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Leadership

How Old Missouri Bank Hit the Ground Running

Jeff Houghton catches up with Mark Harrington, co-founder of Old Missouri Bank, to talk about how OMB was able to hit the ground running.

By Jeff Houghton

May 2022

Two men sitting at bar
Photo by Leah StiefermannMark Harrington sat down with Jeff Houghton at La Habana Vieja to talk about creating and sustaining a business. Purchase Photo

Mark Harrington co-founded Old Missouri Bank in 1999. Creating and sustaining a successful bank is no simple task, so we sat for drinks at La Habana Vieja to hear Harrington’s advice on entrepreneurship, managing a team and leadership.

“If you’re the Kansas City Chiefs and your glaring weakness is the offensive line, but the best player you can draft is a defensive back, you better take him. We hire non-bankers, and we could never do that in the past because it was taboo. I hire people with the skill set to hit the ground running.”

“Within reason, you’ve got to go for it now. If I had known what starting a bank was going to be like, I might never have done it, but it’s a good thing I didn’t know.” 

“Everyone wants to be in a really exciting business, whether it’s show business, or retail, but usually, the more boring the business is the higher your profit margins will be.”

“Read a lot. I like The Wall Street Journal. I read business books, books about history, human behavior, behavioral economics, economics, but I drop novels in too, because sometimes you can get a lot of insight from a novel.” 

“If you can make yourself optimistic, you’re going to come across better, you’re going to plan better, you’re going to dream bigger.”

“Whatever your business is, you need different perspectives. We watch to make sure we’re not getting group think going, whether that is in our executive group, or our board. You’ve just got to be conscious that that is a thing.” 

“By adding people and letting go of some of my day-to-day stuff, things have gotten better and better all the time—including my life.” 

“You have to get out and meet some totally different people. I’ve gone to several non-bank conferences here in the last couple of years, which has been helpful because you can get rigid in your thinking.”