Montgomery Business Journal

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MBJ Roger Spain

White-Glove Approach

Oakworth Capital Bank Couples ‘High-Touch, High-Tech’

November/December 2016
By David Zaslawsky 
Photography by Robert Fouts

What sets Oakworth Capital Bank apart from other financial institutions is its business model of three service areas, and one is not retail banking.

Unlike competitors, Oakworth has one office in Montgomery; one office in Birmingham; and one office in Mobile. And don’t expect Oakworth to add any offices in the near term.

“Our model is not to build multiple branches in different markets,” said Roger Spain, managing director of commercial banking for Oakworth Capital Bank, which has an office at the Halcyon Summit Office Park in East Montgomery. “We are going to operate out of one location with the idea that we are prepared to bring the bank conveniently to our clients with technology and face-to-face meetings.”

The model differs from other financial institutions in another way. “We don’t have silos within our (firm),” Spain said.

“Someone is not either a private banking client or a small commercial or a large commercial client or a wealth management client,” Spain said. “They are simply an Oakworth client, and we build a multidisciplinary team around each client so that we are able to provide them seamlessly with whatever services that client needs.”

Those services are commercial banking, private banking and wealth management. He said the bank “is very keenly focused” on the middle area of commercial banking rather than “gigantic deals.” The bank currently can lend up to $11 million for commercial projects and can partner with another financial institution for deals up to $20 million. “As the bank grows – and it has grown quickly – those lending limits will increase,” Spain said.

Oakworth, which merged with AlaTrust in December of 2015, had no commercial banking portfolio and no private banking portfolio. It did acquire wealth management and trust services from AlaTrust. There was no banking activity. “The market has been receptive to the business model and business approach of Oakworth,” Spain said.

That approach is marrying technology with the personal. “We are both high-touch and high-tech,” Spain said.  “We spend our money and our resources on technology and people rather than bricks and mortar. We focus on successful and growing businesses and individuals.”

Although the Montgomery office has just seven people, the employees boast a ton of serious experience in trust services, wealth management and investment advice. Spain is a certified public accountant with an extensive background in business valuations.

“Even just in Montgomery among our group of seven we have a broad spectrum of experience, and it’s our feeling, that allows us to deliver on that broader range of services,” he said.

The private banking segment offers families and individuals a “high degree of service,” Spain said. “Our approach is white-glove in its description. It is a deeper and broader banking relationship for people or families with needs frequently beyond that of a simple checking account relationship.”

Most of Oakworth’s clients use multiple services and some utilize all three. “That’s what I mean by a broader relationship,” Spain said.

“Private banking is not necessarily for high-net worth families or individuals,” Spain said. He said it’s for those who have a lot of banking activity and need greater than a simple checking account.

Years in business:

employees in Montgomery:

overall employees:

Montgomery, Birmingham and Mobile (one in each city)

Assets under management:
$950 million


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