Tennessee Bankers

Q&A with Bill Yoder

Q&A with Bill Yoder

Chairman, Independent Bankers Division, Tennessee Bankers Association

President & CEO, Southern Community Bank, Tullahoma, Tenn.

Bill Yoder is the 2016/2017 chairman of the TBA’s Independent Bankers Division. Yoder serves as the president & CEO of Southern Community Bank, which is headquartered in Tullahoma with additional offices in Huntsville, Murfreesboro, and Chattanooga. The bank has $250 million in assets and was founded in 2005 as The Bank of Tullahoma.

Q. Who has influenced you most during your banking career?

There are three people who come immediately to my mind. Joanne Jackson was my branch manager when I was a brand-new loan officer. It was 1990, and there were many customers still struggling from the recent recession. She taught me the right way to lend money. Lee Stewart was my boss when I was a new district manager and my first time to manage a large group of folks. I learned patience and perseverance from him. Another person who was very influential to me was Mike Robbins. He was my boss for quite a number of years with U.S. Bank. He taught me how to handle change and to accept the things I wasn’t going to change. I have been blessed with these and many other great mentors through the years.

Q. You’ve been a part of the Tullahoma market for more than 20 years. How have you seen it evolve during your career?

Certainly there have been many changes in the competitive landscape during my time here in Tullahoma. The proliferation of technology has probably had the most impact. The number of transactions done in the branch are fewer today even though we are a much bigger office in terms of deposits. Also, our colleagues and competitors have evolved over the years. Probably the biggest change was when Southern Community Bank and First Vision Bank of Tennessee opened on the same day in November 2005. I know of no other community, big or small, that had two de novo banks open on the same day. Fortunately, we have both been successful.

Q. One of the topics on this year’s Independent Convention program touches on a hot topic in all industries today—the presence of four generations in the workplace. What do you see as a benefit that banks can derive from this mix of demographics?

I believe it can only be beneficial to have various perspectives and viewpoints represented. Personally, I am looking forward to this presentation.

Q. Another topic featured on the program is cybersecurity, and Wesley McGrew, Director of Cyber Operations at HORNE Cyber will undoubtedly scare us all with his presentation titled “How to Hack a Bank.” What is your bank’s approach to technology and cybersecurity, and where do you see the trend going for the next 10 years?

As much change as we have seen in technology since I started my banking career, it will be quite interesting to see how banking services are delivered in 10 years. Certainly, cybersecurity will only continue to grow in importance.

Q. The Independent Division Board also oversees the Bank Directors Retreat, which features an opening reception at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Along those lines, if your bank started a band, what would be your role/instrument of choice?

What a great question! It would have to be the bass player or the drummer, keeping everyone together and in rhythm.