Jim Bedsole, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer
Chair, GBA Compliance Committee
GBA Compliance School Board
Q: How long have you been in banking, and will you share a little insight with us about how you became a career banker?
I’ve been in banking for just over 30 years. I didn’t start out wanting to be a career banker, but I did start out wanting to specialize in Internal Audit. It just happened that the first company to offer me an internal auditing job was Wachovia Bank in North Carolina. From a start in Internal Audit, I’ve migrated into broader risk management areas including Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management.
Q: What are some leadership lessons you learned early on that you still use today?
The best leaders are the ones willing to serve others. If you work hard to meet the needs of others around you, you’ll go pretty far. Don’t be afraid to let the credit go to someone else. Don’t be afraid to spend time on self-development – read voraciously, learn new skills early. Don’t ever burn your bridges. Banking in the Southeast is a very close community and there will always be a one-step connection to someone you’ve worked with or for in the past.
Q: The most misunderstood thing about banking or bankers is…
I’ll speak more directly to what’s misunderstood about bank Compliance officers, and that is that we don’t know how to have fun. I’ve worked very hard to overcome the stereotype of Compliance officers as lonely, introverted nerds who like to catch people making mistakes. I try to have a good sense of humor, be a team player and find ways to say “yes” instead of “no.”
Q: What are some of the reasons why your fellow bankers should attend the GBA Compliance Conference Sept. 14-16?
In a profession like compliance, networking is critical. We are all in the same boat trying to understand and follow complex rules and regulations, so it helps to have a network of peers you can reach out to for help in making difficult interpretations. This event is a great networking opportunity. We also have a top-notch lineup of expert speakers providing great information on topics of recent regulatory change. This event is a great way to catch up on changes you might have missed or what’s getting ready to come down the road next.
Q: When you’re not on the job at the bank or fulfilling your BankSouth or GBA duties, what do you like to do?
As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a pilot and an astronaut. However, poor eyesight kept me out of the military pilot ranks and I never really pursued flying after that until about 10 years ago when the circumstances came together and I got my private pilot license. I followed that with also getting an instrument rating. When we moved to Georgia two years ago, we wound up buying a house that sits at the side of a private grass-strip airport, with a hangar in the backyard and a Beech Musketeer airplane in the hangar. Much of my spare time I can be found either flying, thinking about flying or learning more about flying. I also am very active in our local church, Grace Fellowship, where I serve as an Elder, small group study leader, and am gearing up to start facilitating a class of Financial Peace University this fall.