Dear Shareholders, Customers and Friends,
I’m pleased to report 2018 was another strong year for Lakeside Bank. Our sustained growth is thanks to the incredible partnerships we build with our clients. We love new business so we’re always welcoming new clients to the extended family. But a wonderful measurement of our ability to serve, to quickly get things done, is how our client relationships span years, decades, even generations. We’re very proud of that record. And very thankful!
2018 was another year of change in the banking world. On-line banks are growing. There’s more & more technology. And the so-called experts can’t make up their minds about the importance of branches. They’re either coming or going depending on who you read, and on what day.
Here’s what we know at Lakeside: Technology is important. We all have to be up-to-date. It’s expected and an entry point to doing business. There’s a lot you can get done banking electronically. We get that. And we have that.
But you know what’s more important? People. There is no replacing people. As we say, “Your money is personal. Your banker should be, too.”
At Lakeside Bank, every client has their own personal banker. That’s our history. It’s also our future. And the future of banking.
Our mantra will never change..we are the very best of responsiveness, customization, and execution!
It’s also why we’re also carefully planning Lakeside branch growth for the future. To serve even more of the Chicago area.
Thanks to our size, we can do anything our clients need. Faster and more efficiently than competitors. And always with Lakeside personal service.
Here are our key financials for 2018:
Net core earnings of $36.6 million represents a 2.21% return on average assets, a 18.08% return on equity and a $5.5 million increase in net earnings. 2018 ended with our total assets at $1.679 billion, up 4.78% from year-ago. This includes $1.351 billion in total loans. Stockholder equity grew from $185.5 million to $202.6 million. Our capital ratios remain significantly above the regulatory “well capitalized” levels.
Additional areas you should know about:
We’ve dramatically strengthened our Treasury Management Department. Other banks provide cookie-cutter, once a year templates. Lakeside Treasury Management works closely with clients, customizes services and stays involved in their business. And we save our clients’ money, too.
We’ve also expanded our Mortgage team. Again, our core philosophy of personal service is the key. As we say to potential clients, “You’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an on-line or phone based mortgage firms? Really? Lakeside Mortgage Bankers are with clients from Day One through closing. And are always available by phone, text, email … or will meet you anywhere. Personal is best!”
Our multi-faceted Marketing program continues to break through. 2018 was the third year of our campaign. An Annual Tracking Study confirms we’re one of the best known banks in Chicago. Advertising features our products and services, in our trademark style, and includes:
- Sponsorship of the “Call to the Pen” on both the Cubs & Sox
- Direct mail
- Social media
To multiply our resources, we integrate and align support. For example, if we’re featuring Treasury Management, Mortgages or a checking account product during a specific period of time, that product or service is in multiple media. AND on our branch windows and in our lobbies. And pushed via direct mail, email and social media.
We also continue to expand our Community activities. Lakesiders are involved with over 70 charities. We also work directly within our communities to be of assistance and build connections with our neighbors. These range from charitable contributions to a wide range of fun activities for kids, families and adults. Lastly, the Educational programs we’ve created are growing:
- The Lakeside Bank, “Women First, Now We’re Cooking!” Student Chef Competition. Working with Washburne Culinary Institute, we changed lives by awarding $10,000 in Lakeside Scholarships to aspiring female chefs with financial need. It was also a very fun evening, with over 200 attendees. 2019 will be year three for “Women First”.
- Our elementary school financial education program is called, “Kids Count!” and was in five schools this year. Lakeside Bankers teach a monthly series on how money works. We follow one class through the school year. School administration, teachers, parents … and even the kids (!) love the lessons. 2019 is also year three for “Kids Count!”.
- 2018 was the second year of our High School program. Entitled, “Write On!”, the Lakeside Creative Writing Challenge awards $2,500 Lakeside College Scholarships to multiple students across all Chicago Public Schools with financial need. We had more than four times the number of applicants to judge in this second year!
Other banks pretend to be all these things but when you experience Lakeside you’ll say, “IT’S ABOUT TIME!”
On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you fellow Lakesiders, and thank you clients!
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer