What do a bank, a bicycle and a blue lagoon have in common? Bill Penney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marine Bank and Trust.
Native Floridian Bill Penney has been a commercial banker for over 36 years. Banking and building relationships with people is his business. Formerly as an inline skater and now as an avid cyclist with a passion for philanthropy, Bill has also peddled far and often for charitable causes such as United Way and the Red Cross. Connected to the pulse of Vero Beach, he is involved in the community serving on boards such as the IRC Economic Development Council and the IRC Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Penny was appointed Treasurer of the Board for ORCA, who along with many other organizations and private citizens is working toward solutions to clean-up the Indian River Lagoon.
In 1984, six years after his banking career had begun, Bill and his wife moved to Vero from the West Palm Beach area. With three grown children born and raised in this community, like many others who “came to visit”, the Penney family has made Vero their hometown. “This is a wonderful community with great people, it’s not too big or small and the outdoor life is great between the river and the beach and all the running and biking paths. It is a small enough town that you can make a difference and it’s a big enough town to make a difference too. In this town people mobilize and get things done where they are needed most. It is a very special place.”
Blessed to work in a business that he loves and still excited to come to work each day, Penney decided during his college years that banking was what he wanted to do. “In my Economics class, the chapter on how banks create money fascinated me. I have a mixed bag of skills with a technical aptitude for numbers and a love of dealing with people – which is what I really love to do. I inherited my people skills from my father, who was a mail carrier and a bartender.” In his 5th year as President and CEO of Marine Bank and Trust, Bill enjoys dealing with the public and his employees – an obvious priority. With more rules and regulations than ever before in the banking industry, Penney has managed to maintain perspective and to keep his priorities on the people, “At the end of the day it’s all about keeping people happy and taking care of your customer.”
Successful community bank investor, Ken Lehman, recently responded to Marine Bank’s capital offering by purchasing their common stock and thus providing funding for growth of the bank. While the Virginia bank investor awaits the pending status of controlling interest in Marine, one can imagine Lehman and Penney as they enter the dating stages of building a business relationship. How interesting then to discover they share a mutually intense interest in cycling and in-line skating. Both men love to ride their bicycles long distance and have already discussed a potential future cross-country adventure. “It’s such a small world, especially in this town. We’ve already found that we get along very well,” shares Penney.
Proud and honored to have also led what he believes are two of the finest organizations in this community, The United Way and the Chamber of Commerce, Penney enjoys the rewarding feeling that comes with community service. “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. You get to meet a lot of people and you realize that together you can achieve more than you could ever do by yourself. It’s rewarding to look around and see some of the initiatives that were started years ago – you see them moving into fruition now and becoming very successful.” Recently hosting a Chamber of Commerce event, Penney met the Ocean Research and Conservation Association founder, Dr. Edith Widder. With ORCA wanting to enhance their connections with the local business community, they asked Penney to join the organization as the Treasurer of the Board. ORCA is a nonprofit scientific-based research institute dedicated to promoting conservation. Having built a monitoring device called Kilroy, ORCA is currently assisting in the research and data collection being done on the declining ecosystem in our lagoon.
“My life is an open book living in a small town. I am blessed in that I have been able to weave in what I love to do …raising a wonderful family, athletically and philanthropically raising money …as well as loving the place I work. It doesn’t get any better than that. I will keep doing what I love to do until it isn’t fun anymore,” smiles Penney. If it is true that ‘good leaders must first become good servants’, Penney has mastered the art of leadership …and he is having a lot of success and fun in that community role.