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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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A Strategic Pioneering Leader | Brandon C. Lorey

Brandon C. Lorey

President and CEO

Although the phrase is perhaps a bit overused, Brandon C. Lorey, President, and CEO of Bank of Clarke County, is an out-of-the-box thinker, especially for the banking world. His high-energy approach keeps people engaged, and he is constantly challenging his team to choose right over easy when identifying and fixing problems. He believes that as a community bank and to stay an independent organization, Bank of Clarke County must constantly evolve or become stale. His background with significantly larger organizations provides a unique perspective in the community banking space, and his work as a Chief Credit and Lending Officer during the housing crisis has given him a unique perspective on risk in the lending world.

Brandon earned a degree in government from the College of William & Mary and an MBA from the University of Maryland. He started working for United Bank in Connecticut in 2013. Before that, he held leadership positions at H&R Block Bank in Kansas City, Sovereign Bank in Pennsylvania, and Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank in Maryland.John Milleson, the previous CEO & President of the Bank, said in a statement to The Winchester Star when retiring that he believes the Bank will remain dedicated to “growth, profitability, and independence” under Brandon’s leadership. “I believe any changes Brandon will make will be very positive,” Milleson has expressed.

Brandon has been hailed as a profit-focused leader, strategist, and turnaround specialist within the banking industry. With over 28 years of experience in senior leadership roles creating a thriving profit center by instituting new business models, repackaging, and repricing products and services, Brandon has been realigning leadership to create highly engaged teams who cultivate a customer-focused culture. The steadfast leader has boosted productivity by strengthening an operational foundation and instituting effective workflows, processes, and technologies and drove low-cost deposit and higher-yield loan volume growth by implementing consistent sales culture throughout the organization. An innovative solution leader with broad P&L experience and a track record of managing successful consumer and commercial loan and deposit portfolios within billion-dollar financial institutions, Brandon has been looked up to as a mentor and a role model by many.

A Support System

Brandon is a support system to the budding entrepreneurs out there trying hard to establish themselves by allowing them to flourish in an environment that supports their specific career drivers. “Banking is not normally looked upon as being very “fresh.” However, at the Bank of Clarke County, we are doing everything we can to be as entrepreneurial as possible,” says Brandon. “I challenge my team to think of ourselves as a tech company that happens to do banking – as we are now competing with many organizations outside of the traditional banking world, and we need to be prepared to be both proactive in our decision-making and be nimble enough to pivot when necessary.” By creating this sort of environment, Brandon has been able to attract and retain some younger and entrepreneurial talent that would otherwise not necessarily be happy in a traditional banking environment.

In his impressive career experience, Brandon has learned numerous lessons, which he passes on to everyone seeking his support and guidance. “Always surround yourself with people smarter than you and never be afraid to ask questions! Be sure to listen to the opinion of others with an open mind and appreciate the fact that different people bring different areas of expertise and drivers,” he explains. “Diversity is key to success in the long run, and it should be reflected throughout the organization. When hiring, we always look to find experts in their specific areas who can inform the Bank on the best way to develop a program, create a process, or improve upon a procedure. I think one of my favorite expressions is that “it’s never as good as it feels or as bad as it seems” – and given the last 2+ years of economic, health, and global turmoil, it has served me well.”

Transforming the Bank

The Bank of Clarke County is always looking into new technologies to improve its employee and customer experience. They partner with well-established FinTechs to help deliver best-in-class service. One of their more recent endeavors has been the launch of nCino through one of their subsidiaries, niche national marine finance division LV Finance, where customers can now get instant approval from the comfort of their home, call into an advisor, or meet with a dealer to get the yacht of their dreams, all in just a few minutes. On the commercial side, the Bank’s customers can experience real-time data related to their inventory, identify potential concerns within their pipeline, and draw on their line with a click of a button – and it’s all paperless!

According to Brandon, one of the many benefits of working with a community bank is its ability to create products that meet the specific needs of the borrowers. Local decision-making by the people that live and work in the community is critical as they can best understand the risks associated with a specific deal. “Our ability to render local and lightning-fast credit decisions, regardless of the loan size, has helped a number of customers over the last few years get into their forever home, start the business they have always dreamed about, or reinvest in a business that has been in existence for years,” he adds.

Amid COVID, Brandon brought LV Finance online, which has helped create significant revenue for re-investment into the Bank. This is one of the most significant achievements of the Bank. “It is imperative that community banks, in order to remain community banks, challenge themselves to think beyond the traditional banking model, especially in light of the significant banking consolidation going on across the country and non-traditional competitors,” elucidates Brandon. “This very successful launch was done at the height of COVID, completely remote, and with a business line that many in the Bank had never had previous experience with.” The adaptability of the people and leadership, coupled with a positive approach to things regardless of what is going on in the world, was critical to the launch achievement and remains a key component of the ongoing success

It is pertinent to mention that the Bank has made some significant investments in 2022 to bring best-in-class in-person and online channels for their small, mid-, and large-scale businesses. “Improvements to online banking, our loan and deposit opening process, and cash management are constantly being made to ensure we can meet the needs of Main Street with the products of Wall Street,” adds Brandon.

" I challenge my team to think of ourselves as a tech company that happens to do banking – as we are now competing with many organizations outside of the traditional banking world. "

Brandon C. Lorey

President and CEO

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