A Duty to Uplift the Community

People often ask me what my primary duty as a community banker is. To me, being part of a community bank is an immense responsibility and your actions have a direct impact on your friends, family, and neighbors. Because of this, I always had trouble formulating a succinct answer that fully explained my role as a banker, but recently, I stumbled upon the right words. Simply put, my primary duty is to uplift my community.  

A Resource to All  

Throughout my day as Chief Banking Officer, I handle a wide variety of tasks, including managing my team and optimizing business relationships, but my greatest joy is interacting with members of the community and helping them discover their true potential. Whether I’m assisting a nonprofit organization in finding more effective ways to accept donations or a startup in identifying growth opportunities, I love lending a helping hand to people who need my help. I see myself as a cheerleader of sorts for business owners, as well as charitable and faith-based organizations who are looking to improve our neighborhood one step at a time.  

Giving Back  

At Merchants and Marine Bank, we don’t stop at providing our valued clients with the expert guidance and tools they need to thrive. We take our commitment to bettering our community a step further, and make frequent donations to organizations and individuals in need. My team firmly believes that whatever our community gives us, we need to return the favor, and then some. Our bank’s success is thanks to our incredible supporters, many of whom I call close friends and family members, and it’s our duty to support them in any way we can. As they grow, we grow.  

Walk the Walk  

In addition to donating to charitable initiatives which we’re passionate about, my team and I also dedicate countless hours to volunteering. It’s one thing to contribute money but when you actually put your boots on the ground to help further a worthy cause, that’s when you discover the true value of community involvement and giving. During my time living in Mississippi and Louisiana, I’ve made incredible friends who I’ve grown to view as family members. The strength, determination, and unyielding kindness of the people in my community inspire me every day to do better, be better, and think bigger. When we join hands and commit to accomplishing the impossible, nothing can stand in our way.  

Inspiring the Next Generation of Bankers 

I love being a banker and I can’t imagine living my life in any other way. Now that I’ve found my passion, I’m excited to inspire others to pursue the same career path I did. Since we’re a college town, there are tons of young people around here trying to decide what they’d like to do with their lives. Each year, I sit down with dozens of students and explain to them the incredible benefits of building a career in banking. While there is a multitude, I like to circle our conversations back to my primary job duty, which is to uplift my community. When I see someone’s eyes light up upon hearing this, I know that I’ve got a future community banker sitting in front of me.  

Written by: Greg Hodges, Chief Banking Officer


Click here to listen to a story from Clayton Legear on how our bank branch in Moss Point, MS showed up and served a long-time customer of the bank: