The name H. Carter Leak III is synonymous with Bank of St.
Francisville. Carter drove the process that launched the bank in October 1978, writing
to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
to secure the bank’s original charter, fulfilling starting capital requirements,
and securing the Commerce Street site that has housed the bank’s headquarters
ever since. Carter’s other foundational move was to hire Conville Lemoine from another local bank, to join the
BSF team. The men have worked shoulder
to shoulder ever since. Carter has served as President and CEO from the bank’s
inception, and as Chairman since 2004. But as a banker his experience goes
deeper. Born and raised in Baton Rouge and educated at LSU, Carter began his banking
career in 1970 in the capital city as a commercial lender, going on to attend the
School of Banking of the South, Senior Bank Officers School conducted by
Harvard University, and the Sheshunoff Executive Banking Institute, among others.
When you’ve been with a bank as long as Carter has, the
institution’s relationships are your relationships, and many of BSF’s deepest
ties with area businesses and other financial institutions result from the close
connections he and Conville have forged over the years. Carter is a graduate of
Leadership Greater Baton Rouge and Leadership Louisiana, and served two four-year
terms on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Bankers Association, including
that of Chairman in 2006. In 2016 he transitioned day-to-day operations to his
son, Carter Leak IV, who joined the bank as
Executive Vice President in 2014.
In West Feliciana Parish, Carter’s influence is palpable,
beginning with the bank headquarters itself, rebuilt in 2008 on the site of the
original building. Committed to giving the parish a Louisiana vernacular structure
worthy of its architectural heritage, Carter communicated his design concept to
the architectural firm by sending a copy of the book
(1999, LSU Press), telling the architect,
“If it’s not in here, don’t think about it.” Warm, comfortable and welcoming, the
handsome resulting building stands on Commerce Street, holding pride of place at
the gateway to St. Francisville’s historic district.
In 1996 Carter co-founded Feliciana Vision, a community-wide
strategic planning initiative. He is a
founder of the West Feliciana Community Development Foundation, served as its
chairman from 1998-2000, and was selected Volunteer Economic Developer of the
Year in 2000 by the Southern Economic Development Commission. He served on the West Feliciana Planning and
Zoning Commission since its inception in 1983 until 2005, and is a co-founder
and charter member of both the West Feliciana Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary
Club of St Francisville. When not at the bank, Carter enjoys traveling, spending
time with family and friends at the beach, messing about in boats; and especially,
following the activities of his twelve grandchildren.