Published on: 12 November 2012
Richard J. Alley, The Daily News
At the age of 34, William Tayloe became the youngest president in the 27-year history of Financial Federal Savings Bank. Now, at 39, he has been named to the bank’s board of directors.
Financial Federal has a strong base in real estate banking, a natural for Tayloe, whose family is well-known in the area real estate market. He began as a loan officer and, like so many of the other employees of the bank, has worn many hats over the years.
“When I was looking around, Financial Federal had a pretty successful business and was a highly respected lender,” Tayloe said. “In particular in real estate, both residential and commercial, so that was probably what was attractive to me.”
He was named president in 2008, an inauspicious year for business in general and for the banking industry specifically.
Tayloe endured a trial by fire, leaning on the knowledge base of the many veteran employees, mentors such as Kent Wunderlich, shareholders, quality customers and, of course, “a strong capital base, a good foundation,” Tayloe said.
“I think he’s done extremely well,” said Wunderlich, chairman of the board and general counsel for Financial Federal. “I think every bank had some concerns in 2008, some things that we’d never seen before and we all had to adjust somewhat, and it took a lot of thought, a lot of energy, a lot of organization to keep moving on.”
“The last five years has been a pretty interesting time to be in the banking business,” Tayloe said.
Locally owned and operated, Financial Federal draws its clients from the worlds of small business and professionals within the community, and has assets of $325 million and deposits of $225 million.
By keeping its customer base close and employees accessible, Tayloe said, they’ve been able to overcome the challenges and “to continue, and to expand upon the success that we’ve had here” even in the post-recession climate of excessive regulation and strong competition.
The appointment to the board of directors hasn’t changed what he does on a daily basis, but it has added an extra depth of responsibility for him among the board, which is “not large, but is very effective,” Tayloe said. “It’s made up of individuals who have had very successful business careers and to be a part of that, I was certainly honored to be elected.”
Expanding the small board of five is one advantage to the addition of Tayloe, while another is “his knowledge of the bank and the banking industry,” Wunderlich said, adding with a laugh, “plus his youth will help the board. We have some maturity on our board, so youth is important, he’s up to date with what’s going on in a different section of the community … he’s out in the community, he’s active in things outside the bank.”
Tayloe has had a whirlwind career so far in banking, yet continues to look to the future and continuing in the culture that has made Financial Federal so successful and respected around the Memphis area. The bank is looking toward growth and expansion on certain services and products offered, such as checking accounts, and looking into C&I lending.
“There’s a lot of opportunity and we want to make sure that we can capitalize on that,” Tayloe said. “We’re concentrating on technology quite a bit, and think that’s an area where we can add a lot of value to our customer and to the bank.”
Within the banking world and without, Tayloe has learned to wear, and to be comfortable in, many hats. From loan officer to president to sitting on the board of directors, he has gained the knowledge necessary to maintain the trust of clients and grow their assets. As a husband to Kimberly and a father to 8-year-old triplets – two boys, one girl – he has learned the delicate balance of work and family, the foundation of any community.
“Most of what we do here is based on relationships, it’s relationship banking and I think that’s appealing to our customers,” Tayloe said. “It’s nice to know who you’re doing business with, as a banker and as a customer, and that’s what we try to do.”