UMB was hardly floundering when Mr. Kemper succeeded his brother as the CEO, but it was not a star performer, either. Today it is widely viewed by analysts and investors as one of the country's best-run banking companies, and much of the credit can go to Mr. Kemper.
His company always been known for commercial banking, but Mr. Kemper has helped make it a better retail bank by improving its branch network and retraining its lenders to be better deposit gatherers.
The improvement in UMB's performance has been especially evident this year. Most banking companies have been reporting sharp earnings declines, but UMB's profits for the first nine months of the year climbed 32% from a year earlier, to $77.8 million.