Philip G. Williams
President and CEO
The Claxton Bank, Claxton
GBA Board of Directors, Group 1
How did you get into banking as a career?
My dad was a bank president when I was a child, but I graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1994 with majors in English and French having targeted Law School as a next step. Honestly, I had my heart set on getting married and needed a job for that. Mr. Eddie Tyson at Darby Bank & Trust Co in Vidalia hired me as a trainee and the rest is history. I have never not loved being a banker.
What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
My family was in the restaurant business when I was a teenager. I learned about hard work and that business ownership is not so glamorous from the inside. (I also learned how to make a mean Club Sandwich!) Perhaps my greatest take-away was that the most valuable aspect of any business is people! I saw my dad make decisions based on our family, our customers and our employees and their inherent value. It paid then and there and it is at the heart of community banking. At TCB we call it the "TCB Value Circle".
What is the biggest challenge at your bank these days?
I would say the challenge is staying focused as a company on real results. Our culture is full of fads and gimmicks all relating to speed and ease for individuals. Many of our products help customers do their banking easier and faster. But what it takes to succeed hasn't changed and it is more and more difficult to focus on consistent team accomplishment and growing relationships. It's simple , but it's not easy. We are focusing as a team this year to "work hard and be nice". Neither of those are as culturally valued as they should be.
How does your involvement in GBA help you and your bank?
If you want to be a smart person, hang out with smart people. For twenty years, I have had access to bankers, who are all smarter than I am, through GBA schools and events. Our bankers come home with fresh ideas and inspired to do and be more when they spend time with other GBA bankers.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do most?
I love my family and being with them. God has blessed me with the best He ever made. Second would be making music. I play a little guitar and sing some. It's been a part of me for all of my 44 years.