No. 3 Large: At Allegiance Bank, it’s “always” about people

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Allegiance Bank President Steve Retzloff is unsure how his business would have survived the pandemic without a long-standing work culture focused on personal relationships – both with customers and employees.

These connections have proven vital because, for two months in the midst of the pandemic, Allegiance processed 6,000 loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, a program put in place to help businesses keep doors open and workers on the payroll. The bank typically processes around 1,000 per quarter, Retzloff said.

With banks designated as core businesses, Allegiance, which has 28 locations in Southeast Texas, has remained open throughout the pandemic. As employees adjust to the increased workload, social distancing measures and other accommodations – more transactions behind the wheel – Retzloff said the bank is making sure workers know they are valued and that the bank cared about them.

“We’ve always been a people-focused business,” he said. “This has always been our philosophy.

This philosophy has helped Allegiance Bank rank third among large corporations on the Houston Chronicle’s list of best places to work.

Allegiance kept its branches open and avoided layoffs during the pandemic, initially relying primarily on drive-thru services. The increase in business through PPP loans came as some of the estimated 580 employees fell ill or lost family members to COVID-19, forcing Retzloff and other managers to take an even more hands-on approach leadership than before.

Retzloff continued to visit the office throughout the pandemic, hoping his presence would represent some sort of normalcy for the staff who remained to work on site. For those who work remotely, the bank has contacted and connected via Zoom calls and other virtual tools.

In June, the bank donated $ 150,000 to the Houston Food Bank, while also offering to match employee donations to the food bank by up to six figures. The bank also offers employees a variety of benefits, including monthly auto allowances and a generous 401 (K) buddy program.

Retzloff said the pandemic has brought him closer to many staff, some of whom he didn’t know well in the years before technology made it easier to check in staff quickly.

Because of this, Retzloff said, he appreciates more the small gestures and interactions that seemed trivial before the pandemic, but now understands that they are an integral part of building a business that supports its workers and customers.

robert.downen@chron.com


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