Capital Region CATALYZE

Fresh Take ft. Doyle Mitchell

December 20, 2021 Greater Washington Partnership
Capital Region CATALYZE
Fresh Take ft. Doyle Mitchell
Show Notes Transcript

This Fresh Take interview features Doyle Mitchell, President and CEO of Industrial Bank. JB Holston and Doyle will discuss Industrial Bank’s long history of providing critical financial services to communities across the Capital Region, the focus on reaching traditionally underserved customers, and excitement around ongoing inclusive growth efforts.

Hosted by JB Holston.  Produced by Jenna Klym, Ramir Cena, Justin Matheson-Turner, Christian Rodriguez, and Nina Sharma. Edited by Christian Rodriguez. 

Learn from leaders doing the work across the Capital Region and beyond. These conversations will showcase innovation, as well as history and culture across our region, to bridge the gap between how we got here and where we are going.

About our guest:

B. Doyle Mitchell Jr., is President and CEO of Industrial Bank, leading the largest minority-owned commercial bank in the Washington Metropolitan area and the fifth largest African-American owned financial institution in the country.

Mr. Mitchell is the third generation president of Industrial Bank, which was founded by his grandfather Jesse H. Mitchell in 1934. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University in 1984, he began a full-time career at Industrial. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1990 and succeeded his father as president in 1993.  B. Doyle Mitchell, Jr., believes Industrial Bank has remained strong because of its mission to promote the financial and economic empowerment of its diverse communities, and by serving those communities through high quality financial services and employees that really care.  Industrial has seven branches in Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, which provides a full range of quality banking and financial services, including residential, commercial, small business and SBA loans.   

Doyle received the 2015 Small Business Champion Award from the DC Chamber of Commerce, the 2015 Minority Business Leader Award from the Washington Business Journal, the 2015 Torch Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable Chairman’s Award, and the 2015 Human Servant Award from the Training Grounds DMV Organization, and the Nationals Banker's Association Chairman's Award. 

Mr. Mitchell has served on the Board of the National Bankers Association (NBA), which represents the nation’s minority banks since 1999. During his tenure, he served two consecutive terms as chairman of the National Bankers Association from 2010-2013. 

Nina Sharma  0:06  
Welcome to fresh take a candid interview series featuring thought leaders and innovators from across the capital region. These one on one conversations, highlight the incredible work happening in our communities, and showcase both where we are and where we are going as a region.

JB Holston  0:25  
That Welcome everyone. It's good to have you here. And particular Welcome to my guest, Doyle Mitchell, who's the president, CEO of Industrial Bank. Doyle. Thanks for joining us today.

Doyle Mitchell  0:35  
Well, thank you for having me, JB. It's a privilege to be here.

JB Holston  0:39  
Great. I wanted to give everyone just a little bit of a biographical background about you. And then we'll dive in with some some questions. For folks who don't know, Doyle is the President CEO of Industrial Bank, which is the largest minority owned commercial bank in the Washington Metropolitan Area, and is the fifth largest African American owned financial institution in the country. And we'll talk more about the history of the bank. But notably, Doyle is a third generation president of the bank. His was founded, or refunded, I guess, in some ways in 1934, by his grandfather, Jesse H. Mitchell, notable Howard law grad from 1907, if I have the dates, right, so remarkable length of time. And at this point, industrial has seven branches in Washington, DC, Prince George's County, Maryland, providing a full range of quality banking and financial services, including residential, commercial, small business, and SBA loans. And the bank, of course, has been expanding beyond that, as well in in recent years, as well. So look forward to talking about that. Doyle is well known as Small Business Champion, in acknowledged for that by the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Business Leader Award from Washington Business Journal, and a number of other real well deserved awards for civic service for the region. Doyle. Thanks again for joining us, and welcome.

Doyle Mitchell  2:03  
Thank you for having me again.

JB Holston  2:05  
Great. Well, let's start by talking about the that remarkable history, if you wouldn't mind, just tell us about how the bank was, was founded. And, and I know, it's a long and remarkable history, but maybe talk a little bit about how you were able to survive and thrive for all those decades, because, boy, there are very few institutions of any kind that, that make it as long as Industrial Bank has.

Doyle Mitchell  2:30  
Well, you know, JV, the founding of the bank absolutely amazes me because it got started, you know, during the Depression, my grandfather worked for another bank at the same location. And it could not reopen when Franklin Roosevelt declared the banking holiday. And, you know, down there in the shop, the droid Park area of Washington, DC, it was a thriving black community, and that they had no no bank that would lend the money, you can deposit and other banks you couldn't borrow. And somewhere along the way, he got interested in real estate, and think he sold some real estate. And if he couldn't get financing for for his clients, then no, he wouldn't sell too many, too many homes. And so he started to put together a group of black businessmen. And I like to use the term he sold stock out of the trunk of his car. There was no black superintendent or commissioner in DC at the time. So they had to actually get a charter to an act of Congress. And so that was that was a pretty interesting history as to how the bank got started. My grandpa, my father was 21, at the time, he was going to Howard and working both full time. And that's that's how the bank got started, started off doing, you know, loans to businesses, loans for homeowners, you know, back when the price of a home in DC was five and $6,000. And slow and steady grew the bank.

JB Holston  4:18  
Yeah. And the legacy of course, is long. But I know there have been some points in time. That are that must be particularly remarkable. Maybe we can talk a little bit about those. But tell us how you then Did you always know you were gonna end up at the bank?

Doyle Mitchell  4:34  
I didn't. I know my father was a quiet man in his personal life, and my mother was a music teacher. She was when she was younger. She was a very good pianist. My grandfather was an opera singer. And even though he's very fair skin, you couldn't say now opera in this in this country. A black man couldn't sing opera. In this country and so you went to Germany. The long story of that is I really have a music side of my, my family, and I loved architecture. And so my first year in college, I was an undeclared major. My, my father never said he wanted me to be president. But I knew he did. You know, I knew he did it his in his quiet way. And sometimes my mother would talk about it. But I was really undecided when I went to school, and after I took a couple of classes and saw how, you know, supply and demand equals profit, and we could we could make a profit in banking in and really help people. I thought it was it was designed a business for me to do.

JB Holston  5:47  
Yeah. And what year did you have to become president oil

Doyle Mitchell  5:50  
1993. My father passed away, I had worked in almost every area of the bank at that time, and I was kind of in the last stop of being a commercial lender. And a couple of weeks after he passed away, the boy named me president.

JB Holston  6:09  
Yeah. Well, the history of the Bank in Washington since then, of course, his remarkable history prior to that the 25 years prior to that was pretty remarkable as well, because it takes you all the way back to 1968. Of course, which in itself was a remarkable year.

Doyle Mitchell  6:23  
But when I was coming up, there was 26 DC based banks in Washington, and one by one, they, they started to fade away through acquisitions and, and mergers. But I remember when almost all of the banks that I was aware of in Washington, were based in Washington, headquartered in Washington.

JB Holston  6:49  
Yeah, that that industry generally has consolidated. But certainly, you know, in the district itself, and for the district, it's it's been undergoing a pretty remarkable transformation, as has as has the district itself, let me leap way out and just talk about the present day for a moment. And this is something that, that we hadn't previously with you, but just curious. Many, it's remarkable how many young people today don't remember an era when we had inflation. You know, but but here we are. So you're leading a bank? How do you think about the impact of inflation? And, you know, how, how does the How does inflation affect a bank? I, again, I think for a lot of folks has been so long since we thought about it in the country, they may not, they may not know those things?

Doyle Mitchell  7:38  
Well, there's, I think there's probably two sides to it. Um, you know, banks don't really like low interest rates, and certainly not for the extent of time that we've had very low interest rates. So we do better when rates are higher. But at the same time, the caveat to that is, it makes it more expensive for our customers. You know, housing becomes more expensive cars, sometimes credit cards, and you know, the price of goods. And so, for our customers, inflation may not be a good thing, particularly if wages are not rising at the same rates. And of course, that if they're feeling pressure, then we may feel their pressure in terms of them not being able to pay loans on time.

JB Holston  8:33  
Yeah, well, here any any prognostications about how long this inflationary bubble may last, or you have the view that it'll be fairly temporary, any thoughts on that?

Doyle Mitchell  8:43  
Well, it's been for a long time rates have been low for a long time. I think we'll probably start to see them rise a little bit in 2022. And, and maybe some more in 2023. Now, don't don't bet the market on my advice, because most economists are wrong half the time. But I think I think it seems like there's some pressure in the markets that will cause a rise in rates.

JB Holston  9:13  
Yeah, it seems like it's gonna be more than just transitory. Yes. And, yeah, it's, it is remarkable since people could it's been a long time people talk about things like a spread or, you know, something other than a negative spread. That's right. On rates and interest rates. I love to talk a little bit about the bank's role in the community because you folks have for a long time, been very active through programs like your financial literacy programs for first time homebuyers and others. How do you think about that role and and how has that role changed over time? As you know, as the back in the area has developed?

Doyle Mitchell  9:52  
Well, yeah, JB I think we we have done financial literacy before anyone even coined the term Because traditionally the markets that we've done business in, you know, African Americans have health gaps, wealth gaps, income gaps. And many times we, we hold their hands through a variety of processes. So we just kind of did it as a part of our business. And, and we still do that. We probably formalized it more so 10 years, 15 years ago, to various degrees. And, and now I think we even have curriculum that we, I think we started using it in high school. And now we actually use it in DC jail. Pre, pre pre COVID. So, and we love to teach. As I said, my mother is a, she was a music teacher. And I think I I've inherited, that that part of her. I'd like to teach, I like to impart knowledge, and our employees do to they, I think they, they love to educate people on financial services, and watch those lights come on. And, you know, if there's an opportunity to help them after that, of course, we'll we'll provide that. And we like to offer solutions, like home buying, and teaching people about the process, so that they can get on their way to building wealth.

JB Holston  11:46  
Well, it's critical service. And as you said, it's something that more and more institutions have been focusing on in recent years, but it's been part and parcel of your work for for long, for a long time. Yeah, how big? How do you define the size of the bank these days? Oil? How should people think about how big the bank is right now?

Doyle Mitchell  12:05  
Um, well, you know, I look at the whole industry, so we're pretty small when you compare it to, to the top five in the country. But we're probably about four or five times larger than when I when I took over, fortunately, new capital is come to our sector, from a lot of those same larger banks. And we certainly appreciate that that's making a big difference. And I think Treasury and the CDFI Fund has come up with some really, really good programs that are significantly larger than normal, that we are in the process of taking advantage of. So, um, you know, if we're above 630 million in assets, I think the average bank in the country may be 300, or 350 million in assets. Most of the 4600 banks in the country are really very small, you know, small, rural, small town, community banks. And, you know, the importance of being a community bank is we know our customers, we know the communities, and, and we live right here in our communities. So you're kind of held to an unsaid standard, because I've been stopped in grocery stores. You know, and, you know, mostly, mostly good conversations. Every now and then a, a not so easy conversation. But being a part of the community and being involved in organizations like, like I am and others that work at the bank. You get ingrained in the community quite quite a bit.

JB Holston  14:02  
Yeah. That's great. And and helpful. We talked about a couple of acronyms that some in the audience may not may not know, we talked, you mentioned community bank, I think some people just assume all banks are community banks. And of course, that's not necessarily the case. Also mentioned CDFI and MDI, could you talk a little bit about what those what those different terms mean?

Doyle Mitchell  14:26  
Absolutely, absolutely. Um, MDI stands for binary minority depository institution. There's about 140 in the country out of the 4600 banks 18 are African American owned. We're one of those 18 and we are also a CDFI. Bill Clinton signed the CDFI legislation in the 90s. And you are certified for that designation, by the CDFI Fund, which is a part of the US Treasury stands for community development, financial institution, and CDFIs are are obligated to reinvest at least 60% of their assets in low and moderate income census tracts. So we had been doing that quite a bit, even before the legislation came along. But the good thing about the program is the CDFI Fund within Treasury develops programs for institutions, banks in some non bank institutions that actually continue to do that work. So there's incentives, new market tax credits comes out of that program, the bank Enterprise Award comes out of that program. There is a financial assistance and technical assistance program, and a few and a few others that we all apply for, to the extent that we want to pick and choose. And in a competitive process, you're hopefully awarded some of those programs. And it's helped us to do the work that we that we do in those those communities.

JB Holston  16:17  
That's great. You mentioned that this renewed interest or the continued interest on the part of both financial big financial institutions, traditional financial institutions, I guess, and the federal government, in the sector in the CDFI, MDI Community Bank sector. And I know, Senator Warner has talked to our group about the, you know, the 9 billion I guess it was funded at the end of last year at the federal level in support. What, and you mentioned, you're, you're, you're in the process of pursuing some of those some of those funds. And I know, some of the value of that is, is that it's kind of catalytic, some of it at least can be catalytic capital, that it's leverageable capital. So it's a little more like equity, then, then, then then loans, more like grants, I guess. Could you talk us through? Yeah, those seem like big numbers are the big numbers for the industry, the kind of money coming from the federal government, the kind of support you're seeing from the

Doyle Mitchell  17:13  
they are, there's been a couple of programs, but of the emergency capital investment program, he said, we call it was $9 billion. And it has, it has the potential to significantly impact our institutions in a very positive way. And, therefore, because there's a purpose for them, awarding us this kind of capital, so that we can lend to groups of people and in neighborhoods that have been largely shut out of the credit process, in this in this country, so that hopefully, we can, we can close some gaps and expand the size of our, our institutions at the same at the same time.

JB Holston  18:07  
Yeah. And that's, that seems like one of the primary mechanisms that the country has to address the, the wealth gaps that are out there. And that, you know, institutions like yours, really are the frontline of providing the opportunity, in part because you can provide the assistance beyond just the financial capital, you know, the kind of literacy programs, etc. And there are, of course, the, you know, our region, Baltimore to Richmond is, you know, and thank you, again, for your support of the partnerships work and your involvement with it. But as you know, we've been looking at the question is we've got this region, from Baltimore, to Richmond, of the CDFI, and MDI industry, generally, in the region, and whether there are things that we can do collectively to try to strengthen that industry beyond just the federal funding that's coming in, etc. We talked a little bit about this, but if you could be perhaps share, share some thoughts about what comes to mind? Where are the opportunities, whether through collaboration through increased commitment or assistance from some of the companies that exist here that maybe haven't historically supported that industry? What are some of the things that we can be collectively doing to make sure this is the strongest, really the strongest CDFI MDI region in the country?

Doyle Mitchell  19:27  
Well, you know, I can I can certainly speak for this for CDF eyes involved with the partnership and from a banking standpoint, you know, the way we make our money is lending money. And so, you know, many large companies, you know, borrow, you know, sizable amounts of money, and if we can participate in that, then it's not necessarily our bread and butter, but it it helps to put good assets on our books that help us to grow and become more profitable. And, of course, the economy has been a little slow when it comes to lending recently. And so it's really important that we not just land on our own, you know, our, you know, our traditional markets. But if we can find other opportunities, and be involved in large, you know, affordable housing development projects, or, or market rate projects, or, you know, almost any type of loan facility did, you know, a variety of businesses in the partnership and outside of the partnership, it would help us quite a quite a bit, but we can't add as much to that credit facility that, you know, the large banks do. But our legal lending limit is growing because of the capital. And every bit helps.

JB Holston  21:01  
Yeah, yeah, good job, please, please continue. That's really,

Doyle Mitchell  21:05  
I was gonna go kind of to a different subject. If you have a question, though.

JB Holston  21:08  
Well, I was just gonna say on that front. First of all, I really appreciate that insight, that's something we will, we will look into, because boy, it does seem like kind of a straightforward way to to unify understand, to help us sort of balance sheet optics for for some of these organizations, for your organization, and others, even if, you know, you're not going to be the lead lender to, to some of those programs, etc, right.

Doyle Mitchell  21:34  
And many of our large bank partners, because, you know, we have four new bank investors, Bank of America, city, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan, Chase have all invested, not just in industrial, but in many of the African American owned banks across the country, and we certainly appreciate it. It's, it's been a good jumpstart for us in Isa, is it's gonna be almost a tsunami.

JB Holston  22:07  
sighs Yeah. But one

Doyle Mitchell  22:09  
of the other things that we industrial has in mind is, not only do we want to land on the residential side, but we have seen capital for African American businesses, be something that has been a far reach. And while all the municipalities around this region, you know, have good intentions on doing business with municipalities. And, and now, you know, the greater Washington partnership is talking, you know, about doing the same kind of thing. What I have seen over decades is that many of the African American businesses don't have capital, just like, we need capital to grow and prosper in and ensure our sustainability. Our customers need capital as well. And we are trying to come up with some creative ways of educating, incubating and trying to find some outlets for capital for these businesses. So we can turn $5 million businesses into 15 and 20 $30 million businesses or $25 million businesses into $100 million business, or 500 dominance, the $500,000 business, you know, if they want to, into a $5 million business, and not only will it help our communities, because, you know, wealth is health and health is, is wealth. And it'll help employment, you know, it, but also, it will help Miss municipalities reach their goals. And, you know, I'm not saying all business has to come from, you know, local or federal governments. But, you know, if we can grow those businesses, and, and one of the things we want to help provide, is at every stage of the business, you have to think differently as a leader, and I've probably our, our bank is still relatively small. But I think I've probably gone through three transitions, since since I took over, and we'll probably go through a couple of more, and then maybe there'll be a day when, when I can't take it any further. And someone else will have to do it. But I have seen as a commercial lender, many businesses not be able to make that transition, because they don't have necessarily the mentoring. You know, the technical assistance, and then of course, the Capital One on reasonable terms,

JB Holston  25:02  
yeah. Well, that's certainly the path toward prosperity has got to be to create the kind of jobs, that those kinds of organizations, scaling those organizations got to be one of the most critical path methods, too. Right? It's not, it's a lot of great economic activity in a lot of other sectors. But at the end of the day, if we don't create and sustain those kind of career and family supporting jobs for exactly this kind of businesses, then we're, we're not going to be certainly with the region of the country can be, and, and even more to the point, we're going to be more troubled than we need to be.

Doyle Mitchell  25:39  
And I think this region is primed and ready. You've got a lot of talented individuals. I see business owners, that are really good at what they do. Now, they may not be CPAs, or finance people or, or, you know, those kinds of skills, but they know they're, they know, their product, they know their skill, they they know that field, and you know, with a little mentoring, little education, bring bringing some of those things around them or, or even just showing them where the resources are, I think can help many minority businesses grow. Yeah,

JB Holston  26:25  
that's a good segue to talking a little bit about the district. Right now, if we can, and you're particularly second year of the pandemic, right? We're all now learning the Greek alphabet, at length much more than we ever wanted to know. But there's there's a lot of genuine concern about what's going to happen to downtown's and small businesses in downtown's. You know, more and more of the large companies that are involved with us are saying, okay, you know, I thought we might go back to normal, or we might go back to a new normal, but I actually think now we're going to be, you know, hybrid forever, that, you know, we're going to have a lot of our people just not not going in to that, that former headquarter building. How are you thinking about, about that, that phenomenon and that trend? And to your point? How should we all be thinking about the impact of all that on on the small businesses that, you know, historically have depended on that?

Doyle Mitchell  27:21  
You know, I have not really thought about it, clearly, small businesses going to be more vulnerable, the small businesses that are downtown and because you just won't have that get traffic, you know. Although in Washington, it seems as though even even since we're not all the way back, it seems like traffic is still taking care of it's taking care of itself. I don't know who's coming into Washington every day, but is still seem like it's a lot of a lot of people. Um, you know, some of the things I mean, in in, you're absolutely right, we don't know what the final numbers are. But it's going to it's going to be a good 2025 30. You know, 35, who knows, percent of people that probably just continue to work from home, and don't go into the office. And that's going to affect all of downtown, and particularly those small businesses that are downtown. I did hear some conversations, I believe the mayor in Washington was having about converting office space to residential, Washington DC, seems like it has not lost any steam, or new residents moving into the city, maybe a little bit, but, you know, seems like we'll get past 800,000 residents, I can remember Tony Williams years ago saying, we'll get to a million. And everybody thought that he was losing it. But he's not. He, it seems like he may not be that far off. And so hopefully, hopefully, those small bits and that's gonna take a lot of time. It's August may not have. But, you know, that could be one solution. If it happens, you know, quickly enough. I think most businesses have had to pivot anyway, to figure out how they going to create revenues and, and more online presence than ever before. And, you know, some businesses have been successful. You know, the smaller the smallest, you know, are probably struggling with with that. But it'll be very interesting because we, we all around the country, we we know our typical called downtown's. And I guess one good thing is it may not be as crowded. So maybe there's some opportunity for some green spaces and, and the like, but I think it's a good time for larger businesses to as they, as they see their way, you know, through, which is easier because there's more resources there. Hopefully, some of the larger businesses can reach out and help some of the smaller businesses, because smaller businesses created all the jobs. And I think it's small businesses create 70 or 80% of the jobs in the country. And I think we would do good to try to protect that.

JB Holston  30:43  
Yeah, yeah. 100%. And I think there is a lot of conversation, a lot more awareness about that right now. And and I think that's a good thing. And I, I would I would concur. You know, the mayor is, has talked about converting B and C grade office space to residential, potentially. And I do think the district has that opportunity, which a lot of cities do not, you know, because they're just not they're not that appealing as places to live if they didn't have to work there, too. And, you know, who knows? Or maybe Nirvana here, where, as that continues to happen, more companies say, Well, I mean, I'd have a huge headquarters at a fist, but I sure want to have a pod in DC.

Doyle Mitchell  31:20  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, still have a presence.

JB Holston  31:23  
So we'll, we'll, we'll be pushing for that. I'd like to a couple of other things. And as always, the time's gonna run out more quickly than I would like. But if you just back a little bit to the bank, here, if you think about where you'd like to see the bank in five years, two questions. One, if you think about where you'd like to see the bank in five or 10 years, how do you describe that

Doyle Mitchell  31:47  
we would talk about that today, we would like to be a fully digital bank. Much more efficient, using, you know, digital means and, you know, FinTech, you know, where, where appropriate, so that we can improve and continue to improve our customer experience. Serve them more efficiently, but not lose touch of those that need some assistance. Now, there are some people that they don't want to come into the bank, they want to use the computer and the phone, and that's it. And we have a lot of that now, but we also want to be there for for people that you know, either choose not to use digital means or struggle with it. Because they need a personal touch. You know, there's a lot of automated small business lenders that have evolved over the last 1015 years. The problem is, when things go wrong in your business, you can't get in touch with someone. And, and that's the value that we believe we can bring to the table for small developers, small investors, and smaller to midsize businesses. You know, when we make you a loan, we're there. We're there. And we don't want your loan to go bad. Just like you don't. And so we believe that we work well. With with people that are going through tough times. And so there's certain things that you know, digital lending, can't do, and you only appreciate it. When you hit, you know, you hit a block in the road, and you need somebody to talk to you. And that's what we believe Community Bank is all about, of course, we want to be larger. We purchased a bank in Newark, at the end of 2019. And they had a branch in Harlem, and another very historic area 120/5 Street. So we're to traditionally black historic communities, and we're very excited about that. And we'd like to expand in some other cities, you know, along probably the Mid Atlantic area, you know, maybe the East Coast. Because what we do what we believe what we do makes an impact and makes a a difference in the lives of people. And sometimes it's not always just alone. It can it can come from in many, many different ways. And we would like to expand that we'd like to expand right here in the Washington Metropolitan Area. You know, I mean, we don't have 20 branches in this area. nor do I think we want to pursue 20. But there's still some areas that that we think we can make some differences in Northern Virginia and montgomery county. And, you know, maybe in three to five years, we'll, we'll get to some of those other, some other those other locations. People think that branches are going to go away and physical footprints are going to go away. And in a macro sense, they will. But I think I heard this statistic a couple of years ago that people still choose a bank, by where it's located, I walked across the street from my house and opened up a bank account, you know, they're close to where i i work. Don't get me wrong, we don't want to bog ourselves down with a lot of brick and mortar. But I think what we want to do is we want to be bigger, but we want to be better. We want to be better. And we want to increase the impact that we have on the communities where, where we do business.

JB Holston  36:04  
Yeah. Well, that's great. Now, you know, I appreciate that the answer started with that balance. You want to you want to do both and buy a tie, I think, you know, the world that we talked about, where you've got cities becoming more residential, again, or at least cities again, like DC, I got personal touch is going to matter more than ever. And, and, you know, you've got a 90 year plus legacy of doing that. My personal view would be that's going to pay some big dividends.

Doyle Mitchell  36:31  
And an in tough economic times. I mean, it's critical, you know, through this pandemic, you know, PPP loans, and things, right, we, we had to blitz, and so customers how to get online, you know, walk them through that process, how, how to download the app, and, and, you know, be creative and use more of our digital tools, but our call volume tripled. feel so bad for our call center? Employees, they did a fantastic job. And I mean, they, they were over overwhelmed. I call volume tripled. We made a lot of concessions is I know other businesses did. And, you know, we heard some tough stories, and, and we helped people out of a lot of tough situations. So, you know, when the economy's going great, you know, I don't think people necessarily appreciate the the high touch that a bank and offer. But, but when all of a sudden your business is closed, you know, that's, that's when people really appreciate someone being.

JB Holston  37:54  
Yeah, that's great. That's a great story. And again, it's easy to forget, you know, there's always the new news of tomorrow, we forget just, you know, the last, how important programs like PPP were and how critical lighteners were to getting that money into the hands of everyone who just critically critically needed it. Let me turn to just last couple of questions, if I might, you mentioned three pivots. sort of sounds like one a decade. Since since you've you became president of the bank. Could you talk a little bit more about what those were? How do you think about those?

Doyle Mitchell  38:27  
Um, remind me in terms of my own growth? Yeah, well, it was it was how to lead knowing when to to add certain critical positions. You know, it one of them, we had to go through this metamorphosis, to hire a chief credit officer. All we used to have was a Chief Lending Officer. Now you need a little more balance a little structure. I'm building systems in banking around compliance of

JB Holston  39:02  
the C word. Yeah.

Doyle Mitchell  39:06  
I mean, and that is still evolving, because there's no shortage of bank regulatory compliance. You know, then or now. I mean, literally, I can remember the days of of doing loans because you my father got a good reference. You are your your George Jones's son. Okay, cool. People, good family, you know, and, you know, those days are long gone. Um, you know, I am hands on sometimes, but knowing when to to let go, you know, and we have some great people that are more than capable. And in banking, you know, just every couple of 100 million, you know, things James the extra rotations change from a regulatory standpoint, trying to keep economies of scale and not losing sight knowing when to add staffing, and knowing when to to use technology. And more recently went to go after acquisition opportunities. So, um, you know, it's always there's always something to learn about yourself. And about the business.

JB Holston  40:33  
You're leading during the pandemic has been a challenge for everybody. There was no playbook, none of us had had somebody to turn to and say, Well, clearly what you ought to do is, what did you learn about yourself as a leader? What have you learned about yourself as a leader during the pandemic?

Doyle Mitchell  40:46  
I think I always knew I cared about people. But um, we spent a lot of gut wrenching time in meetings, sweating about what is the right approach? For quarantine, how long? Do we close this branch? When do we open the branch? How do we do the hours? And things like that? Um, you know, do we encourage vaccinations do we mandated things like that? I mean, we really had people that that, in some cases, were afraid to come to work, because we're a bank. And even though we've limited our service to drive throughs, for a while, but even being next to someone, for some people, it was it was scary. And then going home, and wondering if they had been exposed to the virus, where they have two small children. So making a lot of those decisions, because I mean, we are really caring people. We have we opened a new office in January. And we've, we sweat so many details. It not just in the interest of how safe it's going to be, but what kind of experience we want to create for the employees that work at the bank. So I mean, I learned caring for people from you know, my upbringing, the mother and father. But the willingness to make decisions that always aren't popular, and may not necessarily be great for business. Just believing that in the long run, if you if you care about people, you do what you think is right, then, you know, things will come to you. And then good things will happen. And here we are talking about a recent program that could double our size. So I think trying to do right, does come back to our benefit.

JB Holston  43:10  
Well, unfortunately, we're coming up on the the end of the time here because there are 2030 Other things it'd be great to talk to you about. But I think clearly the the bank, your legacy, your family's legacy, has shown that the actions are exactly as you stated, which is if you do the right thing, everyone benefits, certainly the district and the region, have benefit and continue to benefit by your organization and your leadership. So

Doyle Mitchell  43:37  
Well, thank you. I appreciate those kind words. I've enjoyed this, this has been a great conversation. I feel honored and privileged that we can get our story out there and and many other regional large businesses that may have heard us but maybe weren't as familiar with us, at one time can get a little glimpse into what we do.

JB Holston  44:03  
Yeah, well, it's, they're gonna they're gonna miss the opportunity if they don't jump quick Gotcha.

Doyle Mitchell  44:09  
Well, I'm excited to be a part of the partnership. You know, to add what, what I can add to the conversation, whether it's, you know, a different perspective or a different level of consciousness, or some sort of real, you know, on the ground, stories and perspectives. So I'm glad to be above the bonus you

JB Holston  44:31  
well much appreciated all of the above and much more from our perspective you have and will contribute. So thank you very much for joining me. And thank you for the opportunity. It's been great for those that are listening well this will be available as a permanent recording. We will get that distributed and available publicly. And I wanted to wish you everyone that's on the call. A great end of the year, very happy holidays and and a very exciting 2022 in all the right ways.

Doyle Mitchell  44:58  
Thank you. Thank you and you as well and My greetings to all those that that attended this we look forward to a good 2022

Nina Sharma  45:12  
Thanks for tuning into fresh take. This episode was produced by Jenna climb. Justin Madison Turner, Christian Rodriguez and Nina Sharma. If you like what you heard, share it with your network. For more information and to access all of our podcasts, events and publications, visit Greater Washington partnership.com.