Republic ranks as third best company to work for in U.S.

TRAVERSE CITY – For the fifth time, Republic Bancorp Inc. has been named by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for. Republic was ranked as the third best company to work for in the country, and number one in Michigan among the 100 companies honored.

Judging is conducted by Fortune and the Great Place to Work Institute, and is based on extensive surveys of company policies, practices and employee opinions. Republic Bank, the company’s primary subsidiary, operates in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Survey participants are randomly selected and comprise 10 percent of the company’s employees. Each survey, which includes approximately 50 questions, is mailed to employees to complete at home. Respondents represent a broad range of employees in the company, with a large number consisting of entry and middle level positions.

Republic Bancorp Inc. President and CEO Dana M. Cluckey attributes the ranking to the company’s penchant for providing employees with individual recognition, and with opportunities for financial and professional growth.

“All employees are company shareholders and we believe that motivated employees will deliver exceptional service to our customers, resulting in increased value to our shareholders,” noted Cluckey.

Jeff Hickman, community bank president in Traverse City, echoes Cluckey’s sentiments, and adds emphasis to the importance of solid relationships.

“I believe we have achieved this level of consistency by honoring and recognizing the role our employees play in the success of our organization,” stated Hickman. “We are highly focused on the quality of our relationships, both with employees and customers.”

Employees that have a stake in the success of a business are more likely to perform well. However, there are other contributing factors at Republic that shape corporate culture and allow customer satisfaction to permeate into their retail, commercial and mortgage lines of business.

“If you walk into a Republic branch and look around, it doesn’t look like a typical bank lobby,” mentions Hickman. “We don’t have teller windows or ask customers to stand in line.”

At Republic Bank locations, tellers function more like personal bankers.

“We think it’s important to our customers and employees that they have an office in which to conduct business,” said Hickman.

Teri Damman, senior vice president of mortgage lending and branch manager of Traverse City’s East Front Street office, believes having products that best meet customers’ needs allows her to achieve her volume and production goals.

Damman, who started with Republic Bank as a loan officer 10 years ago, believes the company consistently tops Fortune’s list because of its commitment to employee development.

“This is a great place to work because the company is dedicated to the growth of its employees,” notes Damman. “They identify your strengths and skills, provide positive recognition, and reward you for the quality of work you produce.”

Locally, Republic offers competitive base salaries that are consistent with like positions throughout the organization (no dock in pay for a view of the bay).

Referred to as a pay-for-performance structure, employees are motivated by stock incentives and the opportunity to grow with the organization. All Republic employees receive one share of stock per month, awarded every sixth months, and the company also provides 401(k) matching funds in stock.

Republic employees enjoy a cafeteria-style flexible benefit program that allows them to make choices from a number of benefits offered, including health, dental, vision and childcare options, that best fit their family needs.

Additionally, Republic allows for flexibility in scheduling of employees, job sharing and part-time positions.

Republic believes, quite simply, that if you make employees stockholders, encourage them to deliver exceptional customer service, and provide flexible benefits, recognition and rewards, employees will find satisfaction in what they do and the company for which they work.

Republic’s formula appears to be working, since the growth rate of company stock continues to escalate. Hickman sites an example of company stock solvency by noting that a $10,000 investment in stock 20 years ago is now worth approximately $220,000.

With $5.8 billion in assets, Republic Bancorp is the third largest bank holding company headquartered in Michigan. BN

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