President and CEO
The Commercial Bank, a division of Synovus
GBA Board Member Group 2
How did you get into banking as a career?
At an early age I worked at the Americus Country Club in various roles that ranged from caddy duties, working the kitchen as a short-order cook, golf cart attendant, etc…. Bankers were almost always happy and at the course on Wednesday afternoons, Friday afternoons and Saturdays. Armed with that impression I figured this had to be the job for me and began my career in the collection department of SB&T. The term “banker’s hours” has got to be the biggest bait and switch I have ever experienced.
What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
My first job was working for Muckalee Farms. The owner didn’t believe much in spraying his crops and felt it far more economical to have the labor de-weed his fields and/or de-tassel corn. I found out quickly I’m not tough enough to be a farmer. The best lesson I ever learned in banking came from a crumpled sheet of copy paper I found in my desk while working past due loans. It was penned in 1970 by Virgil Jones to Joe Beverly and titled Tried and True Credit Fundamentals. I laminated this document and have it on my desk today some 26 years later. Many things in banking have changed but these fundamentals still remain the same. My top 3 picks from the list of 12 are as follows:
What is the biggest challenge at your bank these days?
- Never finance a transaction 100%. The borrower must have equity or his or her own capital at risk.
- We should consider carefully what our competition could or would do but we must not let the competitive threat lead us into low quality loans.
- Extend credit only to borrowers with unquestioned integrity.
Meeting or exceeding client expectations in an ever changing environment is my biggest challenge. Customers want Ritz Carlton service at Wal-Mart prices. The effort to accomplish this on a thin margin is a difficult one.
How does your involvement in GBA help you and your bank?
Hands down GBA has been the best experience I have had in banking. The networking opportunities are tremendous and I’ve made lifelong friends. I recommend getting involved and giving back to an organization that so much deserves our respect and appreciation.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do most?
I’m an avid outdoorsman. Any opportunity to spend time with the family in the great outdoors trumps most all other interests.