Through creativity, local knowledge and dedication to their customers, community banks continued to demonstrate the value of their relationship-based model in the past year. Independent Banker’s annual listing of the Best-Performing Banks 2023 illustrates how critical it is for community banks to lean into their strengths while seeking out innovation to better serve Main Street America. Read on for the listings and the stories of success behind some of the winners.
—Tiffany Lukk, managing editor, Independent Banker

With contributions from Bridget McCrea, William Atkinson, and Roshan McArthur


Less than $300 million in assets
RankBank NameCityStatePretax ROA 3YW
1 Nebraska State Bank Oshkosh NE 3.71
2 Brazos National Bank Richwood TX 3.23
3 Richland State Bank Bruce SD 3.05
4 Bank of Montana Missoula MT 3.01
5 McKenzie Banking Company McKenzie TN 2.98
6 PrinsBank Prinsburg MN 2.94
7 Priority Bank Fayetteville AR 2.94
8 Surety Bank Deland FL 2.88
9 Peoples State Bank Cherryvale KS 2.83
10 Cumberland Security Bank, Inc. Somerset KY 2.82
11 Douglas National Bank Douglas GA 2.73
12 First Federal Bank, A FSB Tuscaloosa AL 2.72
13 Home Bank of California San Diego CA 2.72
14 First Western Federal Savings Bank Rapid City SD 2.72
15 Grant County State Bank Swayzee IN 2.71
16 First Bank of Ohio Tiffin OH 2.7
17 North Valley Bank Denver CO 2.69
18 The Cowboy Bank Of Texas Maypearl TX 2.6
19 Stearns Bank of Upsala,
National Association
Upsala MN 2.58
20 Security First National Bank of Hugo Hugo OK 2.53
21 Ultima Bank Minnesota Winger MN 2.53
22 VISIONBank Saint Louis Park MN 2.52
23 The First State Bank Abernathy TX 2.52
24 Union Bank & Trust Company Livingston TN 2.49
25 First Security Bank of Deer Lodge Deer Lodge MT 2.49
Ryan James
Ryan James


Surety Bank
DeLand, Fla.

$200 million

3-year average pre-tax ROA:


Ryan James
President and CEO, Surety Bank

Q: What makes Surety Bank so successful?
A: A high level of quality and efficiency and being very intentional and focused on those operational goals. This started years ago, and it’s been carried forward through our core philosophy of “If it doesn’t make sense, then don’t do it.” We’ve been able to create a lot of value for our core customers by focusing on this philosophy versus just centering on growth.

Q: What role do your team members play in the bank’s nearly 100-year history in the community?
A: They’re everything. We support them by listening to them, giving them the tools they need to succeed and helping them operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. As a result, our team members are the driving force behind our own bank’s efficiencies and our customers’ success.

“Our team members are the driving force behind our own bank’s efficiencies and our customers’ success.”
—Ryan James, Surety Bank

VISIONBank gets it done


Fargo, N.D.

$140 million

3-year average pre-tax ROA:

VISIONBank was founded in 2003 by a team of experienced bankers who were committed to providing exceptional service. The community bank’s founders also wanted to build an organization that would never lose that “small town” bank connection with its clients. 

VISIONBank stands out in many ways, but some of the more visible differentiations include the fireplaces, grand piano and stocked refrigerators that customers can enjoy when they visit any of its three full-service locations. The bank even has a couple of friendly black Labradors—Scout and Piper—that come to work every day.

Founded on the fundamental principle of “getting it done,” VISIONBank takes pride in its commitment to its clients, employees and community. “We were the first bank chartered in over 30 years in the state of North Dakota, and we are proud and thankful that we have been well received by the clients and communities we serve,” Dan Carey, president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are excited about the continued growth of our communities, and we will remain responsive to the changing needs of our clients.”

Ranked as one of North Dakota’s top-producing SBA lending partners every year since 2010, VISIONBank has a seasoned lending team that’s repeatedly earned the SBA’s District Director’s Award. The community bank also runs a Scout’s Kids Club program for kids 18 and younger, who get an approved savings account and access to learning activities, volunteer work opportunities and a chance to earn prizes throughout the year.


$300 million to $1 billion in assets
RankBank NameCityStatePretax ROA 3YW
1 FinWise Bank Murray UT 10.55
2 Willamette Valley Bank Salem OR 5.58
3 Peoples Bank Mendenhall MS 4.16
4 Bank of England England AR 3.56
5 University Bank Ann Arbor MI 3.53
6 One American Bank Sioux Falls SD 3.41
7 EvaBank Cullman AL 3.27
8 FSNB, National Association Fort Sill OK 3.18
9 Pioneer Trust Bank, National Association Salem OR 3.1
10 AMG National Trust Bank Boulder CO 2.97
11 The Bippus State Bank Huntington IN 2.95
12 Home Loan Investment Bank, F.S.B. Warwick RI 2.91
13 Stafford Savings Bank Stafford Springs CT 2.84
14 Citizens Bank Carthage TN 2.68
15 BankVista Sartell MN 2.67
16 FNB South Alma GA 2.65
17 Security State Bank of Oklahoma Wewoka OK 2.63
18 Coffee County Bank Manchester TN 2.63
19 GBank Las Vegas NV 2.62
20 Magnolia Bank, Inc Hodgenville KY 2.6
21 M1 Bank Clayton MO 2.54
22 MRV Banks Sainte Genevieve MO 2.53
23 HNB National Bank Hannibal MO 2.51
24 Allied First Bank, SB Oswego IL 2.51
25 First Community Bank of Tennessee Shelbyville TN 2.49
Kent Landvatter
Kent Landvatter


FinWise Bank
Murray, Utah

$400 million

3-year average pre-tax ROA:

3 minutes with …

Kent Landvatter
CEO and president, FinWise Bank

“Our bank’s most significant strength is our people,” says Kent Landvatter. “We hire great people and provide opportunities for their professional growth.”

He believes FinWise Bank’s focus on partnering with leading technology companies sets it apart from competitors. “The products and services that these companies deliver and that we offer allow convenient access to banking products for our customers,” he says.

In addition, Landvatter believes that internal processes help set FinWise Bank apart from others and are part of the reason it’s a top-performing bank. “We have operationalized our processes, so that they allow for best-in-class due diligence and monitoring across the bank,” he says.

According to Landvatter, this provides the community bank and its processes with consistency, efficiency and scalability. It also helps the bank meet its regulatory responsibilities.

Tom Russell
Tom Russel


Tom Russell
President, EvaBank

Q: What do you believe is EvaBank’s greatest strength?
A: Our biggest strength is that we have remained steadfast with the bank’s approach to providing high-yield deposit accounts and unique out-of-the-box lending that most larger banks will not consider. Additionally, our employees’ average tenure exceeds 10 years, which provides a great sense of loyalty and commitment to our customers and our bank.


Cullman, Ala.

$406 million

3-yr average pre-tax ROA:

Q: What do you believe sets you apart from your competition?
A: EvaBank is different from its competition because we seek out ways to condition loans to approvals with localized decision makers at each branch, versus a computer making the decision. In addition, our bank’s senior management meshes like no other; we do not have conflicts, power struggles or seek out recognition. We maneuver in unison for the overall betterment of EvaBank, its customers, shareholders and our employees.

Q: What is the most important internal process you have in place that has helped you become a top-performing bank? 
A: The absolute most important internal process EvaBank has in place is the cross-training of employees so that they can perform multiple functions and assist the bank with work overflows or other employee absentees.

“Our employees’ average tenure exceeds 10 years, which provides a great sense of loyalty and commitment to our customers and our bank.”
—Tom Russell, EvaBank

3 facts about … GBank


Las Vegas, Nev.

$679 million

3-year average pre-tax ROA:

1. GBank began in 2007 as Bank of George when it opened its Las Vegas bank locations. In the fall of 2022, it rebranded as GBank to celebrate its technological advancements in the digital age. As part of the rebrand, the bank has improved its digital banking.

2. The community bank maintains business activities in three prominent divisions. One is SBA lending, which it conducts nationally. GBank is ranked 14th in the nation by the U.S. Small Business Administration for SBA 7(a) dollar loan volume through Sept. 30, 2022.

The second division is Gaming FinTech, which it launched in 2016. The division provides secure pay-and-play that is enabling cashless mobile commerce solutions for gaming, lottery and sports betting ecosystems. 

The third is commercial lending, in which GBank provides general commercial banking services with an emphasis on serving the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses, high-net-worth individuals, professionals and investors. 

3. GBank is nationwide. It is committed to serving its local community, but it also now lends to businesses in more than 30 states. Its primary focus remains serving its customers in Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona. 

» More than $1 Billion

More than $1 billion in assets
RankBank NameCityStatePretax ROA 3YW
1 State Bank of Texas Dallas TX 4.46
2 Apex Bank Camden TN 4.2
3 Gateway First Bank Jenks OK 3.82
4 Stearns Bank National Association Saint Cloud MN 3.7
5 Wallis Bank Wallis TX 3.52
6 CFG Bank Baltimore MD 3.26
7 Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust Company Cedar Rapids IA 3.17
8 Metro City Bank Doraville GA 2.99
9 Sutton Bank Attica OH 2.79
10 Western State Bank Devils Lake ND 2.76
11 Evolve Bank & Trust Memphis TN 2.72
12 First IC Bank Doraville GA 2.65
13 Citizens Bank Elizabethton TN 2.65
14 Cache Valley Bank Logan UT 2.56
15 Bell Bank Fargo ND 2.46
16 Anderson Brothers Bank Mullins SC 2.45
17 BankSouth Greensboro GA 2.43
18 The Yellowstone Bank Laurel MT 2.35
19 Choice Bank Fargo ND 2.34
20 Northpointe Bank Grand Rapids MI 2.31
21 United Texas Bank Dallas TX 2.29
22 The Bank Of Commerce Idaho Falls ID 2.27
23 Summit State Bank Santa Rosa CA 2.26
24 Genesee Regional Bank Rochester NY 2.25
25 Unity Bank Clinton NJ 2.21
Bill Wiedel
Bill Wiedel


Bill Wiedel President and CEO, CFG Bank

Q: What sets your community bank apart?
A: We pride ourselves on being more than a traditional bank. We embrace our entrepreneurial spirit and take a bold approach in everything we do. Where many banks see obstacles, we see opportunity and actively seek solutions to those challenges, allowing us to achieve what many others cannot. 

Q: How would you describe the bank’s culture?
A: Our vision is to have a company culture that feels and operates like a family-run business, supporting and celebrating everyone’s individuality, goals and successes.

Q: In what ways is CFG Bank innovating?
A: Our success has allowed us to make long-term investments in our business, which have greatly improved the customer experience. We also have the ability to syndicate/securitize commercial loans, which increases our capacity to do more business, helping more of our clients to grow and succeed.

In 2021, we identified a need in the marketplace for more efficient financing to the cannabis industry.

We began by offering customized lending solutions to cannabis businesses and have since embraced the industry further to also offer deposit solutions to cannabis clients. We are one of few banks in the country that offer lending and deposit solutions to the cannabis industry, and now it is a successful dedicated line of business for us. We’re proud to help businesses that create jobs, fuel the economy and provide medical relief to many.

Sushil Patel
Sushil Patel

In their own words …

Sushil Patel
President, State Bank of Texas

There are some characteristics of our bank that really set us apart. We are owner operated. That plays a big role in our decision making and our ability to adapt quickly to what we see in the marketplace. We’re also a niche lender. We focus on hospitality lending, and that focus has drawn upon the owners’ and board of directors’ experience in hotel lending. Combined, they own about 165 hotels around the country.

All of our clients are family businesses. We feel like that is part of the success for our clients and our bank, because we think closely watched and operated businesses are more nimble.


State Bank of Texas
Dallas, Texas

$2.1 billion

3-year average pre-tax ROA:

We never seek growth, but we’re opportunistic. During the pandemic, many lenders stopped lending to hotels, and it created an opportunity for us to get new clientele that maybe would not have come to our bank or would not have known about our bank. During the pandemic, clients realized the value of having a lender who you can contact via their cell phone at any time.

I’m very proud of how we are able to finance new hotel owners who might not be able to get loans through other banks because they are looking at them from a credit risk standpoint. We look at them as starting out their business and their family entrepreneurship journey. And we want to be a part of that. 

We see our bank continuing on this path because it’s worked for us. And if it’s not broke, then we’re not going to fix it. We’re just going to make it better.

Matt Daniels
Matt Daniels


Matt Daniels
CEO, Apex Bank

Q: What would you say sets Apex Bank apart?
A: Our people. We have an amazing team of talented individuals who put our customers and communities first. Our team takes the time to understand and fulfill their needs with exceptional service.

Q: How would you describe your culture?
A: We are passionate about each aspect of our business. We encourage our team to be flexible and adaptable. We maintain a flat management structure that eliminates red tape at every level. We embrace technology, and we strive for every interaction to be a unique experience that focuses on the person, not the transaction. 


Apex Bank
Camden, Tenn.

$1.2 billion

3-year average pre-tax ROA:

Q: What has led to your growth?
A: Our team develops strong, lasting relationships with the customers and communities we serve. We pursue underserved markets and develop small business units to explore other revenue-producing opportunities. Above all, we are nimble and always ready to take on new challenges as opportunities arise. 

Q: How are you looking to improve?
A: Apex is continuously seeking new and innovative ways to deliver outstanding banking experiences. Whether that involves new technology, integrating education, creating new business units or redefining banking experiences, we are always thinking outside the box. We recently acquired the largest commercial campus in Knoxville, Tenn., and we look forward to the complex being the cornerstone of our future growth.

“We strive for every interaction to be a unique experience that focuses on the person, not the transaction.”
—Matt Daniels, Apex Bank

How we compiled these rankings

ICBA compiled this year’s rankings with the aim of recognizing community banks that are consistent high performers. Using FDIC data, we took into account pre-tax return-on-assets (ROA) figures from the past three years, with the most recent year weighted at 3x, second most recent year at 2x and third most recent year at 1x. We then divided the community banks into three broad segments based on asset size and ranked each segment based on our three-year weighted average ROA. A bank must have a rating of C or higher by Kroll Bond Ratings (formerly LACE) to be considered for ranking.