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business of distinction Live Oak Bank’s striking architecture, transparent façade and cypress siding harmonize with the landscape. I n keeping with the emphasis on aesthetics, trees were important. There were three long leaf pines in the middle of the courtyard that were built around for a year until the difficult choice was made to cut them down. But otherwise, every effort was made to keep, move, relocate or repurpose the trees. “We tried to keep as many trees as possible,” Miller says. The employee amenities extend far beyond the interior to the outdoor spaces and attractive landscape. Balconies, outdoor sitting and gathering spaces with pond and woods views and a jogging trail are also thoughtfully placed. It’s all part of a workplace culture that led American Banker Magazine to rank Live Oak as No. 1 on its list of Best Banks to Work For in 2014 and 2015. “If you read all the self-help books, it says the three most important things in a company are its stockholders, its custom-ers and its employees,” Williams says. “Well, if we were writing the book we would not include any of that. We would say the most important thing is the employees. If you take care of your employees you don’t need to worry about the customers or the stockholders.” Something is clearly working. In a November 17, 2015, fea-ture, Forbes noted, “In the eight years since it first began lend-ing, Live Oak has leapfrogged up the ranks of the largest Small Business Administration’s 7(a) lenders to the number two slot, by dollar volume, behind only Wells Fargo.” The 10-acre site allows for future growth, which is already necessary. A third building is planned, with more likely to follow. “It will be a copy of building two without the restaurant, but it may be taller. Building four, five, six and seven, we will have to wait and see,” Williams says. The bank went public, July 27, 2015, trading under the ticker symbol LOB on the NASDAQ Stock Market. 70 WBM march 2016


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