TBA Credit Committee Chairman
Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, hief Operating Officer and Area President, Mountain Commerce Bank
In his current role at Mountain Commerce Bank, Kevin Horne oversees the bank’s operations department, credit administration, loan review, credit and asset quality, retail operations, special assets, and other deposit and loan functions. A graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a business degree, Kevin has been recognized as a 40 Under 40 business leader in the Tri-Cities.
As the Credit Committee chairman, he has been hard at work with his fellow committee members preparing for one of TBA’s most anticipated events—Credit Conference. Horne spoke with The Tennessee Banker about his career, the banking industry, and Credit Conference, which takes place February 16 and 17, 2023.
What led you into the banking industry?
Upon graduating from University of Tennessee, I took a job in sales followed by a role with a consumer finance company. Our local market had some disruption in the banking sector which included a couple of new banks being formed. There was a shake-up in senior management along with lending staffs at more than one established bank, which created multiple opportunities for those looking to get into the world of banking. A couple of folks that I worked with at the consumer finance company moved over to the banking sector, and I was somewhat recruited. I guess you could say that disruption in the market is what led me into banking. Working in the banking sector was not something I had even considered, but it turned out to be a great opportunity.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your role at the bank?
The most rewarding part of my role(s) is also the most exhausting. Wearing multiple hats is not unique to anyone at a community bank but sometimes I think MCB takes it to a different level. Getting the opportunity to be the chief credit officer as well as the chief operating officer means I’m usually involved in all aspects of the bank. On the credit side, I really enjoy calling on customers with our relationship managers as well as coming up with unique credit solutions to serve our customer base. On the operations side, I’m fortunate to work with some outstanding individuals who also accept wearing multiple hats, and we have been successful due to their tenacity and dedication. Obviously, it takes a cohesive team to operate a community bank of our size with a 40% efficiency ratio, and I feel we have assembled one of the best teams that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
MCB has seen tremendous growth and is expanding across the state with the recent opening of the Brentwood office. As you look at the diverse and competitive credit markets the bank serves, what is the mantra your lenders most often hear from you to ensure long term success?
The most common thing they hear from me right now is “the rate is too low,” laughing. In all seriousness, we preach taking care of our customers and want to always offer loan solutions that benefit the customer as well as the bank. We take pride in offering responsive relationship banking. We work extremely hard in responding to our customers or potential customers with a quick response to their requests. For most community banks this may be the only true “competitive advantage” they have. There will always be a bank or credit union that may have a lower interest rate on a loan or a higher rate on a deposit account, but if the customer has to wait several days or even weeks to get approval for the request, that’s where MCB has flourished. Local folks in each of our markets making decisions for their customers is what has enabled us to continue to be successful. Thus, responsive relationship banking is constantly the mantra most heard from our entire team.
Among your hobbies, you enjoy to travel. What was your most memorable trip?
I’m 52 years old now and I feel like I should have a permanent bedroom in Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World. Having a wife who grew up going to Disney in the 70s and 80s, and then being blessed with two daughters, I have spent a lot of time on Disney property. We started going with our girls when my oldest was 5 years old, and have been going every 12 to 18 months since except we took a four year break when our youngest was born. But as soon as the youngest turned 4, we were right back on cycle. I’d like to blame my wife for this, but the truth is that some of the most enjoyable as well as exhausting trips we have taken are at Disney World. But the photos and memories of our girls when they were 4 or 5 years old watching their favorite princesses come up and hug them truly makes for a “magical” memory.
As chair of the Credit Committee, you oversee the Credit Conference, which over the years has become the most attended event. What would you say to encourage bankers to participate this year?
I’d like to say come so that you can be entertained by the monologue I’ve prepared, but Colin Barrett and Monique White would probably kill me if I went off script. In all seriousness, Credit Conference is a great opportunity to network and meet people in the banking industry from across the great state of Tennessee. From a credit perspective, and given the state of the economy and interest rate environment, this year’s Credit Conference will most definitely provide insight of potential risks as well as opportunities for not only the state of Tennessee but the nation as a whole. These risks as well as opportunities will have an impact on all of our organizations. It’s a must attend!