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How any business leader can create an atmosphere of competitivenessfor exceptional growth

When Ray Davis took over the local 40-person South Umpqua Bankin 1994, many people in the industry poked fun at his insistencethat employees answer the phone with a cheery "World's GreatestBank." Eleven years, $7 billion in assets, and 128 branches (or "bank stores" in Umpqua lingo) later, the moniker seems quite apt.Other banks scratched their heads when Davis sent his tellers toRitz-Carlton to learn customer service and were intrigued when hehired a cutting-edge design firm to completely re-think retaillayout. Now, with a top design award under their belt, a namechange (there never was a North Umpqua bank), and acompletely new definition of the banking business, Umpqua hasbecome the darling of the entrepreneurial press and a growthpowerhouse. The New York Times calls Umpqua "Starbucks withtellers."

Ray Davis (Portland, OR), named by U.S. Banker as one of the 25most influential people in the financial industry in 2005, isPresident and CEO of Umpqua Holdings Corporation. Alan Shrader(Moraga, CA) is an experienced writer and editor of businessbooks.

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