GBA Member Profile

Wendi Helms
Vice President, Complaince and Fair Lending Officer
Bank of Monticello
2016 Georgia Banking School Graduate

Q: How long have you been in banking, and will you share a little insight with us about how you became a career banker?

This year marks my 20th year in banking. I guess I should say that I didn’t choose banking as a career but it kind of chose me. The banking industry has always been good to me. I have never passed up an opportunity to learn something or do something that was asked of me. My career just sort of happened naturally. I could not imagine doing anything else. I love banking.

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?

From my earliest banking days, I would have to give credit to two people. Mark Bikus and Gerry Bolen (Hall) were very involved in my career development. Mark was my boss and a very dear friend who supported me and gave me sound advice when needed. Gerry took me under her wing and taught me so much about the accounting and bookkeeping aspects of banking. She challenged me to learn new things and encouraged me every step of the way. Most recently, I would also have to give a shout out to Don Kelly, Steve Jordan and the rest of the management team and board of Bank of Monticello. They have always provided support in every way and empowered me to do whatever was required to get things done. Last but not least, my husband has always been my rock and my biggest cheerleader!

Q: As someone who oversees compliance at your bank, how did you personally benefit by participating in the Georgia Banking School instead of Compliance School? 

I chose to attend Georgia Banking School because I needed to learn more about the cause and effect of banking. I have always been involved with the operations side of things but not necessarily from a management side in regard to pricing, funds management, etc. The Georgia Banking School allowed me to get a better understanding of banking in general and prepared me to take on greater responsibilities within my own bank. I was able to put that information into action during the final year when operating the bank simulation. Most importantly, I now have a large network of banker friends to turn to for advice or help about any banking-related topic.

Q: What bank compliance challenge are you keeping your eye on most in 2017 and beyond?

HMDA, need I say anything else? The changes coming to HMDA are big and they will affect everyone from lenders to processors to back office team members.

Q: When you’re not on the job fulfilling Bank of Monticello or GBA duties, what do you like to do?

I love to spend time with my family. We have a 17-year-old daughter and a two-year-old boy that we adopted through foster care last year. We hope to continue fostering and add to our family if God sees fit for that to happen.