President and CEO
American Pride Bank, Macon
GBA Vice Chairman
How did you get into banking as a career?
My dad was a banker and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I knew that I wanted to be a banker from an early age. Growing up, I always admired and respected my dad, seeing him help his customers and community prosper. I majored in finance at the University of Georgia, and then moved to Atlanta to begin my banking career.
What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
My first job was a Management Associate at National Bank of Georgia (NBG) in Atlanta, the former NBG, in the eighties. During our training program, I learned about retail and commercial banking, as well as operations, and decided that I wanted to focus on the commercial banking side. I spent my first 15 years with the regional/super-regional banks in Atlanta, and developed strong credit skills during that time. Ultimately, having strong credit skills has paid off throughout my last 15 years in community banking. As we all know, a good/or bad credit culture can make or break a bank quickly.
What is the biggest challenge at your bank these days?
One of the biggest challenges I see for my bank, and our industry, is that we do not have the level of credit training available as we did when I came up through banking. I have concerns that our future lenders and bank management will not have adequate credit training, and may have more of a sales mentality, without focus on proper credit underwriting and culture.
How does your involvement in GBA help you and your bank?
Being involved in GBA helps me and my bank through the many contacts that I have made in the industry, through events, conferences, and committees that I have served on. These contacts, and friendships, provide a way to learn and share best practices. I have been a member of my CEO peer group for over 10 years, and it has been an invaluable learning source for me.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do most?
When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, and hunting with friends and my children in South Georgia.