Investor Spotlight: SunTrust Bank

April 19, 2018

Suntrust Bank

SunTrust Bank is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the clients and communities it serves. SunTrust provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.

Tim Schar is the market president for the Tampa Bay Area in the Florida Division of SunTrust. He has primary market responsibility for the Bank’s Commercial Banking activities, including relationships with for profit, not for profit, government and education institutions. Immediately prior to joining SunTrust, Tim was chief financial officer and chief compliance officer for ApplePie Capital, the leading online alternative lender focused on franchised businesses. He also served as VP of finance and interim-CFO at ServiceSource International, prior to its IPO in 2011. 

You recently moved to Tampa Bay. What are some of your initial impressions of Tampa as a place to live?
My wife is from Clearwater, we were married here, and both of our parents reside in the Tampa Bay area, so I was pretty familiar with the benefits of living here. I feel like there is a great sense of excitement and positive momentum throughout the city thanks to projects like the revitalization and expansion of Downtown Tampa. The leaders of the community are working together to best position Tampa and the entire Bay Area for success, and I feel lucky to be a part of that.

What qualities do you think set Tampa apart as a business destination?
Tampa is a city well-positioned for further growth. There are several key elements here in Tampa that provide the foundation for economic development, such as headquarters of various Fortune 1000 companies, Port Tampa Bay, MacDill Air Force Base, professional sports teams, high quality universities and the expansion of Downtown Tampa through SPP’s Channelside development. These elements, coupled with no state income tax, overall affordability, and a diverse business community really set Tampa apart. There are also amazing beaches, outdoor activities and a fantastic lifestyle here that cannot be found in other parts of the country. I would expect more businesses to locate or relocate to Tampa Bay, and businesses here should be seeking to use these advantages as they recruit for talent.

How does a financial institution like SunTrust impact the Tampa market?
SunTrust has supported Tampa Bay for decades, and is the leading provider of financial services for consumers, small and large businesses, government agencies, schools and non-profit organizations. We are also a leader in supporting financial confidence and financial education through our Momentum onUp program for companies.
Tampa is a city blessed with strong growth in healthcare, aging services, construction, consumer services, and ports and logistics industries, among many others. As these industries grow, they become more complex and SunTrust is continuously innovating to meet their needs. To support them, SunTrust has developed a multi-pillar approach, combining dedicated industry and financial product specialists with our local relationship teams to serve our clients. This gives our clients the benefit of world class financial services – including lending, treasury, M&A and sophisticated corporate finance – combined with the local knowledge and expertise of a relationship manager based in Tampa.

What are you most excited about in your new role with SunTrust?
There are a number of things that I am excited to work on as a SunTrust teammates and as a member of the Tamp community. First, I’m working with the SunTrust Foundation to help support organizations that empower the Tampa Bay community, such as USF, HCC, Junior Achievement, and Goodwill.

We are partnering with the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and to help spur growth in Tampa and the broader Tampa Bay area. I have joined the boards of the Tampa EDC, as well as the Tampa Bay Partnership. SunTrust has been a long-time supporter regional EDCs, and members of my team work with EDCs and Chambers of Commerce from the Citrus Coast down to Venice.

Our purpose as a company is the Light the Way to Financial Well-Being for the clients and communities we serve. That means helping our clients achieve their financial goals to drive business growth. We’re well positioned to deliver on this purpose and are growing the SunTrust commercial banking platform by expanding our coverage of small and large businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

How does SunTrust attract and retain quality talent?
As one of the largest financial institutions in Tampa, we know that hiring, training and retaining the best talent is the key to our success. Whether hiring a new recruit out of college or a seasoned veteran, SunTrust provides significant training, both on the job and in the classroom. We also foster collaboration and teamwork in our client coverage that helps our team members grow across multiple industries and products as well.

Speaking from personal experience, one of the things that attracted me to SunTrust was the company’s culture and purpose. It’s not just a slogan on the wall; it is alive in the organization. One of the key initiatives we deployed internally is a financial well-being program called Momentum onUp. Through Momentum onUp, we help participating teammates establish a financial confidence account, understand debt, save for a home, and build their capabilities to further their career. The financial confidence of our teammates has increased as a result. We find that those teammates who participated in onUp also stay with us longer. To date, we’ve paid out more than $10 million to help our teammates establish emergency savings. The program is so successful that we now offer it to other companies – at cost and at no profit to us – as a way to fulfill our purpose. The results at those participating companies speak for themselves. 98 percent of participants established savings for an emergency and averaged a 35 percent increase in retirement account contributions.