Sushil Tuli’s narrative is a classic American success story, though he is modest and probably wouldn’t characterize it that way himself.
From a young age, Tuli knew he wanted to be a banker, but when he started out as a teller in 1978, he had no idea he would someday be running his own bank.
Tuli, now the president and CEO of Arlington-based Leader Bank, has held a myriad of roles during his banking career, including accountant, assistant controller, and investment officer.
In 1986, Tuli took that experience and opened Leader Mortgage Company, and for the first few years after his company’s inception, Tuli and his team served mainly immigrants.
“I came here from India in 1976, and my dream was to be a homeowner,” he begins. “I bought my first house in 1981. I was a banker, so it was not that difficult for me, but I still felt that people who are not in banking could benefit from my experience.”
Tuli grew his company and eventually began doing business with people from all walks of life.
In 2002, he took his next leap and opened Leader Bank with just one branch and $6.5 million in capital. Today, Leader Bank boasts eight branches throughout Middlesex County, more than $600 million in assets and more than $70 million in capital – all of that through organic growth.
But Tuli is not a boastful man. He simply loves community banking.
“I love my job. Every morning, I look forward to coming to work and doing my job. It’s exciting. Every day is different,” he said.
Beyond the banking community, Leader Bank has also given back to various local organizations and has promoted financial literacy throughout the community.
“I personally believe that the communities where you bring in your deposits, you want to help those communities grow,” Tuli added. “Bankers are in the best position to help local businesses grow and make the neighborhoods desirable for businesses and homeowners.”
Like any bank today, Leader Bank is facing an increasingly tough regulatory environment and ever tighter pressures on margwins, but Tuli takes those in stride.
“The spread definitely is a challenge, but we are actually not in bad shape. When I see my competitors, their interest rate spread is shrinking. Ours is lower than some of the competition, but it’s been stable,” he said.
Tuli also takes it upon himself to mentor younger bankers, clients and new business owners, explaining simply, “If I can help create another leader in the community, I’ve done a good job as a human being, as a banker, and as a community leader.”