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WPNB CEO Discusses Career, Community, and a Capitol Achievement

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At a time of uncertainty for the banking industry and its customers, Winter Park National Bank is celebrating a milestone by taking the number three spot on the S&P Global Market Intelligence list of the 50 top performing community banks in the Southeast region for 2022.

Banks were scored based on factors that include revenue growth, efficiency and cost of funds. Winter Park National’s five-year average operating revenue growth of 175.7% was the highest of any bank on the list.

“It is a great honor, and something that does not just happen,” Winter Park National Bank President and CEO David Dotherow told the32789. “This can be attributed to many years of learning from what we have done correctly, and just as importantly, from what we did not do.”

Dotherow received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University and entered the baking industry immediately after graduating. “I literally fell into banking by accepting the first job offered to me,” he said. “It has stuck for 39 years and I have not looked back.”

His experience includes serving as senior vice president of commercial lending at Security National Bank, business development officer at Seacoast National Bank, and president and CEO of New Traditions Bank.

Here, the Dotherow discusses his career, the S&P ranking, and the state of the banking industry.

Why did you want to be in community banking as opposed to a larger company? I started with a regional financial institution based out of Atlanta and completed my management training with them in Atlanta. Upon completion of my training, I moved back to my hometown of Winter Park to assist in that bank’s entry into the Central Florida market. The allure of community banking was that it allowed me flexibility to develop well-rounded banking relationships with customers. In a larger bank environment, you can only assist clients in a certain service of that bank. As a community banker, you are the client’s adviser for the entire relationship whether they need a loan for their business or a personal loan for a car.

What brought you to Winter Park National Bank? Sid Cash (Winter Park National Bank founding organizer) is a friend and partner of mine in community banking. We, along with our team of dedicated bankers, have been involved in several Central Florida community banks over the past 40-plus years. We are no different than any small business in that we are entrepreneurs, it just happens to be banking. After building and selling several community banks – and as Central Florida lost a number of community banks through the recession – our group felt there was a tremendous void in the Central Florida market for a personalized community bank. In August 2017, Winter Park National Bank was the first nationally charted de novo bank approved since 2009.

What did it take for Winter Park National Bank to achieve its S&P ranking just six years after opening? It is about understanding what your strengths are as an organization and not trying to be an expert in everything within your field. This is especially important for a community bank, where it is difficult to compete with larger financial institutions. You have to find your niche within your local market. And I would be remiss to not say that our success would not have been achieved without the collective strength of our employees, Board, and committed shareholders.

What is the importance of the S&P ranking for the customer base? The S&P ranking provides validation to our customers and the community we serve that we operate a fiscally responsible, well-run organization. We philosophically operate the bank with core values and do not take undo risk whether economic times are booming, or in a downturn.

How do you hope to grow the Winter Park National Bank in the coming years? We are fortunate to have built the bank on a strong foundation of quality customers over the past five and half years. We anticipate our future growth to marginally slow as we look for customers who missing the personal service they deserve, but we will never grow so large that our customers cannot communicate with any person in the organization – including the CEO.

What should the public understand about the current state of the banking industry? The current interest rate environment and ongoing economic uncertainty pose challenges for banks that are no different from those faced by many businesses in a broad range of industries. These challenges will vary for institutions based on their market and/or business strategy, but the banking industry as a whole remains resilient. As reported by the FDIC, strong capital and liquidity levels continue to support lending and help protect against potential losses.

Are there any changes – short term or long term – that will result from what has been happening in the banking industry? From the industry perspective, there will be proposals for changes to banking regulations and supervision. Time will tell how much of that trickles down to smaller community banks. We will continue to focus on running a conservative, strong, well-capitalized financial institution that serves the needs of businesses and individuals in our community. We are all invested in our community, and we would welcome the opportunity to earn their business.

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