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What does it take to be a trusted financial services provider? For Father Bob Stec, pastor of St. Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick, Ohio, the answer is simple: It’s all about relationships.

Reflecting on Banking Needs

Founded in 1957, St. Ambrose works hard to be a strong and active member in the community. The spiritual home for 17,000 members, the parish has 150 ministries and programs through which congregants form bonds of friendship, reinforce family values, and do great work in service to their faith. And St. Ambrose Day School and Littlest Angels Preschool offer affordable, world-class education to families in Brunswick and the surrounding areas in Medina and Cuyahoga counties.

“St. Ambrose had reached a good place a couple of years ago to examine our parish business,” said Father Bob. “We had our accounts with an institution other than KeyBank at the time, and we wanted to reflect more deeply on what we needed from a bank.”

That’s when the power of relationships came into the picture.

Bringing the Right Resources to the Table

“To be candid, we were not getting as much from our former bank as we felt we should have been getting,” said Father Bob. “KeyBank’s John Burdorff had been calling on us, taking the time to get to know us and our plans. While we had no relationship with KeyBank, we developed a good rapport, especially on financial matters. So when we decided to explore our options, it was only natural that we turned to him.”

An area manager at KeyBank, John brought in the right people to discuss the parish’s needs. St. Ambrose was set to launch a renovation and facilities buildout program, and it needed funding for construction. The parish was also seeking to establish a full deposit relationship that included treasury management, merchant services, and purchase cards.

“The KeyBank team took a very deliberate and thoughtful approach right from the start,” said Father Bob. “Importantly, they asked questions first, listened to the answers, and probed further to ensure that they understood our requirements and goals. They then assembled a practical, specific proposal and fee structure to present to our finance counselor.”

Creating a Successful Transition

KeyBank worked quickly to establish a $3 million credit facility to enable St. Ambrose to get its construction project underway. The construction work is nearly complete, and the  borrowing is being converted into permanent financing.

The transition of the parish’s deposit relationship has also been a success, in large part the result of KeyBank’s process. “The approach to integration was methodical and disciplined,” Father Bob remarked. “And the bank’s team was very accessible throughout the changeover.”

“The parish has approximately 20 deposit accounts, including operating, endowment, schools, and Knights of Columbus, to name a few,” said John. “Each organization is unique and distinct, and we took great care to ensure that we stayed on top of their needs.”

Jake Bihari, Father Bob’s right-hand man at St. Ambrose, underscored the importance of following through on commitments. “The real test of a relationship comes after the sales staff leaves and the transition is completed,” he remarked. “And KeyBank’s service has been outstanding. The people at the branch are in constant contact with us and respond quickly to make sure everything is working well. Frankly, that was something that was sorely lacking at our former bank.”

“Transformation happens at the speed of the relationship,” said Father Bob. “A successful transition is possible only after you get to know and trust people. John laid all the groundwork to make the change to KeyBank a success. Whenever there was a hiccup or question, we were only a phone call away from getting the right resources aligned. That commitment to service made us very comfortable throughout the transition.”

John believes the size of KeyBank played an important part in the successful transition and relationship. “We’re large enough to have a complete set of solutions but small enough to be nimble and think outside the box.”

Poised to Grow

A lot has been done, to be sure, but it’s just a start. KeyBank is already working with St. Ambrose on an affinity program including debit cards and credit cards for parish members. And the bank continues to sponsor The FEST, an annual festival of faith, family, and fun in which Father Bob and Jake have leadership roles.

“We’re in a really good position now,” said Father Bob. “With KeyBank, we have a true community partner, one that is dynamic, responsive, and forward-looking. It’s an exciting time for us, and we’re eager to explore more opportunities with KeyBank.”