Originally published July 17, 2020 in the Triad Business Journal
Moderator: John, you’re the Regional Executive for Carter Bank & Trust and have been at Carter for 16 years. The Bank has really grown and changed over the past few years, which I’ll ask you about in a bit. First, as part of that growth, you brought in Seth Moore to lead the Greensboro Market, as well as help expand into other markets and industries.
John: Yes, thank you for the introduction. We’re excited to have Seth as a part of the team. His role is Senior Vice President of Emerging Markets and Greensboro Market Executive. Seth brings many years of experience as a successful Banker here in the Triad. He has worked in multiple areas of banking, from retail to commercial, and most recently helped raise capital to start a bank in Greensboro, before joining Carter Bank & Trust. Moderator: Seth, what brought you to Carter Bank & Trust?
Seth: Thanks for the kind words, John. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m big on community and people. My ultimate goal is to work with an organization that truly cares about its people and the communities it supports. Over the past few months, I’ve been fortunate to have several banks approach me about joining their team. What I realized the first time meeting the team at Carter Bank & Trust is that Carter is already everything I value both personally and professionally in a bank: honesty, integrity, true local decision making. That’s what’s important to me and, more importantly, it’s what’s important to Greensboro.
While I’ve only been here a few months, I’ve quickly discovered the tremendous value of local decision-making right here from our Midtown office. Several members of our Executive team are headquartered here, including our Chief Credit Officer, Chief Lending Officer, and our Chief Information Officer. In addition, our entire Treasury Management team is housed at Midtown. This has really increased the speed and ease of doing business for my clients. When I discuss a client, most everybody already knows of them so it speeds the process along.
I also appreciated that the Carter Executive team has a proven track record of taking care of their employees and their communities. Specifically, Carter Bank & Trust focuses on small to mid-sized businesses and is a true partner in their journey. I’ve seen that through their leadership, and with my clients in the short time I’ve been here.
Moderator: So you put all of that work into starting a successful bank locally. What made you decide to leave to come to Carter Bank & Trust?
Seth: When I work with a client, I want to work with them for a lifetime, not just for one project. I felt it was important to join a bank and team that is committed to doing business in the Triad, and is already treating the Triad as a top priority. I can’t tell you how important the local aspect of banking is to me, and it’s been incredible to be part of an organization that believes the same. I think this belief, combined with the products and services we’re able to offer our clients, really does set us apart from other banks. COVID-19 has tested all banks’ technology and customer service, because customers need to be able to bank easily, and safely, from home. From a technology standpoint, Carter Bank & Trust has all the features of a much larger bank, like enhanced cash management solutions, Purchase Cards, Zelle, etc. And from a deposit standpoint, we are one of the few remaining banks that offers lifetime free checking.
I also knew several people at the Bank who I’ve crossed paths with professionally over the years. It’s important to surround yourself not only with people of integrity but people who are experts in their field. The integrity, experience, and dedication to the communities we serve truly makes Carter Bank & Trust special.
Moderator: You have been very active in the Triad business community, especially in Greensboro. Tell us how you believe that can provide added value to the bank and its business customers.
Seth: Greensboro is home. This is where I started my banking career, and this is where I’ll finish my banking career. I always say Greensboro is the biggest small town I know! Everybody knows everybody, and a long time ago my family and I made the decision not just to live in Greensboro, but to be a part of the community. That means I’m personally invested in this town. My family eats
at the restaurants that bank with me, we get our prescriptions filled with local pharmacies, we take our dogs to a vet I’ve worked with for years, and when we’re looking for something to do, we look locally. I think living here for so long gives me an advantage because I know this market. When we help a new business get off the ground, it’s great for Greensboro because it gives families like mine another local choice. In order for Greensboro to continue to thrive, I do everything I can from a banking and personal standpoint to give back. So, to answer your question more directly, I’m an advocate for our community and the businesses and people within it. My clients know I will always take care of them and won’t let them down – they know where I live!
Moderator: In the past few weeks, we’ve seen how the bank has stuck to their mission throughout the whole Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) process. What were some of your take-aways from that experience?
Seth: You’re absolutely right. We were here for our existing clients, as well as those who weren’t clients before PPP, but are now. We were one of the few banks that made the decision from the start to help any business in the communities we serve, not just those who were existing clients. This shows the difference in how we treat and care for our communities. With that being the case, it really took an entire team effort to help these businesses. From IT creating portals to streamline the process; to our quality control team and leadership teams who not only planned and implemented the process, but also made sure each business that needed help, got help; to the entire bank team for executing the process and working as one cohesive unit. I’ve never seen or experienced such incredible teamwork, nearly one thousand employees united and pulling in the same direction.
Moderator: What about you, John? How has this crisis compared to some of the things you’ve faced with the bank in the past?
John: The COVID -19 impact has been quite different than past economic recessions. In past recessions, certain business segments were impacted and unemployment rose, while others saw little impact. COVID -19 hit nearly everyone, from hospitality
to retail, to manufacturing. It has been sad to see foodservice employees lose their job because their restaurant was forced to close. I don’t believe there was a single small business that was not affected in one way or another.
Moderator: We reached out to a business owner who wasn’t a client of the bank to share their experience with PPP. Davy Davidson, President and CEO of Engineered Plastics, Inc. Davy, how would you describe the PPP process from your experience?
Davy: When COVID-19 slammed the US economy in March, it hit small companies like mine especially hard. Several customers and industries we serve suddenly shut their doors. The PPP was a vital relief for us, but the application process in the initial round was incredibly competitive and we were not successful. In fact, we had a multi-decades long relationship with a major US bank that wouldn’t even submit a PPP loan application on our behalf. So, out of great frustration, I reached out to Seth Moore and Carter Bank & Trust and they successfully processed our PPP loan application in the second round. The attention that Seth and Carter Bank & Trust gave
to our PPP application was incredible. From initial information gathering, their timely submission of our application, and through the completion of all loan documents and account arrangements, Carter Bank delivered more than any client could reasonably expect. I know that Engineered Plastics is in the best possible banking hands with Seth Moore and Carter Bank & Trust. Their great work throughout the PPP experience has made them our preferred bank today.
Moderator: Thank you, Davy. We’ve heard from many businesses in the media who had the same issues with their banks as you did initially. I’m sure you’re glad you found Seth and Carter Bank & Trust. It sounds like you’re in great hands.
As mentioned previously, John you’ve been here for your entire career and have seen the transformation of the bank. What can you share about your time here, the bank itself, and the transformation over the past 2-3 years?
John: It seems unreal that it’s been 16 years. Some have flown by, while the 2007-2009 Great Recession felt like it lasted a decade. The Bank has transformed greatly since I first came on board. Carter Bank & Trust was established in 1974, and has a strong history of service to our communities. Our mantra is: “Proud of our past. Focused on our future.” Going forward, we are striving to be the preferred, lifetime financial partner for our customers and shareholders, and the employer of choice in the communities we are privileged to serve.
Carter Bank & Trust’s executive team [led by CEO, Litz Van Dyke] took this to heart and quickly identified some of our weaknesses, including our lack of technology, and certain consumer and commercial products. As an example, just a few years ago we didn’t have online banking or mobile banking, and now our online and mobile offerings rival the biggest banks in the country. It’s been amazing to witness this transformation. In addition to major technology and product improvements, the Bank has invested in bringing in experienced, talented leadership, such as long Triad-area banker Rich Spiker [Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer] who heads up our Commercial Banking Division.
As we’ve worked through what I like to call an “extreme home makeover” of Carter Bank and Trust, what I’m most pleased with is that we haven’t lost sight of who we are as a community bank. We’re still a community bank focused on meeting the needs of the local community. I’m a believer in the saying “good clients are good clients in both good and bad times,” and I’m proud of how we’ve responded and stood by our clients through the COVID-19 crisis. We truly care, and that’s a testament to our leadership and the entire Carter Bank & Trust team.