Bank of Romney
You’re Someone Special Here
Business View Magazine interviews Dean Young, Bank of Romney President and CEO, for our focus on Top U.S. Community Banks
For well over a century, The Bank of Romney has been helping generations of Hampshire County, West Virginia residents achieve their dreams. The locally owned and operated state chartered bank offers services to meet a wide range of needs including personal banking, business accounts, and loans for everything from mortgages to businesses, construction, and commercial real estate. And they do so with a dedication to helping their community thrive and compassion for life’s many twists and turns.
“Our customers know that if they have an issue, sickness, or whatever family or personal life tragedy may be, if they call The Bank of Romney, we are going to work with them and we are going to be very reasonable,” says David Mayfield, The Bank of Romney’s Chief of Lending. “I always tell folks, ‘If you’ve lost a piece of collateral to the Bank of Romney, that’s because you didn’t do anything to avoid that.’”
The Bank of Romney first opened its doors on December 20, 1888 and has grown over the past 133 years to include seven branches across Hampshire and Morgan County. With $350 million in assets, it’s the oldest and largest bank in the communities they serve. While their services and assets have grown over the past century, their community spirit hasn’t changed. Their original mission and passion to meet the needs of their community has remained the same. Even the property the bank sits on is in almost the same site in downtown Romney as where it began.
“We started in pretty much the exact same location that we are sitting on today in two ground floors in a building called the Wirgman,” says Dean Young, The Bank of Romney President and CEO. “We stayed in that spot until 1906, when we moved directly across the street into another building where we stayed until 1966. We left that building and moved back across the street where we originally started. They bought this land and created our current building – of course, we’ve had some renovations, remodeling, and add-ons since then.”
The bank is now working to expand its online capabilities. They currently offer internet banking, mobile banking, Apple Express Telephone Banking, and online bill payments via a brand new website, but they are hoping to improve their offerings over the next year or two. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown them that there is a definite need for hands-off banking in the community. “Our customers adapted and began using more online banking, more telephone banking, and accessed our drive-thru facilities and it’s still going in that direction,” says Young. “Some of the older customers have come back in the lobby, but customers are utilizing our online services a lot more than they did pre-COVID.”
Customers using online and mobile banking have access to enhanced security features through the bank’s SecurLOCK app. The free application sends a notification to a customer’s phone or smart watch every time there is a charge made on their debit card. “It helps with a lot of the fraud because if someone is using their card online to buy things in California, they’re going to know and they’re going to see the notification or the ping,” says Lisa Carl, The Bank of Romney’s Senior Vice President and COO.
In addition to the free security app, Customers are treated to perks through the bank’s ScoreCard Rewards program when they use their Bank of Romney debit cards. For every $2 a customer spends, they receive $1 in points. “The good thing is the customers will go to a gas station or Walgreens or CVS and when they use their card they might be prompted to save $10 on their gas at that time,” Young explains. “It’s an unexpected surprise for a lot of them because they don’t realize it’s there until they use their card. And we don’t limit those points like some financial institutions do. As much as you put on your card is how many points you earn.”
More than just their perks, The Bank of Romney’s dedication to meeting the credit needs of its customers is what sets the institution apart from other banks. Every four to five years banks are examined by the Federal Regulators and assigned a rating based on the Community Reinvestment Act. The Bank of Romney has maintained an “Outstanding” rating for more than 30 years.
“Only 10 to 12 percent of banks in the country get that rating and very few have that rating over the last 30 years,” Young says. “So we can be proud of that. They look into things like our community involvement, the lending that we have in our community, how we service lower income individuals, and just our immediate footprint here. That’s one thing that sets us apart from almost every other bank that we can think of.”
The Bank of Romney’s dedication to the local community doesn’t stop at providing top-notch banking services. They recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new project at the local high school. According to Young, “We partnered with the Board of Education, the athletic director and the community where we are putting in over a 15-year period over half of the funding for a new football field and track.”
Helping with education is top of the list for The Bank of Romney, which hosts a “Tools for Schools” drive every year at their branches. “We are in our 18th year of collecting,” says Carl. “We put totes in all our branches and then collect school supplies for the school closest to them. We deliver it the first or second week of school and the totes in our lobby are just overflowing with school supplies.” The bank also organizes a Financial Scholar’s Program that they have run in both local high schools for the past seven years. Students are taught different aspects of financial literacy including balancing a check book, saving, the difference between renting and borrowing, budgeting, consumer skills, insurance and more.
“We give them the different banking basics to give them a highlight of what they need to know financially to survive once they graduate, whether they go to college or not,” Young says. “That’s important to us as a bank because about 70 percent of our employees actually end up coming from the local high schools. So, we are not only giving them that product, we’re educating our future employment group. And probably even more of them come down here and need a house loan or a car loan, so the more we educate them about how to deal with their finances, the better customers they’ll be and the less likely it is that they’ll have problems with paying the loans back, which in turn helps us and our income.”
The Bank of Romney’s 85 employees are also encouraged to get involved in their community. “We are very family oriented and we take our employees needs into consideration,” Carl says. “They are in community activities and parades and they seem to be very involved in their community, whether it’s their church or clubs or things their children are doing – and we encourage that.”
That community spirit and compassion for the needs of their staff has developed a warm and optimistic corporate culture within the bank. Employees range from ones hired in the past week to those who started back in the 1970s. “We have a lot of flexibility here for the employees to pick up their children in school and that type of thing,” says Young. “We’ve had several employees that have left and gone to other places and often they want to come back once they find out that it’s not greener on the other side.”
The Bank has only seen a handful of presidents in its 133 years. “I’m just the sixth president at The Bank of Romney,” says Young. “And one of our presidents – Mr. (John J.) Cornwell – was in the role for 40 years. He was the second president and he was also the governor of West Virginia in the early 1900s.”
As they move into the future, The Bank of Romney team plans to continue what they have been doing for more than a century – to stay consistent and continue meeting the needs of the community. Young sums it up well, “What we have done for the past 133 years has been really successful. We’ve never been one to grow so far that we can’t handle the growth that we have. We do six percent growth every year and continue to serve the people that move into the county and provide additional services as they come up. That’s our primary goal at this point.”
In memory of Dean Young…
We are sad to report that Dean Kevin Young passed away on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, at the Winchester Medical Center at the age of 55 – just a few days after our interview. With deep respect to Dean, and permission from his associates at The Bank of Romney, we are publishing this feature article with the insights and wise words that Dean shared with us at the time. The thoughts of all of us at Business View are with his loved ones, friends, and business colleagues.
Dean began his employment with The Bank of Romney on Oct. 1, 2002, as Chief Financial Officer and after several promotions, became President and CEO on May 1, 2019. Since that time, the bank has achieved record income levels under Dean’s leadership. A strong community champion, especially for activities that benefited children, Dean was instrumental in developing a plan that enabled the Hampshire High School turf athletic field and synthetic track to be constructed for the benefit of the entire community. He was particularly proud to be involved in that endeavor.
Dean Young’s colleagues and friends pay tribute:
“I was fortunate to work with Dean for 32 years – 13 years when I was an external auditor for the Bank and 19 years after I became a Bank of Romney employee. During that time, Dean never changed. He was always patient, kind and caring of everyone, loved a challenge (especially when it involved numbers) and was a great leader who was respected by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. He will be greatly missed.” Lisa J. Carl, SVP/COO
“Dean had nominated me for The Robert “Bob” Baronner Jr. Outstanding Community Banker of the Year. He was such a thoughtful person. He passed away before the award was given out. I did win the award, thanks to his nomination. I appreciate everything he has done for me and especially for The Bank of Romney. He was a one of a kind leader.” Cynthia L. Walker, Chief Lending Officer & AVP
“Dean Young has been a big asset of the Bank since day one. He was a visionary and problem solver and never had a challenge he couldn’t meet.” Lawrence Foley, Past President & current Board member of The Bank of Romney
“Dean represented everything you could ask for in a community banker. Smart, kind, service oriented and community minded, his absence has left a gap that will never be fully filled. His first priority was his family, who remain continually on our minds and in our hearts. He was an integral part of his family, the Bank, and the community, and we miss him dearly.” William C. Keaton – Keaton, Frazer & Milleson PLLC
“Dean Young had a gift of thinking and calculating at the same time, which were both his forté! It was so amazing how he would calculate formulas in his mind then use the calculator with “no tape” to prove them. He was always money conscious when it came to not using adding machine tape and other wasteful items. Dean will be greatly missed by all who met him or who knew him!” Donna Lynch, Administrative Assistant, The Bank of Romney
“Dean Young will be missed not only for his abilities and leadership skills as a banker, but his patience and willingness to teach those that he worked with. Hampshire County, West Virginia will feel the loss of his dedications and service for years to come.” W. Jefferson Richman, Board of Directors, The Bank of Romney
“Dean was so humble & kind, he was never one to put himself above or before others. He will be greatly missed and left such an impact on our Bank and community.” Stephanie Richardson
“Dean was an incredible leader, co-worker and a friend!” Pamela S. Link, CSR/Teller III
“When I was promoted in 2019, Dean sat me down with members of the Executive team. He said, “You’re not going to let me down, are you?” It was such a simple question, but very seriously asked and answered. I will always remember that calm leadership, that inspiring question.
“My other favorite memory of Dean was pretty funny. I was having a terrible morning and running late to work. When I got there, 10 minutes late, Dean was waiting for me… which gave me pause. Why was the President of the Bank waiting at my office? Turned out he just wanted to work on something without interruption. I thought “good, he probably doesn’t even know what time I was supposed to be here.” But then he said, “I had time to read while I was waiting for you” and I realized that he didn’t miss a thing.” Deborah K. Curci, BCP Coordinator, The Bank of Romney
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AT A GLANCE
The Bank of Romney
What: A state-chartered bank with seven branches
Where: Main branch in Romney, West Virginia with branches throughout Hampshire and Morgan County