GBA Staff Profile

Steve Bridges
GBA Government Relations Consultant
Former Commissioner, Georgia Dept. of Banking and Finance
Atlanta, GA

Q: Can you share a little bit of history with us about how your career in government relations began and developed?
A: The knowledge and experience I gained while serving as the Deputy Commissioner and later as Commissioner at the Department of Banking and Finance (DBF) provided the foundation for my career in Government Relations. All of my lobbying experience has been exclusively on behalf of the Georgia Banking Industry. Upon retiring from the DBF I served as the CEO and chief lobbyist for the Georgia Community Bankers Association at both the state and federal levels, before later coming to work with the Georgia Bankers Association having the opportunity to work with the GBA Government Relations Team at the state legislature.

Q:  What is one leadership lesson you have learned that you still think about today?
A: Longtime Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Finance Jack Dunn taught me that at least one key to successful leadership is good communication both up and down the line. He had a firm belief that “no one likes surprises.” So, even if it is bad news you have to deliver, either to the boss or to a subordinate employee, it is best to clearly communicate the facts. Clear, honest communication is equally important in business and professional relationships.

Q: Who gets the most credit for driving you to succeed and grow as an individual? From the beginning until now; who has made the biggest impact?
A: I am thankful my parents instilled in me a core set of values giving me a set of principles that have guided all my life endeavors. My father also taught me that self-motivation is a big part of the ability to succeed in anything. In addition, longtime DBF Commissioner Jack Dunn was a great mentor to me and deserves much of the credit for my professional growth and success over the years.

Q: How important is it for bankers in Georgia to remain actively engaged with their lawmakers to make sure we keep a strong voice in the state as well as in Washington, D.C.?
A: Lawmakers may listen to lobbyists hired by the banking industry, but it is always clear that what is really important to them is what their local bankers think about an issue. Therefore, I think it is extremely important for bankers to get to know and develop relationships with their elected officials at the state and federal levels, in order to facilitate communication with them when important legislative issues arise.

Q:  When you’re not working on GBA government relations duties, other civic or business community obligations, what do you like to do?
A: My wife and I enjoy traveling and spending time at our mountain home on Lookout Mountain. I also enjoy spending time with family including my three grandchildren. I love attending their ballgames and other activities.