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Pillar of the Community

Jim Lally, CEO, Enterprise Financial Services Corp.

Article by Renee Moore

Photography by Strauss Peyton, Enterprise Financial Services Corp.

Originally published in Kirkwood City Lifestyle

If you walk through Kirkwood Park, chances are you'll run into Jim and his dog, Iggy. It's just as likely that you'll see him in downtown Webster, one of his favorite places to grab a coffee or a beer. If you go to the Glendale Jazz fest, you'll undoubtedly find Jim and his wife, Laura, among the crowd of lawn chairs and coolers.

Jim Lally, President, and CEO of Enterprise Financial Services Corp, the parent company of Enterprise Bank & Trust, describes life in our community this way, "People live in the front of their house, not in the back of their house. First, you get to know the dogs, and then you get to know the neighbors. It's a real blessing."

Jim loves to talk about his hometown as he travels. "People cannot believe that I have a market (Hanneke's) less than a mile from my home where people greet you by your name and still send you a bill for your purchases at the end of the month. They ask me where I live because that type of business just does not exist in my other cities." 

That same type of unique, personal, community connection is precisely what differentiates Enterprise Bank & Trust from other banks. "We are a commercial bank that has become extremely good at consumer banking. But what really separates us is the relationships we create with our customers."

The strength of those relationships was exemplified during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. "No one had a playbook for what we lived through. Once we knew our employees were safe, we started serving our customers. We picked up the phone and reached out to 5,000 customers in three days," Lally says. "The only thing we asked them was, 'How are you? How can we help?' Every associate involved understood that the true beneficiaries of their hard work were the families that were still going to receive a paycheck in a pretty desperate time. Our team acted with pride and at a pace that I had never seen before." 

Jim and his team lead more than 3,600 applicants through the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program). "Every customer who applied, and had the appropriate documentation, had their loan fulfilled. It was a very proud moment for our associates. Our company's feeling was, 'If we can do this, we can do anything.'" 

With that, Jim's team turned to him and said, "What else needs to be done?"

Realizing that individual families within the Enterprise team were going to be impacted financially because of this crisis, Jim approached his leadership team with an idea. He proposed creating an Associate Support Fund with the dollars in reserve for the traditional year-end celebrations. The Fund supports Enterprise associates needing extra help during this difficult time.

The entire company was all in. In fact, Enterprise team members asked how they could contribute more than dollars to the Fund. "People offered to contribute their Personal Time Off, so if someone needed to stay home with their kids, they could do so without worrying."

Programs like Enterprise's Associate Support Fund raise the bar for businesses that say they are family-focused to truly become a business that actually focuses on families. 

It's no surprise then, Jim and the Enterprise team proudly support family-based programs around our community. 

The Kirkwood Fireworks Show, The Kirkwood Reading Program, and Youth in Action are three local programs Jim is passionate about. 

"The fireworks show is the culmination of an unbelievable holiday, and no one goes there by themselves. They go there with their family. We are proud to be a part of that family's tradition by being part of the fireworks show."  

"The Kirkwood Library, which is stunning, is a great investment in the community. I grew up with my parents instilling in me that knowledge is power. I'm happy to participate in programs like the Kirkwood Reading Program, which allows someone to fall in love with reading."

"Kids have so much curiosity, energy, and willingness to connect. Programs like Youth in Action provide kids with the opportunity to connect and serve."

"Our community, our associates, and our clients are three of the four pillars that Enterprise serves," says Jim. As a publicly held company, serving shareholders is the fourth pillar. "My job as the CEO is to make sure that we have a balance between all four of those pillars. By serving our customers well, we serve the community well, which bodes well for our shareholders. When you have a successful company, you can certainly dote on your associates with great benefits and opportunities." 

Jim credits both his father and his predecessor for teaching him the values serving and maintaining a balance. "I grew up watching my dad, the CEO of Catholic Charities, balance fundraising, wise spending, and serving. My predecessor, Peter Benoist, lived by the motto of 'doing well by doing good.' That's the foundation of our culture and the relationships we create in our communities."