GREENWOOD — Growing a bank in a weak economy is one thing, but doing so in a depressed economic area could make any bank president shudder.
Wayne Smith has taken on just such a job, and with gusto too. Smith, the new president of Trustmark National Bank in Greenwood, is excited about what lies ahead for the city.
“Trustmark Bank is committed to Greenwood, its customers and to helping Greenwood reach its fullest potential,” Smith said. “If Greenwood and its people do well, then the bank will do well.”
Smith has many years of banking experience. He started his career with Grenada Bank in Cleveland, then the Bank of Cleveland, and later transferred to the Bank of Ackerman. In 1979 Smith became president of the Ackerman branch, where he served until 1986 when he was transferred to Grenada in credit administration and credit training.
In 1987, one year after Grenada Bank changed its name to Sunburst Bank, Smith was promoted to senior vice president and director of training. He served in that capacity until 1994 when Union Planters acquired Sunburst. At that time he was appointed to serve as senior vice president and training officer for Union Planters.
But Smith left Union Planters in 1997 to serve as president of Merchants and Farmers Bank in Grenada. His presidency lasted two years. In 1999 he resigned and started his own consulting business called Strategic Development Services (SDS).
At SDS Smith trained and developed bank employees for community banks that primarily had less than $1 billion in assets. It was fun, Smith said, but he was on the road much of the time. He accepted the job as president of Trustmark Bank in Greenwood so he could get off the road and back to doing what he loved.
“Basically my agenda is to make sure that the community understands that Trustmark Bank is committed to this community,” Smith said. “We intend to do our part in helping this community with all its financial needs. We’ve been here over 100 years and we plan to be here for a long time to come.”
Smith acknowledged that Greenwood is one of the most economically challenged areas of the state and of the nation, but said it has a lot of potential.
“There are some bright spots here in spite of the economy in general and the local economy,” Smith said. “Probably one of the brightest spots is that Viking Range Corporation is located here. That’s definitely one of the bright spots along with the John Richard Collection of Home Furnishings. Also, Milwaukee Tools has just moved to Greenwood. And we have a very active chamber of commerce which is working hard to attract new businesses to the area.
“I really believe that Greenwood is on the verge of turning things around and I believe we have the potential for some really strong and solid growth in the Greenwood economy.”
Smith said growing the bank in a weak economy and in a depressed area will be a challenge, but one he believes can be accomplished “if we provide the highest possible level of customer service and the best types of financial products and services.”
“I’m encouraged about the prospects of the future and I believe that Mississippi and the Delta have the potential to grow and to prosper. I think that the people of Mississippi and in particular of Greenwood are committed to their communities and to their state,” Smith said.
“Trustmark Bank is fully committed as well and Trustmark Bank will be there to do its part in helping brighten the future for Mississippi and its people. I’m very glad to be a part of that.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at email@example.com or (601) 364-1042.