On the Job with Frank Griffin

 Frank Griffin is the executive vice president of Flint Community Bank.

Frank Griffin is the executive vice president of Flint Community Bank.

In the real world, Frank Griffin is building his career as a bank executive in Albany.

But when he daydreams, he sees himself holding political office in the future. And he dreams big — possibly the U.S. Senate.

The executive vice president of Flint Community Bank says he has had numerous mentors in the business world, but says Jesus Christ is his main mentor.

Griffin, an avid quail hunter, says his favorite tradition is gathering with his extended family every Sunday for dinner after church.

Griffin shared other tidbits about his life and career recently with reporter Jim West.

Q. What was your first job?

A. Until I got into to college it was working on the family farm. My dad worked full time at the Marine base, but also farmed in Lee County so I worked there. When I got to college my first job was at the County Seat, the jeans store at the Albany Mall. When I started that job I was probably 18.


NAME: Frank Griffin

AGE: 39

POSITION: Executive Vice President, Flint Community Bank

FAMILY: Married to Ashley with children, Jackson (11), Wyatt (8)and Mallory (6).

EDUCATION: Darton College and Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?

A. I would guess it was probably buying music or something to play music on.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found during the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. As the economy has changed, money is obviously the focus of a lot of people. But what I’ve found here, and what our management team has found here is words of affirmation. Telling our employees how proud we are of the work they’ve done, how successful we are because of their efforts makes a huge difference.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to do what you’re doing now?

A. One of my older sisters has been in the banking business for a long time, and when I was in college I had three or four jobs. One of them was a part-time teller in a bank. Eventually I wound up back in the banking business because I like the banking environment.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. In my career there too many mortal people for me to name who have been mentors for me. My faith is huge to me, and I have to look to Christ as the mentor for me in every situation, every part of my life.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. Biggest lesson I have learned is always to keep the ability to love to learn. There is so much changing in this word, I have to stay ready and willing to learn more.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?

A. I don’t know that I’d like to see any of it go away. I would like to see us better marry the use of that technology with personal interaction. Here at our company, we have an automated phone system which seems to be the bane of everybody’s existence. But we marry that with a person who will answer the phone. Whoever calls will get someone on the phone if they dial our main office number.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. I would have to say my iPhone. It goes with me everywhere I am. It keeps me informed and keeps me in communication, not only with the people that work here at the bank but also my customers know they can get me at any given time.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Every Sunday at lunch. I have a big family. We get together every Sunday, except for one sister who lives in California, at my mother’s house for lunch. That is a weekly thing.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. The last book I read that really made the most impact was by Tullian Tchividjian, who happens to be Billy Graham’s grandson. He wrote a book called “Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything.” That book impacted my life tremendously. On a daily basis I read God’s word and business-related periodicals.

Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. Between 6 and 6:30 every morning. I arrive here at the bank around 7:45 to 8.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?

A. I’m a political junkie at heart. So when you say famous people I have to think back to those living or dead. I guess any president of recent memory — Ronald Reagan, even Bill Clinton, George Bush, current president Barack Obama. I would love to meet those men, just to see what makes them tick, regardless of where they stand, politically.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I love to quail hunt. I don’t get to do it often because I’m a banker, I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a school board member in Lee County, I’m a Sunday school teacher at Sherwood Baptist Church, I’m a choir member there. All of those activities are very important to me, but if I had to pick one hobby it would be quail hunting, which I dearly love.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. I’ve been very very blessed. Not that I haven’t made mistakes. I can always think about individual loans I’ve approved as a banker and a loan officer. But, I will have to say I feel like I’ve been led to make most of the right, major decisions. I can’t claim responsibility for that. I feel like I’ve been led to do what I do.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. The people. The team that works here are the most dedicated, caring people I can imagine working with.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. Having to tell someone that I can’t help them fulfill their dream. Oftentimes, as a loan officer, people come to me with great plans and great ideas and because of things, really not my fault, I just have to tell them I can’t help them. That doesn’t feel good.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Probably American History at the college level at Georgia Southwestern. I had a professor there who was able to marry our history with lessons from current times to show us how important it is for us to know what happened in the past so that we don’t repeat it.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I said earlier I was a political junkie, so I couldn’t lie to you and say that I didn’t have political aspirations down the road. I don’t know where the Lord will take me but when you say specific positions — U.S. Senator has a nice ring to it.

Q. Finish this thought: “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself …

A. No. I, I don’t think retirement is Biblical. I think you go to do something else. So I think if I left the banking industry, retired from banking and moved to something else, I would hope it was in some position that helps better the Albany, Dougherty, Lee County community.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Humility. Again, and I think I mentioned earlier, a desire to learn. I think those two go hand in hand.

Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. Your guess is as good as mine. I think we’ve seen the worst of economic times in the last 80 years. If someone said they knew exactly when it would turn around they’d be lying to you. But, I will tell you I’m optimistic about the Albany area. I have seen some few things pick up in the recent months so hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come in the very few months.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. It’s a wide range of things from praise and worship to Elton John to Maroon Five to Luke Bryan to Phillip Phillips.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. Maybe I’m too optimistic but I see Generation X — my generation — and the Millennial Generation, moving Albany forward to get beyond some of the mindset that has held us back for years. I see those two generations, quite frankly, sick and tired of what’s kept us down for so long. I see them ready to roll up their sleeves and get in the mix of things and make a difference. I’m excited about that.

Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?

A. It was this past summer. My wife and I took our three children to Universal Studios over the July Fourth holiday. That was the first time we had been off — I have an 8-year-old son, an 11-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter — that was the first time we’d been off, just us, on a family vacation where the individual personalities of our children could really shine, and have a blast together. I’ll never forget those three days.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. Technology. Banking no longer is some place we “go.” It’s something we “do.” That’s with iPhones, with iPads, any gadget you could imagine. Technology is changing the face of banking on a daily basis.