President, Englewood Bank & Trust
While not a card-carrying millennial, being a bank president under 40 puts M.W. “Larry” McLaren in a good spot. He’s at the forefront of a big challenge in his industry: how lenders will adapt to technological savvy customers.
That aspect of banking has been a focus area for McLaren in the past year or so, going back to early 2014 when he was named president of Englewood Bank & Trust. The bank, with $227.4 million in assets through June 30, had a record year for profits in 2014, and McLaren says 2015 will be another solid year.
On technology, such as mobile banking and remote check capture, McLaren takes a big-picture view. He goes to trade shows and industry conferences to see what’s happening on a national scale. And he uses technology products from other banks to see what’s good, and what’s not-yet-there. His overall goal is to find the best products out there for Englewood Bank to begin using.
A founding member of the Venice Area Young Professionals in 2006, McLaren studied finance at the University of South Florida. He then went into banking, following his mom, who worked for Northern Trust. “I always liked the banking side of finance,” McLaren says. “It appealed to me more.”
— Mark Gordon
Name: M.W. “Larry” McLaren IV
City of residence: Venice, FL
Twitter handle: None
Employer: Englewood Bank & Trust
Years on the Gulf Coast: All of them
Marital status/children: Single, three children. Two sons, Korban, 11 and Truman, 3, and one daughter, Harper, nine.
Alma mater: The Stonier Graduate School of Banking, University of South Florida and Venice High School
Best place to network: 5:30 a.m. at the YMCA when working out and Venice Area Chamber of Commerce events.
Coolest business experience: I was very pleased to get the opportunity to bid on the financing for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s recent renovations to their headquarters in Venice. They are a great organization with a high-powered board, generous donors, and a track record of community leadership and transformation. They put the financing out to bid to several over larger banks, and I felt like the underdog of the group. I was thrilled to learn that we were selected to partner on the transformation of their building.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Learning how to tell the story. In business you have to be a good listener and to be able to effectively communicate your clients story in order to best serve them.
One website that makes your job easier: The Chive, not for anything productive, but it is great as a five minute de-stressor.
One community group you’re most involved with: Loveland Center, they help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest. I recently jointed their board of directors. They have a truly innovative project that is coming out of the ground at their campus in Venice right now; a housing project that is designed for adults with developmental disabilities.
Favorite off-hours activity: Warrior Dash (obstacle mud run). It is my favorite day of the year. I get to hang out and have fun with my friends in a setting that is all-consuming. We dress up like wrestlers or rock stars and have way too much fun for a day, leaving all of our responsibilities behind.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Ira Glass from “This American Life” because he is an excellent interviewer and even he would be able to make my life sound interesting. I imagine I would feel like a million bucks after having dinner with Ira. Jeremy Clarkson because he’s intelligent and funny and he’s the only guy that can punch an employee in the face and land a new job at ten times the pay.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Tech entrepreneur. I have been doing a fair amount of research in technology in order to bring innovations to my bank. I’ve come to admire the mindset of the tech entrepreneur because they don’t let anything stand in their way. They are stubborn like that, if they dream of a better way to do something, they are determined to make it happen. Sometimes creating entirely new ways to do business.
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: My friends and I like to camp on Snake Island. None of us have a seaworthy boat. Therefore the boat that we do use is overloaded with guys and gear and typically sinks at some point, so it’s pretty adventurous because it’s not unusual to have to dive out of the boat with our precious gear that we don’t want to get wet (smart phones) and not drown. Come to think of it, it’s about time for another camping trip. That or swimming with alligators in the Myakka River.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: I don’t own a bucket list, I am attempting to live a life that is more in the present moment, and a bucket list requires a fair amount of planning, therefore living for the future is required, which is counterproductive to living in the present moment.
What new skill would you like to learn: Kitesurfing, I’ve admired people that can kitesurf for years. A few months ago I purchased a kite and rigging, unknowingly right before the winds died down for the season.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Jason Statham, it would need to be an action hero to make it more interesting.
If I had a magic wand I’d: be the most awesome guy on the planet.