Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co. is small but mighty.

With two offices in Northern Kentucky, the privately owned Louisville-based bank provides banking services that reach businesses on both sides of the Ohio River.

“One of the things a lot of people don’t know about us is we run a full-service virtual bank shop every day from our Florence location,” says Corey Sidebottom, senior vice president and Northern Kentucky market executive.

What that means is Commonwealth provides full-service banking using the latest technology such as remote deposit scanners and automatic clearinghouse services that allows its business customers to bank with Commonwealth from their office computer every day without stepping foot in the bank.

For example, he says, “one of my best clients lives in Detroit, Mich., He’s been a client for 10 years and operates Sonic Restaurant franchises in the area. He does all his banking with our Florence branch.”

Commonwealth, which has an office in Edgewood, opposite Thomas More College, in addition to the Florence office on Houston Road, leverages its technology with a high level of personal service for its clients.

Sidebottom calls it “a new school-old school sandwich. We use all new-school products and technology but we use old-fashioned service techniques.”

Sidebottom says, “We’re partners with our clients.”

That service level varies based on what the client requires.

“Everybody needs bank services differently,” he says. “Some clients call us once a week, some call us every day and some maybe we see once a year. It all depends on how much service they need from us. Whatever a client typically needs we’re willing to provide.”

As result, he says, bank executives spend a lot of time out of the office visiting clients. And as a small institution, Commonwealth relies a lot on client referrals.

“The way people hear about us is word of mouth. We get a lot of business from other business clients,” he says. “A client in Mason, Ohio, will send us to a friend in business in West Chester, for example. We like to think we do good work and leave a good trail behind.’’

That attention to personal service pays off in other ways such as additional retail banking business.

“What we find is we do a lot of business with a client’s employees, too,” Sidebottom says. “When someone’s buying a house, their boss will say, ‘Call my banker at Commonwealth.’ That’s old-school personal service.”

Although Commonwealth’s name may be new in Northern Kentucky, it has been operating there for nearly 20 years. Both the Florence and Edgewood offices operated as First Security Trust Bank until 2014 when Commonwealth’s parent company, which owned both banks, merged them under the Commonwealth Bank & Trust name.

Commonwealth, which also has 15 offices in the Louisville area, today has nearly $1 billion in bank assets and trust assets of $1.6 billion.

Sidebottom, a Northern Kentucky native, is a graduate of Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell and Northern Kentucky University with a degree in business management.

He joined Commonwealth more than three years ago and has spent 15 years in commercial banking and lending in Northern Kentucky.

Another example of Commonwealth’s commitment to personal service is its support of philanthropic activities.

“One thing about us is that everybody in the bank has their own thing that they do. We don’t tout it as banking, but they’re involved in the community some how,” says Lori Burdine, commercial and retail banking specialist.

For example, Sidebottom is vice chairman of the BAWAC, the Boone Adult Worker Activity Center, the Florence nonprofit that provides disabled adults with skills training and employment opportunities.

Commonwealth also operates a “Jeans Day” fundraiser across all the bank’s offices. Employees who want to wear jeans to work for a day donate $2 and each month the funds are distributed to a different charity. Recently the bank donated $600 to the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky, for example. The local offices also run regular holiday gift fundraisers.

“People ask, “How do you make it work? You are Commonwealth Bank and nobody knows who you are,’” Sidebottom says. “But it’s not rocket science. It’s about doing the right things every day and I think we do that for our customers.”


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