Recently as I've assembled the team at Community Bank Consulting, Inc., I've been asked
a number of times to share my background. I realized my blog would be a great forum to
share such information.
Business has been a lifelong passion of mine. Growing up in the 1960's and 1970's I spent
countless hours setting up and running play businesses.
In 1983 my first management opportunity in "real business" presented itself... I was
promoted to shift manager as McDonald's. In 1984 I had an opportunity to serve as
business manager of a resident camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This proved
to be a fascinating experience, as the camp was a Girl Scout camp for inner-city girls from
1985 marked my first entrepreneurial experience in small business. A friend and I
established a professional cleaning and restoration company which is still in operation
today, more than twenty years later.
Real estate has always fascinated me. In the late 1980's I completed all the courses
required to become a licensed real estate broker. I sat for the exam and became a licensed
broker, operating a small independent brokerage company for a short period of time. My
training as a real estate broker has been instrumental in understanding key lending
functions of community financial institutions.
In 1990 I entered the world of community banking at FirstSouth Bank, Burlington, NC. My
responsibilities at FirstSouth were in deposit operations. In those days there were no local
area networks, Fedline was known as F.O.X. (Fed Online Exchange), and "automated"
cleaning house was a computer disk the size of a dinner plate that got posted if the courier
showed up that day. FirstSouth eventually sold to Centura Bank which today is RBC Bank
I am happy to say that it wasn't until I started working for community bank technology
companies that I discovered in the 1990's there were still banks on manual systems. Over
the years I have encountered quite a few banks that use what I'll call "double entry
accounting"... they do it once on the computer and once on the paper ledger card.
1992 took me to Crown National Bank in Charlotte, NC. In 1993 Lincoln Bank bought the
deposits of Crown National Bank. Lincoln Bank eventually became First Charter Bank, which
recently became Fifth Third Bank.
In 1993 I began working with banks through technology companies when I joined
Broadway & Seymour to work with the LIBERTY Banking System and AM Trust trust
management system. At Broadway & Seymour I worked in technical support, and training
and education. My work with the AM Trust product provided my first opportunity to work
with the largest banks in the U.S. The lesson? I am a COMMUNITY BANKER!
Jack Henry & Associates (JHA) acquired the LIBERTY Banking System in 1995. I joined JHA
in 1996 to continue work with LIBERTY and begin working with their CIF 20/20 core banking
product. My twelve years at JHA were the most valuable of my career. I literally worked
with more than one thousand community financial institutions (and a few non-banks),
personally visited hundreds of community financial institutions, and had the opportunity to
learn, teach, and consult in essentially all areas of community financial institutions touched
In 1996 while continuing work with JHA I founded a real estate company that acquired and
managed residential rental properties. At its peak my company owned and managed nearly
The real estate company provided a perfect opportunity to test technology services available
through community banks. My company was the first property management company in
our area to provide automatic rent payment using an Internet based cash management
system. My goal was to leverage technology to create a highly efficient and customer
friendly business. With occupancy rates consistently at 90% or better, we outperformed our
competition while maintaining lower costs and maintaining rents at or above market rates.
2004 marked the dawn of a new decade in my life. I recognized that while I loved the
opportunities to learn through my property management business that it had grown to a
size that I either needed to give up my work with banks or give up personally managing the
property management business. I choose to keep banking as my main focus because I
preferred working with a more geographically diverse client base, and I loved the
opportunity to work with many businesses rather than one business. Remember, business
has been a lifelong passion of mine. Leaning is another passion. I love using those
passions to help others create success!
In 2004 I also began personal work with such well known modern teachers as Jack Canfield,
co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and branded products, and New
York Times bestselling author John Assaraf, to learn how to turn my passion for business
and learning into what I now call "work that feels like play". John Assaraf actually
introduced me to that concept and phrase.
Jack Henry & Associates (JHA) experienced phenomenal growth in the late 1990's and early
2000's, reaching a client base of several thousand financial institutions. I saw the company
grow from a staff of around 500 located primarily in the eastern and Midwest United States
at the time I joined them, to a staff of thousands located from east coast to west coast. I
suspect JHA's next geographical growth will be international.
While there were many positive aspects of JHA's growth, for me personally it resulted in
fewer opportunities to learn. Jobs became more specialized and the organization became
Through my consulting work with JHA I recognized a significant need among community
financial institutions was to work with a business person that was also a banker that
understands technology. There was also a need to work with such a person or company that
had no allegiance to a specific brand or product. Another need was for someone with the
ability to talk technology with non-technical people and then act as liaison to "techies".
In 2008 I founded Community Bank Consulting, Inc. with the objective of filling those needs.
Along with a team of experienced professionals, my team and I help community financial
institutions choose best of breed technology products. We help our clients achieve highest
and best use from their current technology. We help clients create just the right mix of
human resource (people) and technology resource (machine). We help our clients take
information (data) and use it to create a more profitable business. We help our clients
transition ideas into actionable plans.
Now, some forty years after I began setting up and running play businesses, I'm helping
financial institutions create successful business doing work that feels like play! Thanks
again for that phrase John Assaraf!
My team and I love our work! Who wouldn't when you're doing work that feels like play?
How can we help you create success in a work environment that feels like play?