The newest branch of Anderson Brothers Bank is now open in Murrells Inlet. Above, the team celebrates the much-anticipated event with a photo out front. From left to right: Lindsey Sullivan, Shonna Wright, Leslie Hotzelt, Terri Larkin, Owen Willis, Susan Grant, Jamie Hinton, and Jackson Hurston.
Treating Clients Like Family For Almost a Century
by Melissa LaScaleia
Anderson Brothers Bank is a local institution that was founded in the early 1930s, when tobacco farmers needed financing for their crop. During the recession, there wasn’t an option for farmers to secure funding, so the Anderson family offered it to them out of the back of an old tobacco warehouse in Marion County.
From these humble beginnings, Anderson Brothers Bank has evolved into a full service community bank, with twenty-four branches from North Myrtle Beach to as far south as Summerville, and inland to Florence— with everything that you’d expect from a modern day bank: 24 hour ATMs, online banking, and an advanced mobile app.
They opened a branch in the spring of 2017 in the Market Common, and recently unveiled their latest location in Murrells Inlet last month. Additionally, they just completed a full remodel for their North Myrtle Beach branch, and are also building a new branch in Florence, set to be completed by the end of the month.
Just as it was almost a century ago, today, Anderson Brothers Bank is still locally owned and run by the Anderson family. The third generation team includes: David Anderson as president, Tommy Anderson as vice president, and Neal Anderson as the chairman of the board.
“The Anderson family has been planning this expansion for over ten years,” says Terri Larkin, the manager at Murrells Inlet. They found a place and put a great team together at a time when this area is growing and has a need for another small community bank branch.”
Terri was recruited to join the Anderson team in March, and was working at the Market Common location while operations for the Inlet were underway. The original plan called for an opening date in June, but Covid-19 delayed the proceedings.
“We have fantastic staff with a lot of experience,” Terri says of the new team. “And the building is beautiful: with brick flooring, a lot of wood, and large bookcases. It has a classic feel to it, reminiscent of a bygone era.”
The branch has a coffee bar available for their clients every day of the week, and an old-fashioned popcorn cart popping fresh popcorn which they run on Fridays (put on temporary hold due to Covid-19).
Bryan Lenertz has been working for Anderson Brothers Bank for the past eight years as the Horry County executive, overseeing eight branches throughout the region. He chose to work for Anderson Brothers after meeting David, the president.
“He was progressive, with new ideas, and a thinking-outside-the-box mindset,” Bryan says. “It’s a really neat bank to work at because Mr. Anderson isn’t a micro manager. He gives people the space to make their own decisions, and if you make a mistake, it’s seen as an opportunity for growth, to do something differently next time.
“There’s a lot of freedom and autonomy to do your job and try to do it well in your own way. As a result of that, each of our branches has a slightly different feel. All of them still offer the same excellent service, they just have a different feel relative to their geographic location and who works there.
“Banks are so regulated now, that really what sets them apart is the people. Knowing that, we try to hire the best possible people with great personalities. Our market all over Horry County— Conway, Aynor, Loris, Longs, North Myrtle Beach— continues to grow and expand. Each branch continues to grow in asset size. And we have a fantastic team all over Horry County.”
“We have what we call the concierge experience, which makes us difference from everybody else,” Terri says. “When you come in the door, we greet you and offer you a beverage. People want that welcoming small-town feel, but they still want efficiency in their transactions. So we have structured our culture to get people the answers they need as quickly as possible. I came from a big-bank background and it would often take two weeks to a month to get an answer regarding a loan. Here I can get a decision in 48 hours.”
Terri began her career in banking in 1999. Over the years, she worked at a series of small community banks, each of which was purchased by a big bank. With each acquisition, she would move on to find a new small community bank.
“I believe community banks are relationship-based,” Terri says. “They base their success on the strength of their relationships with each client. I like working with an individual and helping them buy their first house versus it being just a transaction. With Anderson Brothers, we are there to help you with all of your needs. We have the standard services like checking and money market accounts, and we offer commercial loans, consumer loans (like cars, motorcycles and boats) and mortgage loans— all under one roof.
“When making decisions about lending, we make that decision locally because we understand the community the person lives in. We understand the culture and therefore what’s feasible what’s not— the client’s needs, the aspect of seasonality. We are able to be more realistic because we live and work there too.”
Also part of their culture is their commitment to helping out community members with lower credit scores with consumer lending.
“No matter your credit score, we try to help everybody,” Bryan says. “It gives you a good feeling to work at a place like that.”
Anderson Brothers helps lenders with credit scores of 550 and up to secure lower interest loans more than any other bank in the area.
“Often people have had a setback like an accident or illness, and they’re out of work,” Bryan says. “And they think they will only be able to procure a loan at a higher interest rate. We can help people who live in this area to get back on their feet.”
“One of the ways we do that is to give a client a smaller loan to help them rebuild their credit, so that one day they can buy a house or realize one of their other dreams,” Terri says. “Owen Willis at the Murrells Inlet office does a fantastic job counseling clients to get them to where they want to be.”
“Even though we are expanding like we are, we stick to our tagline of treating you like family,” Bryan says. “When you come into a branch, we still know our customers by name. Even though we’re becoming more tech savvy, we retain that hometown-bank feel. It’s still a local bank with local decision making— that’s how I would define us today.”
Anderson Brothers Bank