Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm
Quality employees and the fair, flexible way they treat customers have been the keys to success for PyraMax Bank, according to Oliver DeGroot, president and chief executive officer.
"We will always do anything we can to accommodate the customer, because in our business, customer retention is crucial," he said.
PyraMax has been serving customers in the Milwaukee area for 110 years. The company started in 1895 as South Milwaukee Savings Bank. A Waukesha branch was added in 1992. In 2000, South Milwaukee Savings Bank merged with Mitchell Savings Bank to form PyraMax bank, with a total of $300 million in assets and six branches around the Milwaukee area.
Since the merger, PyraMax has increased its assets to more than $453 million, along with revenue in 2004 of over $2.1 million.
The bank plans to open a new branch at 318 N. Water Street this month, which will be the first full-service bank in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.
When the Third Ward branch opens, it will incorporate the most modern technology of any PyraMax location, DeGroot said.
"We feel that our clients in that area are more tech savvy and are more comfortable dealing with technology." The branch will still have conventional tellers, as DeGroot noted that some customers don’t want to lose the "human touch."
"The people here in the Midwest, and Wisconsin especially, they aren’t like the people on the extreme East Coast and West Coast, where they don’t want to deal with anyone at all. At our banks, the technology is there for their convenience, but that hasn’t changed the quality of our service," said DeGroot.
Further technological changes are taking place at PyraMax.
"We are scanning and completely digitizing all of our documents into a database. This will let us instantly pull up a document at a computer terminal at any one of our branches. If a client needs anything pulled from their loan file from three years ago, we can do it immediately instead of taking the time to manually go through our records and send out a copy to the customer."
The new PyraMax database system will be fully operational in about nine months.
"The industry is moving this direction as a whole, but I feel we are definitely ahead of the curve," said DeGroot. "By the time we have all of our records scanned in, we will be ahead of about 80 to 85 percent of competing banks."
PyraMax will also shift its business from Fiserv Inc. to Metavante Corp. to handle its back-office processing.
According to DeGroot, Metavante will be able to provide more features and better support for the bank as it increases its technological involvement. The switch should be complete in October.
DeGroot attributes the growth of PyraMax Bank to the company’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of customers.
"Business is evolving, you can’t stay static, and you can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them," he said. "You have to progress with technology and education. Technology is extremely important with our customers. As the population accepts technology, we have to keep going in that direction as well."
PyraMax Bank also will continue growing by adding more branch locations, DeGroot said.
"I am sure that we will see a growth in assets, and because of that we will undoubtedly add more locations in the future," he said. "Already I’m hearing suggestions from my employees. They’ll say we should have a branch in a certain place because they’ve noticed a lot of our customers come from there."
Locations: 9000 W. Drexel Ave., Franklin; 7001 W. Edgerton Ave., Greenfield; 1605 W. Mitchell St., Milwaukee; 405 River Crest Court., Mukwonago; 1015 Marquette Ave., South Milwaukee; 2208 E. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha; 318 N. Water St., Milwaukee (opening June 2005).
Year established: 1895
Main products/services: Banking and Financial Services
Number of employees: 138
Web Page: www.pyramaxbank.com
June 24, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI