J. Daniel Speight
Chief Executive Officer
Planters First Bancorp | PFB
Group 3 Rep., GBA Board of Directors
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job was in my family’s business, Unadilla Wholesale Company in Unadilla, Ga. I was taught the value of trust, respect and how one balances family and business. I learned the value of taking care of the customer and building relationships to the extent that the customer should be embarrassed to do business with anyone else. Another valuable lesson learned that helped me in my banking career: do business with friends (see relationships above) but make your friends pay you.
Q: What drew you to banking, and what has kept you there?
A: My family was involved in Citizens Bank (Vienna, GA) as directors and stockholders from the 1930’s. I was practicing law at the time and was presented with the opportunity to come and work with the bank (and my grandfather told me to come home!). One of the first people I talked to about coming back to the bank was Sam Way. He told me the same thing, to go home and get involved in the bank. Life is interesting as now I have the opportunity at Planters First Bank to work with Mr. Sam. I always said that as an attorney, I basically dealt with someone’s issues or problems and as a banker, for the most part, I had the opportunity to help my customers and co-workers succeed. Being able to be a part of those successes is what has made banking fun.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your leadership on the GBA Board of Directors?
A: To help banks and bankers continue to receive service, products, support and advice from GBA. That has been my experience with GBA for nearly 40 years.
Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the banker or person you are today, who would it be and why?
A: First and foremost, my father, Joe Speight. He taught me business and family values almost every day. Also, my grandfather and uncle were and always will be my heroes. I am fortunate enough to still be able to talk with my 98-year-old uncle and he still gives me encouragement. The best part of today is that I am Papa to Isabella, Amory, Wilson and Libbie.
Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
I worked for Joe Brannen in 1976 in Senator Nunn’s office in Washington.