Reid English Ranks Tops
Interestingly, Reid English didn't set out with the intention of building a career in banking. She originally planned to go to medical school, but in her senior year of college decided to go in to law, instead. She graduated from the
Reid English practiced law, first in the legal department of Society Bank & Trust in
"I decided it wasn't as exciting dealing with the negative things in life as it was building a company, so I got involved in bank regulatory work," Reid English recalled.
She initially worked on the regulatory side as a vice president with Access BIDCO, then joined Capitol Bancorp as general counsel in 1997. At that time Capitol Bancorp had five community banks, and she helped with the formation of the company's sixth community bank that year.
"It frankly surprised me how much I enjoyed regulatory work. I didn't envision myself as someone who'd like to sit behind a desk and look through regulations," she said.
Capitol Bancorp develops new community banks, raises capital for them, mentors them, and provides them with all the backroom services they need to compete with large banks, including legal services, human resources, accounting, risk management and IT. Each community bank has local decision-making authority and is managed by an on-site president under the direction of a local board of directors. Of the company's 13 banks in
Reid English said that each bank has the autonomy to make its own customer decisions, including pricing its deposits and loans, deciding what type of customer it wants to go after and what its marketing strategy will be. The emphasis on "independence" tends to be an attractive recruiting tool for higher caliber bankers, as well, she noted.
"We believe we've found a way to preserve the community bank model because we provide the backroom services for them, so that all the expertise they need is available through us," Reid English explained.
"A community bank independent of any outside assistance would have a difficult time today competing, offering all the products, having the resources to operate efficiently, and having the high level of compliance and risk management assistance they need because of all the regulations."
All that is done on the Capitol Bancorp side so the bankers can focus on being bankers, being involved in their community and assessing what their community needs are, Reid English said.
"We can't tell a bank out in
Reid English moved on from the position of general counsel for Capitol Bancorp to positions of increasing authority, first as executive vice president, then chief administrative officer, then chief operating officer. She was named president of corporate operations last November. Today, the company has $3.9 billion in assets.
Reflecting on her decade of service to the company, Reid English said she's proud of the growth of Capitol Bancorp as a whole and of the quality of the employees it has been able to attract over the years.
"We have just an outstanding team," she remarked. "I'm also proud of the environment we've created here. You spend more of your waking hours with the people you work with than you do your own family, so it's really nice when you have a group of people who really, truly enjoy and respect one another."
At this stage of its development, Capitol Bancorp is eyeing some of the higher growth markets in
"It's about finding the person who has the experience and has the ability to attract and retain quality employees. Then, the model works almost anywhere."
Capitol Bancorp's intention is to grow its network of community banks to 100 by 2011. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Reid English doesn't think the company will have any trouble reaching that level. The company's vision, she said, is to be seen as the provider of choice for financial service in the community banking arena. It also wants to be seen as a place where experienced bankers can go to finish out their careers, with the comfort of knowing their bank is not going to be sold, she added.
As Reid English sees it, it's fun to be a part of a company that's growing, has a lot of positive energy and is filled with talented people.
"We're so excited about the future and where we're going to be, and about all the opportunity that is yet untapped," she said.