GBA Member Profile

Sam Warren
Vice President, Lender
Guardian Bank, Valdosta, GA
South Group Rep., Leadership GBA Board of Directors
Published June 2, 2023

Q: What led you to a career in banking?
A: My path into banking was very unconventional. I did not plan on becoming a banker while in college. In my last year of college at Valdosta State University, I started to look for long-term employment. One of my friend’s dads was a vice president, and his bank was looking for a junior banker. My friend thought I would be good at lending, so I went through the application process. I reached out to my cousin, who was a senior credit analyst at a local community bank, to advise me prior to my in-person interview. I thought I did well during the interview process but knew afterward that I did not fit the current prerequisites for that banking position. My cousin followed up with me after the interview to see how it went. During our conversation, he ended up asking me if I would come and work with him in the credit department. Long story short, what led me into banking is someone’s belief in me that I would be good at it and someone giving me an opportunity.

Q: What was the most useful piece of advice you received from a mentor (or in the early/formative years of your career)?
A: When I was a junior credit analyst, the most useful piece of advice I received was the five C’s of credit: Character, Capacity, Capital, Collateral and Conditions.

Q: Tell us about one experience you’ve had that exemplifies being a banker or your role at the bank.
A: A longtime customer contacted me late on a Friday afternoon. He purchased a vehicle for his daughter, and it was being shipped from Texas. While my customer was on vacation, the vehicle delivery guy, who was days early, contacted him and said he was an hour away to drop the vehicle off. The delivery guy stated someone would have to sign the invoice and pay the delivery fee. He asked if we could meet the delivery driver and also pay him on arrival. Of course we accommodated his request. That’s the kind of customer service community banks are able to deliver.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I worked in Yellowstone National Park the spring and summer of 2001. During that time, I got an awful barbed wire tattoo on my ankle in Bozeman, Montana.

Q: First tap/click of the day?
A: My fitness app, Wodify. I work out in the mornings at 5 a.m.

Q: Pet peeve?
A: Being called “buddy”

Q: Most used app?
A: Unfortunately Instagram – it is an endless pit!