ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2015 - (Page 26)
BY BRIAN NIXON
PHOTOS BY STEVE BRACCI
t was a particularly gratifying moment for new
ABA Chairman Dan Blanton. The scene: A recent
business development meeting at Georgia Bank
& Trust, a $1.8 billion community bank based in
Augusta, Ga. One of the bank's senior commercial
lenders, reporting on the local economic environment,
noted that loan officers were going to have a difficult
time reaching their production goals for the year.
At that point, a relatively new director on the bank's
board asked a prudent question. What, the director
asked, prevents a loan officer from originating
lesser-quality loans to just meet the goals?
It was the reaction of the bank's staff that impressed
Blanton, who had to hold himself in reserve in responding
to the question. That's because of the strong culture
of business ethics at the bank, which comes from
the top and is succinctly expressed in Georgia Bank
& Trust's brand message: Doing the right thing.
So, when the director asked his question, there was a rush
of people with the answer. "Every staff member wanted
to explain the importance of the ethics of this bank and
the importance of doing the right thing," Blanton says.
"Everyone wanted to make sure that he understood how
we operate here. I just really kind of sat back and enjoyed
listening to our staff talk about the ethics of this bank."
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
To understand Blanton's-and his staff's-strong sense of
ethics, you need to look at the role models in his life. There
was his father, T.V. Blanton. His father-in-law and a Georgia
Bank & Trust founder Robert W. Pollard Sr. And local
banker and community leader Russell Blanchard, who, in
Blanton's words, "taught lessons without teaching lessons."
T.V. Blanton was in the wholesale warehouse business
in Augusta, representing the Havatampa Cigar Co. His
business provided retail products-tobacco, candy and
sundries-for retailers in the city and for country stores in
Georgia and across the Savannah River in South Carolina.
"He ran an entire wholesale operation on a 2
percent margin," says Dan Blanton in describing
T.V.'s operation. "He had to run a business really
proper and tight. He was an extremely good
operator and was very loyal to his community."
Community loyalty included supporting those city
and country stores that supported you. "Those are
the values he instilled in me," Blanton says.
R.W. Pollard, Dan Blanton's father-in-law, started his family's
lumber business in the 1940s. That business flourishes
today under the leadership of his children, with daughter
Patty-Dan's wife of 43 years-serving as CFO. The
business provides dimensional lumber to retailers, including
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2015
A Conversation With the Comptroller
Cover Story Doing the Right Thing
Big Data and Predictive Analytics: A Big Deal, Indeed
Stress Testing: Feeling the Pressure?
ABA Compliance Center Inbox
Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Tool Helps Combat Risk
Real Estate Lending
Banker Recommended Reading
From the States
Corporate Social Responsibility
Index of Advertisers
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2015