As part of our 75th Anniversary celebration, we sat down with some of our executives to get their thoughts about Bank Independent’s legacy of making a positive difference and what they are excited about for the next 75 years of our company’s future. This Q&A has been transcribed from that interview.
Q: Introduce yourself and tell us what you do here at Bank Independent. Not specifically what your title is but what you do.
A: I'm Macke Mauldin, and I started full-time in September of 1988 as the business development officer for the bank. My job then was to help grow the bank, and right now, it's still kind of the same thing I do, not so much on the loan side, but in the communities we serve and to help maintain the culture of the organization. Those are really the two primary goals I have. My job is also people: our team members, our customers, our communities, and our shareholders. So, I help manage those responsibilities.
Q: Share one of your favorite things about working at the bank and why Bank Independent is such a special place to work?
A: Bank Independent is a special place, and what really makes my heart warm is when I see issues or problems inside the bank or in the community, and our team rallies to make it better for everyone and to make a positive difference for everyone in the community. The most recent example of that was the PPP loans that we did. You know, we jumped in that early on, and we didn't know all the facts about the SBA program. But, we decided that's what we were going to do for the community. The team got together during COVID and really did an outstanding job all the way through the process, and we helped a lot of small businesses across north Alabama survive.
Q: Share a favorite memory about working at the bank and one of the leaders of the bank that made a positive impact on you professionally and personally?
A: In the 34 years I've been with the bank, there have been a lot of very memorable experiences, and some are really spectacular. Of course, I would have to say that my father was probably the biggest influence on me. He was very nurturing and really gave us, his children, a lot of responsibility within the organization early, so I'd say he was probably the biggest influence on me and how I do business today. He was such a gentleman, and he was such a positive influence on a lot of people everywhere. Probably the most exciting experience that I had was when we decided to buy all of the Colonial branches west of I-65, and we doubled our size overnight. We went from a $350 million to $700 million bank, and it provided us so many opportunities to grow as an organization. We went from being a reactive organization to being a proactive organization, and we're able to do more for the communities that we serve than we ever had before. Since that time in 2005, we've grown from $700 million to $2.3 billion and serving seven counties across north Alabama, and I have to say that event transformed this organization into what it is today.
Q: What is the history of the architecture of the Bank Independent buildings?
A: Often people ask me, why do our bank buildings look the way they do? And, you know, it's so obvious to me why that is, but the story is when my parents got married in 1949, they went to Williamsburg, Virginia, on their honeymoon and they toured Williamsburg. It wasn’t like it is today. It was like three or four buildings, and my father and mother became very enamored with Williamsburg colonial architecture, and they decided that if they were ever going to expand the bank, they were going to make it look like those buildings.
Q: What do see in the next 75 years for Bank Independent?
A: Well, I often say that there's never been a better time to be a Bank Independent banker, and I believe that more today than the first day I said it. We're a closely held organization, and we now have two fourth-generation family members working in the organization and the third interning with us while he is finishing his MBA. The future of the bank is strong. We're solid, and the best part of what we have is the leadership and the commitment from everyone on our team to make a positive difference in people's lives, not just each other, but in the community. As our customers come to the bank or we go around the community, we all want to make a positive difference, and I believe - I know - that is going to transform the communities that we're in. As we expand to new markets, we're going to take that same culture that has been so successful in the Shoals area. We've done it in Decatur, Hartselle, Franklin County, and Limestone County, and we're now doing it in Madison County. We're here for the long haul, and we're all committed to making a positive difference in the communities we serve.