Bank of St. Francisville President and CEO Carter Leak IV sees the coming new year as a time of great change and opportunity for the community, for the bank and for his own family. Here’s what the St. Francisville native, community leader, and father of four is most excited for in 2020.
Good to Great: West Feliciana Parish education improvements
West Feliciana’s notable public schools are one of the community’s greatest assets, and in 2020, the school system will begin making significant investments to keep pace with the future. The projects, funded by a $52 million bond issue and millage increase, include building a new public elementary school to replace 56-year-old Bains Elementary, creating a high school freshman academy and making improvements to the high school’s career and technical building, as well as its auditorium. “We’re really excited that our school system is being proactive about staying ahead of the curve on anticipated enrollment growth, and on adding relevant new programs,” says Carter. “This is going to prepare our young people for a bright future, no matter what field they choose to enter.”
Leading St.Francisville’s growing business community
Both within St. Francisville’s famous historic district, and the commercial corridor, the signs of progress are everywhere to be seen. New or revitalized businesses such as District Mercantile, the St. Francisville Inn, and the Magnolia Village are giving locals and visitors alike more reasons to stop, stay, and play in the town’s historic heart. Out on busy Highway 61, the rapid growth in and around the Live Oak Centre development, anchored by longtime local retailers Audubon Market, Patrick’s Jewelry, and Elliott’s Pharmacy,allows for a steady flow of commerce in the parish. “While we’ve been proud to play a part in bringing many of these projects to fruition, even more gratifying is to see the way in which the increased economic activity stands to benefit our community as a whole,” noted Carter.
Defying the norm, BSF remains committed to personal service
Across the country, more banks are merging, consolidating operations and closing neighborhood branches for the sake of efficiency. But something really important gets lost in these large corporate business models:the ability to build a long-term relationship with a customer. “We see an opportunity to offer something most banks can’t,” says Carter. “Through maintaining a long term relationship with the customer and understanding their unique needs, we can offer innovative solutions that are distinct and a fit for our customer’s situation .” BSF is focused on delivering more professional and personal customer service paired with leading electronic banking products. That combination is helping BSF and our customers grow not only their financial stability, but it also grows opportunity for our community. In an ever-changing tech world, BSF remains a boutique bank staffed with competent professionals eager to help their customers every step of the way.
Leaving the nest
On a personal note, Carter and his wife, Brittany, are excited—and a little nervous—about their oldest child, Harrison, heading off to college in Fall 2020. “Part of me is not looking forward to him leaving, but another part is excited about him spreading his wings and pursuing the gifts God has given him,” Carter says. “We know he’s had a strong foundation growing up in such an amazing community.”
Click here to learn more about Carter.