Brandon — The world of sports training’s loss was banking’s gain when Ted C. Williams decided banking was the right career for him. The Natchez native always participated in sports and served as student trainer for the football team during his days at Mississippi State University (MSU). The need to have free afternoons to be on the practice field with the team and a series of business classes pointed the way to banking, a choice he does not regret.
“I enjoy it. It’s rewarding knowing I’m helping people accomplish their goals,” he says. “Every day is a new challenge. I like serving people and knowing what’s going on in the community.”
Williams, 41, is senior vice president of commercial lending for the Rankin County Division of Trustmark National Bank. He will reach his 18 years of service with Trustmark, his only employer, in July. He also serves as president of Mississippi Young Bankers (MYB), a section of the Mississippi Bankers Association, a position he relinquishes at the group’s annual conference in March. The MYB serves as the educational arm of the statewide association, conducting programs for students around the state on topics such as budgeting, saving and more.
The president says it was a good year for MYB and one full of challenges. “I’m really pleased with the successful year MYB has had,” he said. “We won the Perspective Education Program Award from the American Bankers Association Education Foundation two years in a row and that’s unheard of. It’s the highest award possible for education.”
Unlike other state banking groups that have hired staffs to conduct educational programs, the MYB is made up of volunteers who network the program through bankers all over the state. Volunteers take time off to speak to school groups, and the Mississippi group won the award for making the most contacts and getting the word out about responsible financial habits.
However, Hurricane Katrina made an impact on MYB as many Coast schools normally involved in the educational programs were unable to participate. “This year our numbers will be drastically down,” Williams said. “Also, we had to scramble to relocate our leadership conference and annual convention.”
Still, Williams says serving as president has been a great experience, one he feels led to a lot of new relationships and enhanced his career. At the group’s conference next month, he will hand the reins over to John Baxter of Hancock Bank in Gulfport.
A graduate of Mississippi State University and the Mississippi School of Banking, Williams has been in MYB leadership positions for several years, serving as an area representative and at-large member, as treasurer and as vice president.
As the number two man of Trustmark’s Rankin County Division, Williams stays focused on the ever-changing market. He says the division is the bank’s largest, most profitable division in the state. “We’re in such a vital, growing area. Rankin County has a lot of growth that Madison County was having,” he said. “We have the most market share in Rankin County, but there is so much competition nipping at our heels. We must stay focused and ahead of the game.”
He says there are a lot of new banks coming to the county as smaller markets dry up. Less than 10 years ago, there were half as many banks as there are now. But the change and challenge keep him going.
“We must adapt,” he said. “The decision to choose a bank is often based on the people at a bank. It’s truly a job of service. If you’re in banking, you’re in a service industry. I keep a positive outlook. I’m also a spiritual person and rely on God to lead me. I’ve been placed here for a purpose, and I want to be the best servant I can be.”
Williams is responsible for the whole loan portfolio for the Rankin County Division, making sure all is managed well. He also has his own portfolio and makes loans, growing the business that he has. “Sometimes it’s hard to get to all of it, but I like the vitality and activities,” he said. “I have no regrets about choosing banking. I wake up every day with a new chance.”
The world of sports has not been completely abandoned either. “I get my fill of sports,” Williams said. “I don’t miss any MSU games. My sons are active in sports and I’ve coached them some. We have a lot going on with sports.”
Colby, 11, plays select baseball along with football and basketball, and Trevor, seven, plays city league sports. Williams’ wife Lori rounds out the family.
In the community, Williams is a past president and current board member of the American Heart Association’s Rankin County Chapter, past board member of the Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Rankin Civitan Club and Crossgates United Methodist Church.
“I’m happy here and happy with what I’m doing,” he affirms. “I’ve put down roots here and don’t expect to leave.”
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.