cost - for anyone, whether they bank with us or not. The classes range from introductory to executive courses for business professionals and leaders at all levels. By the end of this semester, 40,000 people will have attended Enterprise University. What’s remarkable is that not only are C-Suite individuals taking classes taught by real professionals and experts in their field, but we are now seeing companies using Enterprise University classes for the development of their associates. I’m proud that we can provide this level of value to the business community.
Share your perspective on how living here has shaped your civic involvement as a Glendale resident since 2001 and as a business leader.
If you think about the people that make up Kirkwood, Glendale, Webster, and Des Peres neighborhoods, we care about the future because so many of our kids come back to live here. We want to create better schools, streets, and parks for the next 10, 20, or 30 years. The “For the W” campaign benefiting Moss Field in Webster Groves is a perfect example of the private sector supporting a civic initiative. People from all over, not just Webster Groves, participate in that campaign because that field is a shared treasure. History connects these neighborhoods, and the thing that makes living here so great is that people take pride in the community. Humans want to belong to something and be a part of something successful. Enterprise Bank has connected with the community as an employer and as a community supporter, and we’ve done it well and promise to continue doing that. We thank those who are our clients and welcome those who aren’t.
What’s the thing that makes you smile every single time?
When I think about how our company impacts the families that we’ll never meet and the families of our clients we’ve known for years, that makes me smile.
Connecting with community goes hand-in-hand with shopping local and supporting the small business owners in our town. So, let's talk local:
Favorite place for a coffee meeting? Kaldi’s
Where do you go for lunch? I’ll go work out with Kerri Simon at FitSTL.
What are you looking forward to? 4 Hands Brewery is coming to downtown Kirkwood. Kevin Lemp is committed to this community, and we can’t wait for them to open.
We will spend our money here in the community to improve the lives of the residents - whether they are clients or not - because we know that better, smarter people strengthen our community.