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Up Close | with Dan Davis

Dan Davis, president and CEO of Axiom Bank, sees a strong synergy between his company and the I-4 Corridor. Both are dynamic, growing entities with unlimited potential, and he is tapping into the pulse of the region to create banking services that benefit both businesses and individuals. As the second largest community bank in the region with $550 million in total assets, approximately 195 employees and 23 retail branches, and 3 commercial offices, Axiom Bank is making an impact, and according to Davis, this is just the beginning.

“After receiving my BSBA in Accounting and Finance from Saint Louis University in Missouri, I received two job offers: One from KPMG, in St. Louis, and the other from a ski resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. So I had a choice: I could either start my career as an accountant right away or be a ski instructor for a few years first. Being the accounting major I was, I took the wise route, not the fun route, and chose KPMG.

My first job at a bank was actually as a teller when I was in college. I worked the lobby and drive-up window. This was in the 1980s when everyone still cashed their paychecks on Fridays, so I dealt with a lot of long lines.

I worked at KPMG for five years and then got into banking as a controller. I worked at several banks and eventually got a job with a large national bank in Detroit as CFO. After six years there, my boss and I left and organized a de novo bank, where I was executive vice president and CFO. This was during the height of the recession, and as a new community bank it was tough going, but it was a great experience. I learned how to run a community bank from start to finish. After many years in Detroit, I finally moved to Florida, did stints at two community banks in Central Florida, and joined Axiom in September 2014 as Senior Vice President and CFO.

During my first few weeks, I had the opportunity to write the business plan and lay the foundation for sustainable long-term performance. At that time, Axiom Bank was known as Urban Trust Bank, and I helped oversee the bank’s transition to its new brand. We did a lot of strategic planning to enhance the bank’s expansion into new revenue drivers, locations and supporting infrastructure. I became president and CEO of Axiom Bank in January 2016.

I’ve been through 10 different bank mergers, and luckily I’ve gotten through most of them unscathed. Each job has taught me invaluable lessons.”

“What attracted me to Axiom Bank was its stable shareholder base, and with so much consolidation going on, I was looking for that kind of stability. We have a large capital base and our goal is to keep growing while continuing to be a great place to work. We also have strong ownership support to grow the bank into what it can be.

There’s a tremendous need for community banks to help support the economic growth in the communities they serve, for both businesses and individuals. With the onslaught of the recession, the Dodd-Frank Act and additional regulations, it has become more difficult to get banking services because there are fewer banks and the larger banks o er less service. So there’s a void in community banking services, and our goal is to fill that void. We have the experience, along with a growing commercial unit, consumer-lending unit and branch network, which all allow us to better serve the underbanked and unbanked.”

“Our footprint is the I-4 Corridor, which is a dynamic and growing region, and we feel we’re in tune with its diverse needs. We have extremely capable bankers, and our goal is to offer more sophisticated-yet-useful banking services for businesses and individuals. As mobile banking has become more popular among consumers, we’ve rolled out new mobile and technology options to try to stay ahead of the sweeping industry changes.

We actually have several goals, including increasing our commercial and consumer lending. On the depository side, we’re adding business deposit services, retail branches and consumer deposit accounts and services. We want to make our customers’ banking experience easier, less time- consuming and less expensive, allowing them to focus on their own lives and businesses.

We’ve done a good job getting our name out there and creating brand awareness. I plan to manage the bank with a focus on long-term performance and continue diversifying the bank’s revenue streams, adding new product lines, increasing deposits, and growing the existing commercial banking, retail banking, consumer lending and pre-paid card segments.

There’s a positive vibe in this region and equally positive vibe and momentum at Axiom Bank. We feel really good about how Axiom fits into the I-4 Corridor.”

“You know this region is growing because of the traffic. Yes, most people hate the traffic, but the more cars you see on the road means the more people with jobs. The more trucks you see on the road, the more economic activity going on. We have plenty of both here, which is a good barometer for growth. It simply means business is good, people have jobs and we’re growing.

We feel our growth plans align well with the regional growth around us, and we’re excited to be active participants and evolve as the region itself grows and evolves. From both a personal and business perspective, it’s encouraging to see the continuous improvement in our communities — and the infrastructure, benefits and offerings it represents. We find it incredibly gratifying to be able to help individuals and businesses with the necessary financial services in this environment, and to be a part of the economic organism fueling our region’s development. If someone needs a no-cost checking account or financial education, we can provide that. If a business needs a loan — we’re here for them.

My motto, and the bank’s motto, is ‘Service is at the heart of all we do.’ We’ll do whatever we can to help you. I always say, ‘Do more than you’re expected to do, and that will make people happy.’ This is the way we’re always going to treat our customers.”

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About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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