KANSAS CITY ( TheStreet) -- J. Mariner Kemper is something of an enigma to the banking world, but his careful approach may exemplify what it takes to maintain profits over the long haul.
The 36-year-old chairman and CEO of UMB Financial (UMBF) seemed like a stick in the mud to the rest of the industry during subprime's halcyon days because of his risk-averse nature and focus on slow and steady growth.
This conservative business strategy, however, belies Mariner's creative flare and drive for success. When asked why he doesn't use his first name, he answers simply: "Because John's boring."
Mariner is the sixth in a line of Kempers involved in the top ranks of the company, starting with his great-great grandfather, William Thornton Kemper, who acquired a controlling stake in UMB's predecessor in 1913. William Thornton made the Kemper name a dominant force in the Midwest, having been a big investor in Commerce Bancshares (CBSH) 10 years prior, and David Kemper, Mariner's cousin, is president and CEO of that Kansas City competitor today. See timeline:
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