Banking isn’t just a career; it runs in the family for Andrew Black, President/CEO of Princeville State Bank. Black is a fourth-generation banker, as his great-grandfather T.E. Murphy started Princeville State Bank and his grandfather William German is chairman of the board. Black’s parents, aunt, uncle, sister and cousins are shareholders.
But Black didn’t always intend to follow in his family’s footsteps. “Actually I didn’t want to go into business initially but wanted to explore the field of electronics,” Black said. “After working at Pekin Insurance for a couple summers and then onto the bank as a summer job, I realized that the business world was a good fit.”
Black was born and raised in Princeville before moving to Dunlap. He attended ICC and then Bradley University. He continued his education at the Midwest School for Community Banking and the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin. Before taking on his current position, he worked in the areas of marketing, loan processing and lending. Black was offered the position of President in spring 2004 prior the Annual Stockholders meeting. His prior position was that of Executive Vice President/ CEO. His wife Lesa took over the position of vice president and compliance officer.
The Community Bankers Association of Illinois named Black the 2005 Career Banker of the Year. He was also named a 2006 Rising Star in Banking by the NorthWestern Financial Review magazine, a trade journal for bank presidents and senior managers in the Upper Midwest. He has also served on the Illinois Bankers Association’s Illinois BancService Corp. board and the Community Banker’s Association of Illinois’ Community Banc Insurance Services board.
Black is extremely involved in the day-to-day activities of the bank, working long hours and performing various tasks around the building. “I do know there are a lot of younger bankers out there and several of my peers have similar roles in their institutions,” Black said. “The term bankers’ hours does not apply anymore. I’m often at work well before the doors are open and in addition, I attend different meetings throughout the month whether it is in Peoria or Princeville.”
Princeville State Bank was first opened in April 1950, as Princeville’s previous bank had failed during the Great Depression. “Mr. T.E. Murphy, a prominent businessman in Princeville, was instrumental in getting the bank re-opened after the depression,” Black said. “He stated, ‘If Princeville is going to survive as a town, it needs a financial institution.’”
“Princeville State Bank has and always will be a community bank,” Black said. “There is a lot to say about a locally-owned, community bank. Service is second to none.”
While Princeville State Bank isn’t a large chain bank with numerous branches, Black feels that this is a definite advantage for the institution. “There are definitely disadvantages of being a smaller institution because of our size but I feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages,” Black said. “Due to our size, we are able to know our customers. This is more important in today’s world with identity theft and forgeries. Although we do not have ATM’s scattered throughout the country or have branches in every county throughout Illinois, with the age of technology, this isn’t always a necessity. We pride ourselves in having up-to-date technology which includes telephone banking, Internet banking with bill pay and real time processing.”
Princeville State Bank offers the usual banking services such as personal checking and savings, safe deposit boxes, business checking, etc., but they also have a few unique services. The bank really helps to cater to small businesses by offering services that benefit small business owners and employees.
“We have free business checking which I think is a great product especially for those small business owners that have only a couple employees,” Black said. “We have a free courier service that will pick up your deposit and even bring change orders. For most small businesses with only a couple employees, it’s hard for one person to leave during the day to make a trip to the bank. This often takes up to an hour of that person’s time (or in some cases they are doing it on their lunch hour).”
Another unique service is the Ricki Club for children 12 and under. Children can start a savings account and the bank will give them their first $5 to put into the account and another $5 on their birthday in order to help teach children the value of saving. The club even has a mascot, Ricki the Raccoon. However, Black notes that the raccoon isn’t a real animal, but a suit that some of the employees’ kids dress up in, including his 13- year-old son, Matthew, for events in and around Princeville.
In spring 2005, directors decided to expand Princeville State Bank by opening a branch in Peoria.
“This was a tough decision to make as it is very costly to build a brick-and-mortar facility,” Black said. “A couple years ago, the hype was that brick-and-mortar facilities would all go away and everyone would be doing their banking on the Internet. I think we are a long way from seeing this.
“Regardless of how much banking one may do from their home, they still want the peace of mind knowing that their bank is located just moments away should the need arise. This is also important as identity theft, counterfeiting and forgeries are becoming more popular. It was important for us to move into the Peoria market and to focus our efforts on the business we have developed in the surrounding area.”
The new branch opened last year on November 20, with a week’s worth of festivities to celebrate the opening. Even with the additional location, Black is optimistic that the institution will continue to grow while still having the small town appeal of the original bank.
By no means do we want to grow too large to service the clients we already have and the ones that will join us within the coming months,” Black said. “I see us achieving some steady growth within the next five years and see some excellent opportunities for those wanting to join our team at the ground floor.” IBI