Chairman, Independent Bankers Division, Tennessee Bankers Association
Executive Vice President, First Farmers and Commercial Bank, Pikeville, Tenn.
Terry Eastwood began his banking career in 1982. He currently serves as executive vice president of First Farmers and Commercial Bank, a $190 million asset-sized bank headquartered in Pikeville, Tenn., with branches in Dunlap and Crossville. Eastwood is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia School of Executive Development. Eastwood is currently serving as the chairman of the TBA Independent Division Board of Directors.
The Independent Bankers Division Board of Directors is responsible for designing the program for TBA’s Community Banking Conference, which was formerly branded as the Independent Bankers Convention. The focus of the conference, scheduled for October 27 & 28 in Nashville, is to provide tools and information necessary to preserve the strong future of independently owned community banks in Tennessee. The Community Banking Conference will be held directly prior to the Bank Directors Retreat, October 28 & 29, to optimize bank leaders’ time away from the office. The Independent Board of Directors additionally serves as the Board of Trustees for The Southeastern School of Banking, the premier two-year general banking school for bankers in Tennessee and the Mid-South.
First Farmers and Commercial Bank is headquartered in Pikeville, Tenn., which has a population around 1,600. What role does the TBA’s Independent Division play in preserving the community banking model so that a town that size can continue to be home to a banking headquarters?
The Independent Division helps keep small community bankers up-to-date on key issues so we can always be informed of topics that impact our business model. I have always enjoyed the opportunity to hear what others are doing in their organizations. Our Independent Division gives community bankers this opportunity. By keeping me informed in these areas, I am better equipped to serve my communities.
What is the greatest challenge that you anticipate for a community bank like yours in five or 10 years that is not a significant issue today?
I think many of the same issues we are faced with today, we will be facing in five years. Some of the challenges we will face are competing against credit unions, finding and keeping great people who want to be a part of our community bank model, and who will be our customer five, 10 years from now. Every time I see a small business that has sold to a large conglomerate, I realize I may have lost business. The large corporations are not going to use the services of a small community bank. I believe the move away from fossil fuels will impact the small businesses in the coming years. For instance, the small convenience store operator, the individual who operates a small farm, small equipment operator—these are my customers who will struggle with this type of transition.
In planning and preparing for the Bank Directors Retreat this fall, what would you say is the most important factor for a bank director to succeed in their role?
I think it is critical that directors stay up-to-date on current regulatory issues, the political landscape and strategic planning. Our Bank Directors Retreat helps directors with this information. We all know a better-informed director will enhance bank performance.
As a member of the Board of Trustees for the Southeastern School of Banking you spent some time with the students during their week of school in July. What do you think students who are early in their careers should be most excited about ahead of them?
I think they should be excited to be learning the many areas of banking. Building that foundation can open many opportunities for career growth. I advise them to stay involved in TBA and they will be rewarded with many great contacts for the future.