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Bank executive Tony Brevard talks finance, leadership and technology

Brevard 4 - CopyTony Brevard
Vice President, SBA Business Development Officer
Hamilton State Bank

Please describe your role.
My role is SBA business development for Hamilton State Bank, a $1.7 Billion, 27-branch community bank. The goal is to make Hamilton the premiere SBA source for the Georgia market. My focus is on brand awareness, speed to close and customer satisfaction.

What is the mission of your organization?
Our organization’s core values are based on several keys to include: integrity, teamwork, inclusion, fairness and entrepreneurship. We want people to bank with confidence.

How do you approach business challenges?
I don’t see challenges. I see opportunities. Our SBA division is always trying to find a better way to serve – that could be through doing the traditional products (i.e., business acquisition or real estate purchases) cleaner and faster, or it could be embracing new products (i.e., working capital “CAPLines” with 10 year terms instead of annual renewals). When a prospect has a need, we try to find creative ways to get them what they need and close it in 30 to 45 days.

How do you evaluate talent you are hiring and what are the skills that you are looking for in this marketplace?
We look for team members who are fearless. You have to have a hunger for going out into the market and building a brand where your name may have never been heard before. The ability to keep going when there is a real possibility of rejection has to be a cornerstone of your belief system to excel in business development. If you have that ability to build a solid client and referral base as a result, you have a gift for analyzing corporate finances, and you know how to think outside of the box when it comes to structuring a financial package, this can be a wonderful and lucrative field.

What are the top three benefits to being a member of your organization?
• Career advancement opportunities
• Independence
• The ability to build a solid personal financial statement

How do you utilize technology to give yourself business advantages?
We are very efficient worth lead tracking systems and drip marketing solutions. Everything is tied to our iPhones, so you don’t have to scramble back into the office to check on a lead before acting on it. This makes us seem like a much larger organization than we actually are, and the efficient use of time allows our business developers to generate much more revenue for the bank than they would if they were stuck in an antiquated system.

What technological advances have you used to communicate with your membership?
In our role in the SBA business development division, that isn’t as much of a factor. As a bank; however, Hamilton State Bank is always finding ways to communicate with its client base (whether it be online apps via iPhone or Android, or upgrades to our home page).

What are the two key factors for business successes?
For SBA, the two most important things for us are a solid business plan and great cash flow. We don’t place as much importance on collateral as we do the actual cash that makes the business operate efficiently and repay our debt.

Name your three favorite business books for insight and inspiration.
The Bible
Corner Office Rules: The 10 Realities of Executive Life
Who Moved My Cheese

If you were giving a speech to 500 workers at a retraining seminar about the skill sets needed in the future to remain relevant, what would the of title of your speech be and why?
“Walk Without Fear: The World Embraces Change”

I think that people are looking for leaders at all levels. The next CEO or change agent might be working the night shift in the basement. The world will never know it unless that person feels empowered to step forward and share their vision for improvement with the powers that exist in the corporation.

Describe your leadership style.
I consider myself a servant leader. Every leader should be willing to do the job of the least with zeal and the goal should be to create a legion of people who, at the end of the day, are all better than you. If I do that, I did my job well.

The reality is: if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.