NAME: William T. Taylor (Bill)
TITLE/COMPANY: President/Chief Executive Officer of Community Bank of the South
CHILDREN: Ryan, 25
YEARS IN BREVARD: 47
Why did you build and create Community Bank of the South?
I worked for Barnett Bank for many years before they were bought by Nation’s Bank. I experienced, firsthand, how larger banks, from out of the state, were moving in and acquiring other banks with no knowledge of the local business community. After seeing how nationwide banks worked with local businesses, I felt a need to create a community bank that could be more responsive to our local community.
On a typical day, what types of tasks and responsibilities do you tackle?
I tend to have a helping hand in all aspects within the bank, from customer service to lending. I often meet with clients to assist them in identifying their needs and helping them to achieve their goals, while striving to provide world-class customer service to all of our clients. I am responsible to the shareholders for their stock investment, the depositor for being prudent with what they deposit, and the employees and their families for their paychecks.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
No two days are ever the same. I especially relish the opportunity to interact with my clients and assist them in achieving their goals. It excites me and I enjoy the variety of meeting new clients. I get extreme satisfaction knowing that we aided in facilitating an advantageous arrangement for our clients. Also, being a part of the lending process and helping our borrowers to start their journey is extremely fulfilling. By listening to their specific needs, I am able to tailor a loan based on what is beneficial for them.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
As a small business, with three offices and 21 employees, our bank must adhere to all of the government regulations that all mega banks follow. The Dodd Frank Act, for example, spans to 2,300 pages. At times, this can prove to be challenging.
Why did you choose your profession?
When I was a young man, I worked in a grocery store unloading trucks at 4 a.m. every morning. Many early mornings, I would think about a position in the professional realm where I could help others, and of course, sleep in later! I worked hard and moved up the ladder of the banking profession. I started as a coin roller in a bank and I’ve been striving to accomplish more ever since. Now, I am fortunate to work “bankers’ hours,” half days, which typically run as 12-hour days.
What sets Community Bank of the South apart from others of its kind?
Our local decision-making helps to really distinguish us. Our board of directors is comprised of individuals who possess knowledge of, and base all decisions on, the local business market. The Community Bank of the South shareholders are also local and active within the community. Our employees are the best in providing world-class customer service, which is a major focus. Every telephone call is answered by an employee and voicemail has never been an option. We operate a courier service that will pick up deposits for the convenience of our clients. And most importantly, we have the flexibility to customize banking and lending needs that tailor to each individual client. Our corporate office is located on Merritt Island. Our management team has an excess of 25 years of banking experience and our employees have an average of 14 years banking experience.
How is Community Bank of the South able to relate to small businesses?
We are a small business with only 21 employees, and banking is our business. We understand the daily challenges as well as the everyday triumphs of running a business. We know what is involved in operating a successful business – payroll, insurance, workers compensation, etc. Times have not always been easy and we do our best to work with our clients because we can relate to what they experience, the good and the bad. We interact with a myriad of different businesses on a daily basis. With that collective experience, it helps us to relate to businesses, but more importantly, to aid them in accomplishing their dreams and hopes.
How do you see the banking industry evolving in the future?
I believe that people will continue to utilize new technology in the banking realm. However, as the use of technology takes on more of a major role, I would like to warn everyone to be aware of cyber security. This is one of the FDIC’s major concerns, especially in relation to the increase of fraudulent activities. As much as technology will assist in making banking aspects more convenient for clients, it will never replace the customer service and local decisions that a smiling individual can provide.
What do you see as the critical issues in the industry today?
The increase in federal regulations for small community banks is a critical issue. The regulatory burden that small banks are facing is very challenging. Not to mention the inequality of regulations among financial institutions, most specifically between small banks and credit unions. For example, credit unions do not pay taxes; why should a family of four pay more in taxes than a $300 million or billion dollar credit union?
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
You need to care about your customers, employees and the community in which you live and work in. “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”