GBA Member Profile

Rhodes McLanahan
President and CEO
First American Bank & Trust, Athens
GBA Board of Directors, Group 10
GBA Community Bankers Committee, Group 10

Q:  What was your first job and what lessons did you learn that you still keep in mind today?

My first “paying” job was delivering The Washington Post at boarding school. I had to purchase the route from a graduating student the summer before school started, so I didn’t earn anything on my investment until three months later. My success was ultimately determined by my ability to sell subscriptions, consistently deliver the paper on time and my ability to collect from my subscribers on a monthly basis. I learned that being a salesperson was not easy, I had to work hard at being consistently reliable and not everyone wanted to pay me. I realized early on that I had to work hard to overcome those obstacles and be successful.

Q:  What’s your favorite part of any day on the job at the bank?

I really enjoy the positive interactions that our employees have with each other and our customers. 

Q:  What’s your quick pitch to young people who may be considering getting into banking as a career?

Pursuing a career in community banking allows you to have direct impact on the vitality of the community where you live. A community banker’s job description not only includes developing financial solutions to help your friends and neighbors to succeed financially, but also allows you be directly involved in the decisions that lead to your bank’s and the community’s success. There are a variety of opportunities within community banks that can lead to early responsibility and career progression.

Q: How does your involvement with GBA help you and your bank?

The GBA allows our bank to have a voice at the state capital and in Washington, D.C. With the ever-changing regulatory environment, that voice is constantly trying to protect our ability to effectively and efficiently serve our customers. Additionally, the GBA is our bank’s primary source of education throughout the year. Most importantly, the GBA provides our employees many networking opportunities to share ideas and solutions with fellow bankers throughout the state.

Q:  What are a couple of interesting things people may not know about you? 

When I graduated from college I was able to turn a two-week trip to Costa Rica into an unforgettable 12-month adventure that included teaching English, bartending and traveling coast-to-coast in one of the most beautiful countries in Central America.