GBA Member Profile

Michael Thigpen
Chief Credit Officer
The Bank of Soperton
Soperton, GA
Group 1 rep., GBA Leadership 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 at a Hardware Store/Lumber Yard in Vidalia, GA, when I was in high school. I worked delivering building materials to job sites as well as loading materials in the lumber yard for contractors and customers. The business had a number of flatbed delivery trucks at the time, but had not upgraded to the delivery trucks with the piggyback forklifts. Therefore, our deliveries required offloading the entire materials delivery by hand (shingles, cinder blocks, sheetrock, lumber, etc). From that, I learned and still understand the meaning of having a strong work ethic and setting yourself apart from others.

Q:  What drew you to the banking/financial services industry?
A: I heard a banker speak about giving back to the community and the value of a being a true community banker in my freshman orientation class at Georgia Southern University. From then on, I knew I wanted to major in Finance and work in this industry. I never really saw myself doing anything else. I thoroughly enjoy meeting and getting to know people, understanding what their visions are and helping formulate a plan to get them where they want to go.

Q: When you think about the future of the banking industry, what makes you hopeful and what makes you concerned?
A: The banking industry has done a phenomenal job at adapting to the ever-changing consumer demand when it comes to delivery channels. Along those same lines, I think the challenge for the banking industry, particularly community banks, is to maintain and improve flexibility in delivery channels to the next generation. Adapting to these rapid changes to remain competitive with nontraditional banking channels will be key for our industry.
I’m excited about the future of this industry in our state. I believe we have great leadership in all of our banks and that a younger generation is beginning to make their mark. I think the opportunities for that generation will be plentiful.

Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the professional you are today, who would it be and why?
A: I certainly have my parents to thank for who I am today. They taught me the importance of treating people of all walks of life equally and with respect, as well as appreciating the value in the simple things of this life. Without a doubt, I’m filled with imperfections. However, I have been very blessed in life to strive to hold on to these principles and have found that it’s made me a more well-rounded person.

Q:  What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I am a die-hard fan of NHRA drag racing, love classic resto-mod trucks/cars and I watch at least one episode of The Andy Griffith Show every night.