GBA Member Profile

Bert Hines
Group 2 Rep., Leadership GBA Executive Committee
Vice President of Lending
First National Bank
Bainbridge, GA

Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: Out of college, I was a recruiter of nurses and nursing assistants for a medical staffing company that had contracts with hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, home care companies, etc. Obviously it helped my people skills to get out in front of people in order to secure staff to take care of patients, but they were also very long work days, so it gave me that drive to get the job done and make the customer happy. I learned not to leave until I got it done.

Q: What drew you to a career in the banking industry, and what has kept you there?
A: I entered banking on the tail end of the recession. I graduated in college in 2002, and my degree is in risk management and insurance. I had already been working in the financial world in financial services insurance and investments, and in 2010 my company asked me to relocate. My wife and I had a young child at the time, so a client of mine asked if I had ever thought about a career in banking. He said he thought I would be good at it. “I’m looking for an assistant manager and you’ve managed people. We can work on the banking part,” he said. Once I got into banking, what has kept me here is that I love it. I like the opportunity to sit down with customers and help address a need that they have. My primary function is commercial loans, so I like talking to business owners and building relationships with them. The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. I think there was a plan that worked out.

Q: How has involvement with GBA affected your career?
A: Very positively! GBA has played an important role in my growth as a banker and as a leader. I joined the First National Bank of Decatur County a few years ago, and the bank is extremely involved with GBA. I’ve built relationships with bankers around the state, and many of them are not only colleagues in the industry but very good friends. Attending the Georgia Banking School was a big part of that. I asked my bank to send me to Banking School, and those three years were wonderful in terms of learning and getting to meet people from around the state. Those relationships are extremely important to me. The various conferences and trainings such as Leadership Conference do a lot to help us, and we certainly take advantage of it at First National.

Q: When you think of the future of the banking industry in Georgia, what makes you hopeful and concerned?
A: What makes me feel hopeful is I think things are going in the right direction in our economy and in my market as well. There is a lot of growth happening in this small town, and I enjoy these opportunities. I think that people still rely on having a banker in their community that they can sit down and talk with. A lot of the bigger banks are using more of a universal approach and technology involving less human interaction, but I think in my market there’s still a big need for a personal connection and I like that. What concerns me is having 2008 and the recession constantly in the back of my mind, so I want to be prudent about business choices. You don’t want to get too big, too fast.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I can think of a few things. First off, I like to think that I come across as a pretty laid-back, even-keel individual, but I help coach my son’s baseball team and, when I’m on the field, I’m a completely different person. I get loud, fired up and the other parents on the team think it’s hilarious. Related to this, when I watch football games, I cannot be sitting down. I’m a big Georgia fan, and whether it’s a Georgia game, our local high school playing or even watching a game at home, I will stand for the entire game. Our local high school ended up moving some of their cameras at a game because I wouldn’t sit down. I don’t know what comes over me. Lastly, a lot of people who didn’t know me back in my younger days are surprised that during college I used to have long hair down my shoulders.