Cornerstone Bank: A Place Where Culture Meets Banking

Written by: Josiah Kopp

As the business industry progresses through the 2020s, ‘culture’ is becoming a trending topic, and the importance of culture within business is growing rapidly.

Culture looks different for the DNA of every business, yet universally culture is an important pillar that creates a lasting impression, not just for the business itself, but also the customers. Cornerstone Bank is a great example of utilizing culture to strengthen its organization. We sat down with five individuals at Cornerstone to get an inside look.

How important is culture to a business, and specifically within your role at Cornerstone Bank?

Culture is very important since it shows we are inclusive, approachable, and open-minded. As managers, we have to lead by example and embrace change to grow as an individual and an employee. Michelle Byrum, SVP Retail Banking Manager

I’m especially proud at Cornerstone Bank that we live and breathe our Vision every day in that we will be who people turn to when they are making important decisions about their money. Jim Hambrick, SVP Market President

A positive & supportive culture is very important for a business, and it flows from the top of the organization down. When team members understand the culture of their organization and truly buy in, it creates a stronger team and empowers the individuals to make the right decision, not just the easiest decision. Ryan Grussing, SVP Business Banker

What does the phrase “culture trumps everything” mean to you?

[It means] embracing and bringing to life the values and the culture of the bank.

Michelle Byrum, SVP Retail Manager

Simple, it means doing what’s right every time. Jake Lind, AVP Business Banker

An organization needs a well-defined culture to have a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and how to achieve it. A well-communicated and shared culture engages and unifies team members to work together to achieve a common goal. Ray Grefsheim, SVP Business Banker

What does “Experts” mean to you at Cornerstone?

It means being a person whom people turn to when making important decisions about their money. Ryan Grussing, SVP Business Banker

You can’t just call yourself an expert just because it sounds nice; you earn it by doing the work you are responsible for and doing it well. We don’t expect our team members to be an expert and know everything, our expectation is we work together as a team sharing our knowledge and expertise with each other to help serve our customers and find the best possible financial options to fit their needs. Our team members truly enjoy their jobs and helping customers make important decisions about their money. Jim Hambrick, SVP Market President

Describe how Cornerstone is “proactive” and what that means to your role.

The 2020 pandemic was a great example of how we practice being proactive. We proactively reached out to keep customers informed about the Paycheck Protection Program. Some weeks that meant sending daily updates and information to customers that were shut down and in need of financial relief. Jake Lind, AVP Business Banker

Proactive means we don’t wait for the customer to come to us. We make care calls, ask questions, look for opportunities to strengthen relationships, and proactively educate our customers and team members. We want to be the first person they think of when they are making a purchase or in need of financial advice

Michelle Byrum, SVP Retail Manager

How is Cornerstone “accessible” and what unique value does that accessibility bring to customers?

One of our key values is we value our customers’ time more than our own. Our customers have a business to run, a family to care for, and a life to live. So we work with a high level of respect for their time. Jim Hambrick, SVP Market President

It also means that our customers have access to all levels of leadership within our organization; this level of accessibility allows our organization to serve our customers when, where, and how they want to be served. Ray Grefsheim, SVP Business Banker

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Josiah is an Editor and Photographer at Spotlight Media in Fargo.