In Georgia, ready, responsive and respectful governance for long-term impact

By Harold Reynolds

Lake Oconee, Ga.
ROA in 2014: 2.11 percent
ROE in 2014: 19.73 percent
Assets: $380 million
Retail offices: Five
Employees: 85
Founded: 1946

BankSouth is a family-owned community bank that has not only stood the test of time but has continued to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our customers and communities. We prioritize relationships and couple this with quality products, cutting-edge technology and services and, most importantly, superior customer service.

There’s not much that a big bank can offer a customer that we are not already doing; in fact, we are known for finding creative solutions to fit our customers’ needs. Our approach to banking is what sets us apart: We are a family business that happens to be a bank; we are entrepreneurs at heart; and this drives us to focus on processes, measurable deliverables and maintaining a willingness to adjust to changing environments, opportunities and markets.

Decisions and strategic initiatives for the bank are governed with sustainability and the long-term impact on our customers, communities and employees in mind. Today, BankSouth Mortgage is the fourth-largest purchase mortgage and third-largest construction mortgage provider in Georgia. Unlike many loss-share experiences, BankSouth stuck to its principles and in our third year of ownership was named the 2014 “Business of the Year” by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Designing and fine-tuning processes within all channels of BankSouth is one of our main priorities. In 2013, we implemented a Six Sigma methodology as a means of measuring the quality of our processes in order to eliminate defects and perfect our practices. Not only have these modifications increased efficiencies and revenue, they’ve greatly improved our customers’ experiences. Through implementing this methodology, we’ve been able to accurately measure our performance, make necessary changes and, as a result, have more time and resources to serve our customers.

At BankSouth, our strategic plan constantly guides our initiatives. We consistently adhere to the implementation of this multiyear strategy of what we refer to as “conservatively aggressive.” We’ve avoided many industry pitfalls by taking a slow and steady approach; however, we also take advantage of opportunities that leverage our strength. Our strategic initiatives allow BankSouth to remain true to our core values and goals while also providing a foundation for adapting to changes within the industry.

While many pundits declare that community banking demise is imminent—because of competition from large national banks or the constant increase of regulatory burden—we recognize these challenges and are eager to face them head on. At BankSouth, we perceive the changing environments as an opportunity to show our strength and display, simply, that we do things right. The most important thing to our company will always be our customers. Our core values are to be ready, responsive and respectful, and we will continue to draw on these principles to serve our customers and communities.

Harold Reynolds ( is the CEO and chairman of BankSouth in Lake Oconee, Ga. He has worked for BankSouth for 30 years.