Shaper: Vernon W. Hill II

Show aired on 4th March 2017


Vernon W. Hill II

Vernon Hill is Chairman and founder of Metro Bank. Previously founder and former Chairman and president of Commerce Bank – which he founded in 1973 as a one-branch bank in metro Philadelphia with nine staff and $1.5 million – he is often credited with reinventing American banking.

Vernon believes that the value of a bank is in its deposits. He believes that customers will be willing to give more of their deposits in exchange for a better banking experience, and that great companies are built by creating fans not customers. By applying this philosophy, Vernon built Commerce Bank into one of the largest banks in America with 15,000 team members, 500 branches and $50 billion of assets. It was purchased in July 2007 by TD Financial for $8.5 billion. Commerce was voted the best bank in America in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by JD Power and Associates for its absolute commitment to customers. It also produced exceptional shareholder returns. Vernon is Chairman of Pet Plan North America. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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People who excel at life are lucky enough to find and match their unique talent to what they do.

If you believe you have a growth business you have to invest for growth, you have to recruit for growth. That is directly opposite what the large banks in Britain are doing… they are in the process of trying to cost save their way to prosperity.

I went down to talk to the Government about getting a bank license and in true American fashion I said ‘what the hell, let’s go try it’ and we began the process in early 2008 of getting a bank charter and building a bank from scratch.

There is a difference fundamentally between British businessmen and American businessmen. By culture, we tend to start with the results and work backwards. The British culture is more: let us start at the beginning and see what comes out.

I’ve played golf with Trump a lot. What you see is what you get.

Investors in America believe in growth. British equity investors do not believe in growth. I have accused them of being bond buyers in disguise.

There’s this drive to prove that your idea is better, that you can change things. And I think we are all driven more by that than by the creation of wealth.

Fans join your brand, they remain loyal and they bring their friends. You cannot build a high growth business unless you are creating fans.