GBA Member Profile

Scott Swafford
Chief Operating Officer
United Bank, Barnesville
Director, Georgia Banking School
Vice-Chair, GBA Credit Committee

Q: You’ll have been a banker for 25 years next month. Will you share a little insight with us about how you got where you are in your career today?

My initial banking experience began with Great Western Consumer Finance Group in April of 1992. Five years to the date after that, I started as an AVP-Consumer Lender with United Bank in Griffin with a subsequent promotion to VP-Commercial Lender a few years later. In 2002, I was promoted to Senior Lender and relocated to the Barnesville Division. Again in 2004, I was promoted to Division President and relocated to Thomaston, where I remained until late 2010. In 2009, after acquiring our first loss share bank from the FDIC, I split my duties between Division President and Director of Special Assets. I moved into the Director of Special Assets role full time in 2011, where I remained until my next promotion to Chief Credit Officer, in February of 2013. In November of 2016, I was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. After reflecting on the various roles I have held in banking over the past 25 years, all of these roles have given me the knowledge, experience and perspective in many different aspects of banking, which aid in my role and responsibilities today. The promotions I have been granted over the years would not have been possible without the support and mentoring of countless experienced and well respected bankers. I have been very fortunate to work for an organization that believes heavily in investing in its employees and with promoting from within.
Q: What are some leadership lessons you learned early in life that you still use today?

I was exposed to leadership very early in my life as I participated in local recreation leagues and as a college athlete and much of what I learned back then in athletics, I often use today. A teamwork philosophy, whereby the team shares in successes and failures, is definitely something I use today, which has been engrained in my leadership style. I believe that for a leader to be successful he/she has to be willing to be part of the team, and practicing that throughout my career as an athlete has made it easy for me to adopt and follow as a banker. I try to approach each responsibility and challenge in a consistent and fair manner using this approach.
Q: What is the biggest challenge for you as a banker right now?

The biggest challenge for me as a banker at this point is balancing my time so all areas of the bank get adequate focus and attention from me. As I stated already, I like to operate under a team approach and personally put forth as much effort toward the goal of the team as I am expecting the other team members to put forth. 
Q: As a past graduate, what are some of the reasons you decided to recently return to GBA’s Georgia Banking School as a director?

Since graduating, I have been active in attending Georgia Banking School as either a supporter or as a faculty member, so becoming a director was an easy decision when asked to serve as one. Georgia Banking School has supported educating bankers for many years. Banks have continued to support the banking school by sending their employees to be trained each year and being a director and faculty member is one way that I can give back to both and show my appreciation.
Q: When you’re not on the job fulfilling United Bank or GBA duties, what do you like to do?

When I am not at work, I just enjoy spending time with my wife, Cheryth, two daughters, Alexis and Sarah, and being involved in my church. I have been blessed with so many wonderful moments and memories with each, that I couldn’t imagine spending my free time on much else.