by Patty Jo Sawvel ~
When Martha “Marty” Rosson Brown was a young child, her family moved often. In fact, she attended four different schools by the time she reached fourth grade. While she does not remember everyone she met, Marty still remembers her friends.
One particularly difficult move came when Marty was in second grade. Her family relocated in December when most children already have their friendships well in place.
“On my first day at school, I summoned the courage to ask a little girl, ‘Will you be my friend?’ That little girl was Julie Marie Walker. Even though I only knew her for nine months, I will never forget the friendship we shared,” Marty said warmly.
Years later, when Marty attended Salem College, she became close friends with 11 girls. Amazingly, every year for the past 30 years, this troupe of 12—who now reside in seven different states—has been taking beach retreats to recharge each other as life takes its toll. Marty says that this—staying in long term relationships with people who grow to be very different—has taught her more than she ever learned at college.
“I have learned to value our differences. Real friends have the courage to disagree with you and help you see the broader picture. It has been the best training because my job as a banker is to relate to all sorts of people and to have the courage to show them ideas that they may not have considered,” Marty explained.
It is that tenacious attention to relationships that won over Gus Achterberg. At the time, he was very unhappy with his large national bank in Kernersville. Even though Gus banked there for over 30 years, he said that a banker who “did not really know him” encouraged him to invest in products that were unsuitable for him.
“I was furious when I realized what had happened! The manager referred me to Marty and Marty took the time to get to know me. Then, she unraveled all the bad stuff, earned my loyalty, and became my friend. So when Marty moved to High Point Bank in Kernersville, I moved with her,” Gus said.
Kernersville Branch Manager Marty Brown made the big move to a smaller bank so that she could get back to relationship banking. Relationship banking—cultivating a long-term rapport with clients—has been a foundational value at High Point Bank since 1905.
This idea of having a bank that really wants to know you on a personal level, appealed to Piney Grove United Methodist Church, but it did not know where to find such a bank. So a Church committee sent identical “requests for information” to seven banks in Kernersville. After reviewing the responses, the committee narrowed its search to three finalists.
According to Church Treasurer Debbie Hodge, “We visited each of the three banks to see how we were treated. Our committee chose High Point Bank, largely due to Marty Brown and her friendly staff.”
High Point Bank’s ability to “know” clients personally and make decisions on a local level appeals to business clients as well. In fact, the bank’s “hometown” values have been the foundation for growth at the Kernersville branch.
“In 2008, when the economy was in a crunch, very few banks were making loans. It was a tough time for businesses,” explained Tim Mitchell, owner of Kernersville Chrysler Dodge Jeep. “High Point Bank took the time to know us and to help us so they earned our business. Now, when I go to my bank, I feel like I am going to see a friend.”
It is the same for Mike Targett, owner of The Loop. “I am in High Point Bank just about every day and because Marty really knows me, she is constantly looking for ways to help me.”
Marty recently recommended that Mike have Sylena Allen, High Point Bank’s onsite mortgage loan originator, take a second look at his home mortgage.
“I am a shopper,” Mike said, “and Sylena is getting me the best rate. But she is also giving me more options to put the most money in my pocket. Her service is excellent.”
Sylena Allen, a graduate of East Forsyth High School, loves working in her hometown. She has made her mark in the industry by having a simple mantra, “I am the shortest distance between you and your new mortgage.” Sylena achieves this by maintaining excellent communication with the client and the underwriter.
Sylena was a godsend for Ann Holland, a High Point Bank client who has outlived many of her bankers! She needed a new mortgage and she needed it fast.
“I wanted my mortgage started and finished in 30 days because I was going to be leaving for the holiday. I gave Sylena my timetable and she actually completed it a few days early. The rate was excellent and she exceeded my expectation,” Ann shared contentedly.
It is this predominant feeling that “everything will be taken care of” and “my friends are looking out for me” that makes banking at High Point Bank so comfortable. Even in little irritations, High Point Bank can make things better.
Ann and Vann York, owners of Vann York Auto Mall, wanted their numerous personal insurance policies to come due on the same date. They turned the challenge over to Adena Lightner, the personal insurance executive of HPB Insurance Group (a subsidiary of the Bank), located in the Kernersville branch.
“Adena did an exceptional job and then delivered our policies to us,” Ann said.
For others though, life changing problems have caused them to seek out Adena. Such is the case with Beverly Morgan, owner of D W Morgan Electric. In 2009, she and her neighbor had similar hail damage done to their homes. However, the response from their two insurance carriers could not have been more opposite. Her neighbor received a check for a new roof within seven days. Beverly received a denial.
According to Beverly, her insurance company denied her hail damage claim by falsely asserting that her five-year-old steep pitched roof had been damaged by someone walking on it. While the claim was being settled, the Morgan’s were told that if they put a tarp on their leaking roof it would void the policy.
“It rained in our home from December to May. Finally, we decided to replace the roof ourselves. By then, the water had caused mold damage, ruined our floors, and damaged our walls. In the end, we had to spend $148,000 in repairs. We recouped less than half that amount when we took our insurance company to court,” Beverly said disappointedly.
Determined that this would never happen again, Beverly polled doctors, lawyers, and fellow business people to find out who was happy with the way their past claims had been settled.
“Adena Lightner’s name kept coming up,” Beverly said. “Everyone spoke so highly of her and these were her clients that had claims. So I checked her out for myself and now she takes care of all of our insurance, personal and business.”
It was similar for Ben Goodson. He owns Vend Café in Kernersville and it seemed as though he was getting into a wrestling match every time he had a claim.
“After I switched to Adena, everything changed. Now, when we have an accident or a comp claim, I make one phone call and she takes care of it. I am better covered and I am saving money. Adena is the difference,” Ben said proudly.
Clearly, High Point Bank has put together a team of leading professionals at the Kernersville branch. Marty Brown, Sylena Allen, and Adena Lightner all share the same priorities. Job number one is to really get to know their clients. Only then can they know how to best serve each individual.
As High Point Bank continues to grow in Kernersville, so does its involvement with the community. This year, in addition to its customary sponsorships, the Bank has sponsored a table for the upcoming Kernersville Cares for Kids Annual Lunch & Listen, to be held on April 24th at Glenn High School.
“We are so blessed to be a part of a community that keeps its traditions alive. Kernersville knows the real meaning of the word neighbor and it adores its children. It will be refreshing to join our community in a lunch where we can get to know our youth better,” Marty Brown said graciously.
Award-winning author/writer Patty Jo Sawvel, lives in Kernersville and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Point Bank / HPB Insurance Group
Marty Brown – AVP, 25 years in Banking
Sylena Allen – 14 years in Mortgage Lending
Adena Lightner – 17 years in Insurance
- Commercial and Small Business Banking
- Personal Banking
- Online and Mobile Banking
- Investments and Brokerage
- 40l(K), IRA, SEP
- Mortgage Lending
- Insurance: Home, Auto, Life, Health, Pet
- Business Insurance
515 Pineview Drive
Kernersville, NC 27284
Did You Know?
- There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
- The first known car insurance policy was written in 1895 in the UK.
- Parker Brothers printed more money for its Monopoly games than the Federal Reserve has issued in real money for the United States.