Monty G. Watson
GBA 2018-2019 Board of Directors, Group 9 Rep.
Chairman and CEO
The Piedmont Bank
Q: What inspired you to get involved and stay connected with GBA?
A: I began my banking career around the time Joe Brannen joined the GBA. I was a correspondent banker with First Atlanta and in that position, I had the privilege of attending multiple GBA group meetings all around Georgia each fall. As we all know, Joe is so likable, and he made me feel welcome to the banking industry from the earliest stages of my career. Thank you, Joe!
Q: What influence did your parents have on you in becoming the person you are today?
A: I would say that my dad instilled in me the idea that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to accomplish. The other significant influence in my early life was Coburn Kelly, director of the Athens YMCA. He shared the following, which has always stayed with me: “If a task is once begun, never leave it ‘til it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all!”
Q: What has been the most memorable experience you’ve had in your banking career so far?
A: As a young banker in training at First Atlanta, while serving a couple of months in the Bond Department with Andy Beard, one of my daily tasks was to report news of any prime rate increases that came across the wire service to the chairman’s office. I specifically recall the day when the New York banks all began increasing their prime rate to 21%!
Q: When you think of the future of the banking industry in Georgia, what makes you concerned and what makes you hopeful?
A: I am concerned about where the next generation of community bankers are going to come from. Early in my career the “big Atlanta banks” hired dozens of college students each year and put them through 12 to 18 months of training. I don’t see that happening any more. What makes me hopeful is the young people that I know in our bank and in other banks around the state. They are very sharp, and technology is second nature for them. They are used to a rapidly changing world, so I have confidence they will transform our industry to continue to meet the banking needs of our communities.
Q: What would you say is the philosophy that drives you, whether as a banker or in life in general?
A: Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be thankful for all your blessings. Look for ways to serve those around you wherever you are.