This time of year has special resonance for Carter Leak IV.
“As I thought about my kids, I figured there was no greater gift I could give them than to embrace the idea of home,” says Carter
Three years ago, the St. Francisville native left a career with the global engineering and construction firm, CB&I, to return home and help lead the Bank of St. Francisville, the business his father, Carter Leak III, launched in 1978.
“To be able to come back and work for a real community bank in a place so rich in personal relationships – that’s irreplaceable.”
In May, Carter took over as bank president, carrying on a deeply held belief in face-to-face customer service. His story carries shades of It’s a Wonderful Life with a modern sense of smart business.
“One thing I have really appreciated about my father and the bank’s executive team is how forward-thinking they have been, especially when it comes to integrating the latest in technology in the customer experience,” says Carter. “It’s been very important to us to capture the millennial market and to give all of our customers a frictionless banking experience.”
Carter, his wife and their four children returned to St. Francisville from Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014 after Carter’s 14-year career with CB&I. Being back in St. Francisville has been fulfilling both professionally and personally, he says.
“One of the benefits to life in a small town is that you get to experience diversity in an authentic way,” says Carter. “Everyone goes to school together, cheers for the same football team and helps each other out in times of trouble. In bigger cities, it’s so easy to only associate with people who look like you and think like you, but here in a small town, we live and function as a community, and that helps us grow as people.”
Carter says that being part of a community bank has enabled him and his colleagues to fundamentally change people’s lives. His long-term vision is to involve his children in the business as well.
“The goodness of life lies in maintaining and enjoying relationships,” says Carter. “The ability to do that in this profession and in this community has been a gift to me, and one that I would love for my kids to experience in a similar way.”