Getting To Know
Thomas H. Brouster, Sr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Reliance Bank
A Locally Owned and Locally Managed Community Bank


Des Peres is a great city, filled with friendly people, outstanding schools, fine city services and vibrant businesses. "It is also a very special place to us because Reliance Bank's first branch, which included our headquarters, opened in Des Peres in 1999." says Reliance Chairman and CEO Thomas H. Brouster Sr.

The results of the recent re-design of the Reliance Bank Des Peres branch conveniently located at 11781 Manchester Road blends the needs of today's bank clients with the traditional by including a technology bar, charging center, sign-up for online banking station with the bank lobby, tellers, and full service safe deposit boxes. The entire space is now highly functional and stunningly beautiful.

"We are deeply grateful to Des Peres Mayor Rick Lahr, City Administrator Doug Harms, all the elected officials and staff for their patience and understanding during the time it took to bring this project to fruition."

The re-design includes office space for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Select Properties who share the building and occupy approximately half of the building space. When completed, there will be direct access from the Reliance Bank lobby to the BHHS Select Properties offices. The re-design of this portion of the building will be completed this month.

Reliance continues the trend of sub-leasing space to other businesses. "One of the reasons is to increase foot traffic, which is a benefit for both businesses. Reliance Bank strives for superior customer service and convenience and we are excited to serve our current and future customers from a new and improved branch" reports Brouster.

Two other near-by Reliance branches are sub-leased including a custard stand in Rock Hill and a US Post Office in Manchester.

Maryann Vitale Alles, President and CEO of BHHS Select Properties stated "We are very excited about the partnership with Reliance Bank and the shared network opportunity this presents for both businesses.

"We have been a Reliance Bank customer since the start of BHHS Select Properties in 2002. Our Sales Associates are thrilled to relocate to the new location which is in the heart of our Des Peres and Kirkwood markets."

A 12ft x 24ft Conference and Data Center is available in the Bank for community use, at no charge. Reservations are necessary and can be made by calling 314.965.5300. There is also access to a coffee bar, popcorn, Dad's cookies, and big screen TV.

The new 3 lane drive-through features 2 traditional drive-through lanes and one Interactive Teller Machine (ITM.) The ITM allows you to talk to a real person during extended hours. Services include deposits; withdrawals; check cashing; loan payments; balance inquiries and anything you could do if you'd walk into a branch. ITM hours are from 7 am - 6 pm, Mon-Fri and 8 am - 1pm Sat.

About Thomas H. Brouster, Sr.
Thomas H. Brouster, Sr., who has more than 47 years of experience in the banking industry, has led 15 bank turnarounds during the past 40 years. The first of those turnarounds took place in 1977, when he and two partners bought a bank, he named Eagle Bank, and building, which were in foreclosure. He was just 29 years old at the time. He turned the bank around, kept it until 1993 and then sold it - it was recently sold to Enterprise Bank.

Of the 15 banks, Brouster successfully used his entrepreneurial experience and skills in negotiating the control and purchase of nine banks and the sale of eight. Known in local banking circles as a highly respected turnaround banker, Brouster spent his career acquiring troubled financial institutions in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, and he successfully turned each of them around to profitability.

Brouster served as chairman, chief executive, and majority owner of Forbes First Financial, the holding company for Pioneer Bank and Trust, an independent state-chartered bank specializing in small and middle-market companies. In 2006 he sold the company to National City Bank, which is now PNC Bank. Brouster became chairman of PNC for the state of Missouri and worked as such for four years. By 2010 Brouster once again began to look for a turnaround situation. He was soon led to Reliance Bank.

In 2010 he was approached by Reliance Bank's (the "Bank") Board of Directors with regard to potentially making an investment in the Bank and spearheading a major turnaround effort. In February 2013, Mr. Brouster initially joined Reliance as a consultant to begin the turnaround process. In addition, Mr. Brouster as the lead investor, took control of the organization in March 2013 by injecting $31 million in new capital into the Bank. He now controls 63% of the common stock of the Company.

In his role as Chairman, he also became CEO of the Company. The turnaround Mr. Brouster spearheaded has produced record sustained growth in deposits and loan over the past five years and had achieved record earnings, all while maintaining excellent asset quality and a highly respectable reputation with the Bank's regulators.

Brouster has been very active in St. Louis community organizations serving as trustee at the Municipal Theater Association of St. Louis, former chairman of the board of trustees and chairman of the finance committee of St. Louis University, former trustee and member of several committees of Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, former chairman of the board of trustees and member of the finance committee for the St. Louis Art Museum, former president of the St. Louis Archdiocese School Board, former trustee and member of the finance committee of Cardinal Glennon Hospital, former trustee and Marlin Perkin's corporate chair of the St. Louis Zoo.

About Reliance Bank
Reliance Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Bancshares, Inc., was founded in Des Peres, MO, on April 16, 1999 by a small group of St. Louis area private investors. Over the ensuing years the Bank expanded to 22 branches in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. During this period, assets and capital grew as a result of increased commercial real estate loans and several capital injections by Bancshares.

In 2006-2007 Reliance opened loan production offices in Phoenix, AZ and Houston, TX. Additionally, in 2006, Bancshares formed a second wholly owned subsidiary and opened a Thrift, Reliance Bank, F.S.B., in Fort Myers, FL. In 2007, Bancshares registered their shares of common stock with the SEC and thereby become a publicly traded company.

The severe economic recession that began in late 2007 and accelerated in September 2008 created great stress on the loan portfolio of both bank subsidiaries. The decline of the real estate markets in the St. Louis and southwestern Florida areas, as well as Texas and Arizona, caused a significant increase in Bancshares' nonperforming loans in 2007 and 2008.

Between 2009 and 2011 Bancshares took large losses and incurred significant pressure from Bank regulators to raise additional capital and reduce nonperforming loans. In June 2010, the Board hired Allan Ivie to stabilize Bancshares. In response to the regulatory pressure, throughout 2010 and 2011, the Board of Directors unsuccessfully attempted to raise new capital from private equity firms. As a result of these occurrences, in Feb. 2012, the Board hired Brouster & Associates, headed by well known and highly successful turnaround expert Thomas H. Brouster, Sr., as consultants.
 

Des Peres' pride in the city's past as it looks forward to the future is echoed on the walls of the re-designed Reliance Bank branch. A large montage of historic photographs adorns one of the walls in the Bank.

Brouster and his long-time partner Gaines Dittrich led an intense effort by management throughout 2012 and 2013. As a result of these efforts, Bancshares' asset quality began to improve and operating losses were minimized.

Reliance Bancshares is now a privately held company that is majority controlled by Brouster. As a benefit to shareholders, Bancshares' common stock continues to be traded via the Pink Sheets under the symbol of RLBS.

"Reliance Bank has entered a new phase of controlled growth with a focus on building long term comprehensive relationships with our customers. Our goal is to build the premier community bank in the markets we serve.

"The turnaround, beginning in 2012 and continuing into 2017 is due to the success of loans, deposits and income. For instance, loans this year have grown 18% an increase from one year ago; deposits have grown about 15%- 16% and profits have grown 24%.

"The responsibility of a bank is to lend out money safely. We have achieved that as evidenced by the fact we have no loans over 30 days due and we haven't had any for the past 69 months meaning we lend money to safe borrowers."

Under Brouster's leadership, Reliance is now the 16th largest state chartered bank out of 269 in Missouri.

About Community Banks
"I have been involved with community banks for a long time and I believe they should serve a specific purpose to the community in which they are involved. One of the reasons community banks like ours, are so successful is that we are locally owned and locally managed so decisions can be made locally.

"For instance, decisions we make on loans for people, or businesses, corporations, etc. are made right here from my office. I live near Des Peres right in the heart of the community. Each of our board members are experienced and qualified and live here themselves. The ability of a community bank like ours to make local decisions without having to go through any bureaucratic process as large banks have to do means we can offer faster, more efficient service for our customers.

"In big banks, staff changes frequently so the person you worked with on your loan may be gone the next month. In our case we pride ourselves on knowing the customer's name not only when we initiate the service but ongoing. We believe this is extremely important in establishing a long relationship."

About Donna Pequignot - AVP, Branch Manager
Donna has been in the banking industry since 1983.

"We know you've worked hard to build up your business and have put countless hours into your life's work. At Reliance Bank, we are dedicated to taking the time to get to know you and your business," reports Donna Pequignot, branch manager.

"You can rest assured knowing that all of our decisions are made in-house here in St. Louis and in a very timely fashion. We can also customize a loan to fit your needs.

"We provide financing for: Working Capital Lines of Credit; Equipment Loans; Commercial Vehicles; Real Estate Loans; Business Equity Lines of Credit and Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans.

"Reliance Bank is your community bank and we are here to serve you and to help grow the local economy. We know our current clients, their family and their business and we want to know yours as well. We also greet them by name and they know ours. This is a totally different approach than the 'big' banks. "Please stop by and talk to us - we want to meet you!"

Attention All Chamber Members
Donna says she is looking forward to attending as many Kirkwood-Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce meetings as possible in order to take full advantage of networking opportunities made available by our dynamic business organization. She is looking forward to meeting each and every member, so please take time to introduce yourself to her.

Reliance Bank is a locally owned and locally managed community bank with 23 locations in the St. Louis metropolitan area. As of Dec 31, 2016, the Bank’s total assets were approximately $1.3 billion. The Bank’s website can be found at www.reliancebankstl.com