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Picture the sixth largest bank in the country—was community banking the first thing that came to your mind? When you talk to Josh Petty, Truist’s Greater Birmingham Market President, personalized community banking is what comes through loud and clear. Keep reading to learn more about Truist and how it gives clients the best of both worlds.
Meet Josh Petty, Greater Birmingham Market President
Josh Petty is one of those people who began his career right after graduating from college. He went straight from Wake Forest University to BB&T, now Truist’s, training program.
While he had other options, Petty chose this company. There was one thing that made a huge impression on him as a 22-year-old:
“During the entire interview process, they wanted to get to know who Josh Petty was. I didn’t feel like a number or a paper application. I felt like they wanted to really know what I was as a person. If I was part of a company that valued culture, I believed I’d be able to prove myself. Ultimately, I could create a long-term career where I felt valued.”
Real relationships + deep-rooted connections in the community: what’s unique about Truist’s culture
After seven years in the DC area, Petty came to Birmingham in 2009 after BB&T, now Truist, acquired Colonial Bank. One of the things he loves about the company— and this market in particular—is how connected the team is. For Petty, those relationships translate directly to customers’ experience.
Truist, as the sixth largest bank in the country, has to overcome people’s preconceived notions about big banks. According to Petty, it doesn’t matter if you’re at the corporate office to the local level—it feels different.
What makes Truist different, according to Petty?
- Deep-rooted connections with community.
- A team of bankers who have been with the company a long time.
“Pretty much everyone on the local team has been with the company for 10+ years. BB&T, now Truist, entered the market in 2009—so this is as long as you could be here. In this industry, it’s rare to have people who’ve been with one company for 8-10 years—doesn’t matter whether you’re at a small community bank or a big bank.”
The bank’s culture starts from the top
When I asked Petty what made the culture so special, here’s some of what he said:
It starts at the top—the majority of Executive Management has been with the company for 20+ years.
Decisions have to make sense for their clients and teammates—not just what makes sense on paper.
The company values employees. Leadership works to create an inclusive and energizing environment that empowers employees to learn, grow and have meaningful careers.
Nearly every Monday morning, the Truist CEO sends out a Monday Motivational email. Each week, he picks a topic he thought about over the weekend as a way to inspire associates.
Executive management visits all of their markets at least once a year for two main reasons:
- To share the state of the bank with all the employees and meet as many of them as possible.
- To meet clients and prospects within the market.
Petty has worked in 4-5 merger markets. Each time, Truist acquired another bank, and the employees were blown away. Why? The level of visibility and connectivity Truist’s executive management team has with employees was a new experience for them.
“It makes you feel valued, like your voice matters, and creates an emotional connection with the company. We have some of the lowest turnover in the business. Our local team has remained very stable and consistent over the years.
When a teammate left for a great opportunity in Nashville, he teared up his last day with us. ‘I’m excited about my next opportunity—and I’ll probably never have the type of environment I’ve had here again.’”
Truist’s commitment to justice
After the George Floyd incident, one of Petty’s African American colleagues spoke out. Dontá Wilson, Truist’s Chief Digital and Client Experience Officer and Member of the Executive Leadership Team, made a speech about his own personal experiences that was shared with all employees.
Petty said the speech struck him: “We had worked together for years. Wilson had been my boss, and I felt like I knew him personally and professionally. His story was eye-opening.”
In terms of what Truist is doing at a company-wide level, Petty said this:
“I genuinely feel like everything we’ve done comes from ‘we want to see things better.’
Whether it’s employee awareness or money we’ve committed through our philanthropic efforts, ‘we recognize the way things used to be isn’t the way they should be going forward. We want to do our part.’
As an employee, it feels good to be in a company where our teammates and leadership are moving in what feels the right direction.”
What all this means for Truist’s potential customers
Truist brings together an unparalleled platform for the banking industry going forward, with a commitment to trust, technology and touch.
Trust comes from developing long-term relationships with clients. Touch means accessibility, even as the business becomes more and more digital. Tech refers to Truist’s commitment to being at the forefront of the digitalization of the industry.
For Petty, this means people “get the best of both worlds at Truist, with all the advantages that come with a large financial institution. In their day-to-day interactions with the company, they get the personal, community banking approach.”
One concrete way this shows up is that local staff are empowered to make decisions on behalf of their clients. If a client with someone who isn’t able to make a decision, the people who can are literally two or three doors down.
“We’re as much of a community bank as any of our local competitors. And, we have all the products, services and technology that comes with being a large, sophisticated financial institution.”
Why Truist is different
According to Petty, the executive management team is committed to operating a community bank model.
BB&T, now Truist, was started in eastern North Carolina in 1872 as a rural farm bank.
“As a result, our roots have always gone deep into the communities we serve. That desire to be ingrained in the community is entrenched in our culture. Our philanthropy shows our commitment to communities. And, those roots show up in the way we take care of our clients and relationships.
Locally, we’re as committed to communities as we possibly can be. We have service hours, sponsorships, donations and our commitment to the Truist Foundation. We remember our roots and our heritage and never forgot where we came from.”
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