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By KATE GENO

   Reliance Bank was founded in 1999 and quickly grew to become one of the largest locally-owned banks in the market with TFritzsche-ColorPrintFritzschemore than $1 billion in assets.
    The economic downturn led to asset quality issues at the bank. In 2012, Tom Brouster arrived and immediately led Reliance on a successful turnaround effort. Earlier this year, Brouster was named chairman and completed a recapitalization of the bank.  Today, Reliance has Tier One Capital of 10.1 percent, a Texas Ratio of 38.6 percent, no loans over 30 days past due for 21 consecutive months and is on pace for record earnings.    
    The credit processes at Reliance Bank are set up to provide customers and prospects with quick, workable solutions, said Tim Fritzsche, vice president and commercial lender. Credit decisions are made locally and bank officials meet weekly or as needed to give customers a quick response. They believe strongly in the character aspect of lending and keep open lines of communication with clients. More than just lenders, Reliance bankers strive to be trusted advisors to their customers. Two-way communication is very important in accomplishing that goal, said Fritzsche.  
    Fritzsche has worked with community banks for 20 years, including the last four years with Reliance Bank. He said he tries to learn as much about each client’s business and industry to provide the best possible solutions in terms of current and future financing needs. 
    Reliance Bank’s focus is on commercial real estate as well as small and middle market C&I lending. It is a community bank with the size to meet the lending needs of most any business. Local decision making is key to timely responses and in developing customized solutions for clients, said Fritzsche.  
    Reliance Bank offers all the traditional financing products such as working capital lines of credit, term financing for equipment and/or building purchases, and construction loans for new buildings or expansion, he said. It also has a complete offering of treasury management products. Its business services staff has a wealth of experience in customizing deposit product solutions to meet the special needs and requests of clients and prospects.  
    According to Fritzsche, Reliance Bank is seeing the volume of new deals increasing, and the bank has a healthy pipeline of new projects. Reliance Bank has a total of 20 branches in the St. Louis Metro Area, including four in Southwestern Illinois in Godfrey, Edwardsville, O’Fallon and Columbia.