Banking Star: Capital City Bank CEO Bill Smith
It’s entirely possible that banking is in Bill Smith’s blood.
It’s entirely possible that banking is in Bill Smith’s blood. His father, Godfrey Smith, was president of Capital City Bank for more than 50 years, and by the time Bill was born his father had already set up a savings account for him at the same bank.
“If banking wasn’t in my blood, it was close,” says Bill Smith, now 58 and chairman, president and CEO of Capital City Bank Group. At the core of this company is a long-time Tallahassee community bank that’s been serving the capital city region for more than 100 years. “I literally grew up in the bank, learning to spell and do math problems in the bank when dad would come back to work at night.”
A proud alumnus of Florida State University, Smith graduated in 1976 with — what else? — a degree in finance. In 2010 he was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame.
Smith started work at Capital City Bank in 1978 and became president in 1989. Today, the company has tremendous financial assets that make it “big enough to have a full range of product offerings,” yet “small enough to have an intimate knowledge of who our clients are.”
1. Self description: I try first to be a good husband and father. I grew up in a Christian home and have a strong commitment to my faith. I’m a very active, involved and engaged manager at the bank and spend most of my time working strategically for the company as we move forward.
2. Words to live by: If I wrote our handbook, I’d say, “Tell the truth, don’t let the sun set on a problem, do it right the first time and be nice.”
3. Downtime: I like to work. I like to read. I’m a big newspaper reader. I enjoy the coast; we have a place in St. Teresa. I love to bird hunt and try to be a good family man.
4. Banking thoughts: The banking industry is a fun industry to be in. It’s a place to make dreams come true, like the first house, first car or first savings account. You get to help and see things grow, be an integral part of the community.
5. Banker jokes: The old adage is “363.” Pay people 3 percent, charge 6 percent, play golf at 3. That’s an old banker joke. But it’s far from reality. We’re out there trying to fulfill clients’ needs and the needs of our growing community.
6. Email reader: It’s become the vehicle of communication. (Reading email) is an all-the-time kind of event. But I worry … that we’re going to lose our ability to write. With the lack of punctuation and capital letters, things we learned in school will be for naught if we don’t continue to practice it.
7. FSU advocate: I spent four wonderful years there, got a wonderful education, got a wife, and it’s such a huge economic driver in the community I call home.
8. Community service: Last year our associate base gave over 12,000 hours of service back to the community. We have expectations that each of our associates give 10 hours of community service every year.