How one man’s mission passed to his son and became the Progressive Savings Bank full line of services in the Upper Cumberland
By Jay Albrecht
UCBJ Associate Publisher
Most successful businesses start with a vision. But not all visions turn into success stories, at least not without leaders who stay the course and fulfill the mission.
In the case of Progressive Savings Bank (PSB), Jamestown’s Lyndon Rains was the leader with a vision. Back in the late 1970s, he expressed the desire to build a package of services that would satisfy many of the financial needs of most companies and individuals. From banking and financial planning to accounting and insurance, Rains realized that a “one-stop shop” was the way to provide the convenience most business leaders and the general public were looking for from a vendor.
Years later, after Lyndon Rains passed away in 2004, his son, Steve Rains, took charge and continued advancing the mission. Steve Rains was responsible for building the PSB location in Cookeville, which now houses some of those service companies to complete the original goal.
Today, PSB consists of the full-service bank along with The Rains Agency (insurance), Cravens & Co. Wealth Management (financial planning), and Progressive Tax and Accounting. PSB is the only financial institution in the region offering the convenience of these services under one umbrella.
How it all started
The roots of the PSB group did not actually start with banking, but with insurance. The Rains family entered into the insurance business in 1970, after acquiring a long-standing firm in Jamestown that first opened in 1927. Lyndon Rains entered into the family business in the early 1970s and acquired the firm from his brother in 1973, thus setting the course for greater things to come.
In 1980, Lyndon and other local business leaders in the Jamestown community banded together to form a “Building and Loan” financial institution, focused on home ownership through construction and home mortgage lending. This was the origin of PSB.
In the mid-1980s, the community of Wartburg was left underserved following the infamous Butcher banking scandal in Tennessee, and PSB stepped up to fill a void. In the mid 1990s, PSB expanded into a growing Crossville market. That financial center grew quickly, which prompted another Cumberland County location in Homestead to be opened. Finally, with the booming retirement population in Fairfield Glade, also in Cumberland County, PSB opened a branch there as well.
Lyndon Rains had heavily considered the Cookeville market for an insurance and banking location, but he passed away before a small branch location was first opened in 2005. Lyndon’s son, Steve, who was already active in the operation, continued guiding the mission with the opening of the large financial center on Cookeville’s Interstate Drive in 2009. This center serves as the home for Cravens & Co. Wealth Management and Progressive Tax & Accounting, as well as houses offices for The Rains Agency in addition to its full banking services.
From its humble beginnings in 1980 with a single location in Jamestown, $1 million in capital assets, and three employees, PSB today is a thriving $300 million bank with over 100 employees serving its six locations in four counties across the Upper Cumberland region.
Now at the helm is Ottis Phillips, the PSB Chairman of the Board, who took over as acting President/CEO following Steve’s untimely death in 2017. Each community served by PSB has its own local bank manager, each of whom is actively involved in their respective markets.
“Our financial center managers understand their markets, have relationships with their customers, and know what their needs are,” said Phillips. “What works in one community may be different in the next.”
Despite banking regulations that often dictate what local banks are capable of doing for their customers, PSB strives to keep relationship banking at the forefront of its actions.
“Our goal is to meet our customer’s needs while staying within the regulatory requirements that bind us,” said Phillips.
There are advantages to banking with a smaller, locally owned institution like PSB over and above the strong relationships and convenience offered.
“We want to be your lead banker and support you in your business and personal lives as much as possible,” said Phillips.
“Community Banks typically have local loan authority,” added Mike Porten, EVP – Chief Banking Officer, referencing that PSB approves their loans in house. “That means most of the time you’re talking directly to your loan approver. Having to send a small loan request to another city, sometimes in another state, just doesn’t make sense.”
At the end of the day, PSB is grounded in certain core principles.
“We pride ourselves on our stability, the quality of our people, our outstanding customer service, our full-range of services and our community mindedness,” said Porten.
“Our ownership is local,” stressed Phillips when discussing ties to the community. “We have a very diverse ownership base made up of quality people who live and work in the communities we serve. They support our bank and are involved in our communities.”
PSB operates with one main purpose – to “improve the lives of people in the communities we serve.”
The Rains Agency
Dating back to 1927, The Rains Agency has a long-standing history of providing superior insurance products and service. As an independent firm, The Rains Agency is situated to consult with and provide custom solutions tailored to individual client needs.
While the insurance firm predates the bank, it’s a given that starting the financial institution added value to an already successful business.
“Banks, more often than not, bring a sense of stability, especially from a regulatory standpoint,” said John Cook, president of The Rains Agency and a 34-year veteran with the company. “We no longer have insurance personnel who are not located at a bank location. Hopefully, when you think of Progressive, you think of the insurance agency as well.
“We are an established firm that is confident in what we do. At the end of the day, we want to help improve the lives of people in the communities we serve.”
The Rains Agency offers a full line of insurance products, starting with property and casualty, but also including benefit products such as life and health for personal or commercial purposes.
Cravens & Co. Wealth Management
Cravens & Co. first opened in 1996 under the leadership of Wayne Cravens, who had previously worked for years with Prudential & Pruco Securities. Cravens joined the PSB family in 2005, after some heavy recruitment by Steve Rains.
“I joined PSB solely because of Steve,” said Cravens. “I had three unsolicited offers to buy my company. I hadn’t planned to sell but I realized we needed to either scale up or find a financial partner. When I told Steve what I was considering, he put the full court press on me and we finalized the deal on the back of a napkin.”
Cravens brings a unique set of services to the group, helping PSB offer resources that are critical to client satisfaction and problem solving.
“We specialize in helping entrepreneurial families, medical professionals, and successful retirees make optimal financial decisions,” explained Cravens. “We do that by bringing all the components of their situation into view to make holistic decisions. Certainly investment management is a large part of our business, but our depth in complex financial issues is our separating strength.
“We have specialized talent that most firms just don’t have,” added Cravens. “We have lawyers and accountants as important resources as part of our special projects team that add perspective on big client issues. Cumulatively, we have a ton of experience and depth of talent.”
Progressive Tax and Accounting
The final piece to the full value proposition happened in late 2016, when Sam Sandlin, CPA, joined PSB bringing his 40 years of accounting experience to the group.
Progressive Tax & Accounting (PTA) was the result of that collaboration, focused primarily on work with smaller businesses, such as tax returns, general accounting services, estate planning, asset protection and even business succession planning.
“Of course we do individual tax returns, but accounting for smaller businesses is our bread and butter, as smaller businesses have so many ways in which they need our help,” explained Sandlin. “We have pretty much all of it right here under one roof.”
Sandlin said people and resources were key to his choosing to join PSB after a long career on his own.
“It’s comforting to have two lawyers right down the hall anytime I have a legal question on behalf of my clients,” said Sandlin. “We have some smart people around us all working very hard to serve our customers’ needs.”
Building customer value
Beginning with Lyndon’s primary vision of developing a one-stop shop for financial services, PSB over the years completed its mission while keeping customers as the number one priority.
“The goal is pretty simple,” said Phillips. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get whatever they need to be successful financially.”
Porten added, “Convenience is the number one attribute customers look for in a bank. When you make other services convenient as well, it just makes sense.”
Clients often times start with one PSB service before realizing how much additional assistance the group can be to them.
“If we have a banking client who expresses interest in wealth management services, we simply walk them down the hall to get their needs answered,” said Phillips, citing one example. “The model is to cross-reference between our services when opportunities and needs exist. We want to help our customers by advising them on how we can make a positive difference.”
“When you get a referral from someone who already knows your company and some of the people involved, it’s just easier to bring them (customers) into the fold more comfortably,” said Porten.
By building strong relationships, delivering sound advice, and offering a full range of services, PSB has positioned itself as a leading provider in the Upper Cumberland region.
“It’s not bells and whistles and it’s not pricing,” said Phillips. “It’s being there to talk with someone who has a business or personal financial need. It’s relationship banking that makes the difference.”
“Everybody’s money is the same color,” said Porten. “People go where they can trust somebody and build a relationship.”
“In most situations, our capacity, competence, and attitude in the areas of insurance, tax and accounting, general banking, and wealth management offer a great ‘convenience without compromise’ value proposition to most of our target clients,” summarized Cravens.
To learn more about PSB financial services and locations, visit www.psbgroup.com.
This is the first in a series of articles presented by Progressive Savings Bank and its full line of financial services.
Advisory services offered through Cravens & Company Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Securities, investment products, and additional advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, an Independent Registered Broker/Dealer and Member FINRA/SIPC.Representatives may not be registered to offer securities and advisory services in all states. Neither FSC Securities Corporation, nor its registered representatives or employees, provide tax or legal advice. Cravens & Company Advisors, LLC and Rains Agency Inc, and Progressive Tax and Accounting are subsidiaries of Progressive Savings Bank. Listed entities are not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation. Securities and investment products purchased or sold in a transaction with FSC, insurance and annuity products purchased through Rains Agency Inc., and services through Progressive Tax and Accounting are NOT FDIC INSURED, NO BANK GUARANTEE, MAY LOSE VALUE, NOT A DEPOSIT, and are NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY.