Born in Decatur, Eric has always lived
in Cullman County.
He attended Wallace State and graduated from Athens State Community College with a business degree and the Community Banking School at Samford University. He entered banking in 1994 but wanted to “get back home” and started at Merchants Bank of Alabama, a division of SouthPoint Bank, in 1997.
My favorite banking stories.
I don’t know if I have a favorite story. I always enjoy helping someone’s dream become a reality, whether that dream is a new home, car, boat, or tractor.
Why is local lending important?
Customers like having someone from their hometown to do business with. They like having that one-on-one interaction. Customers take comfort in knowing that their accounts, whether they are personal or for their business, are held and handled locally. Also, customers like getting a live person when they call. They do not want an automated system.
What matters to you?
Trust. When you are handling someone’s financial needs you want and need them to have that trust in you. That’s why I try to make sure that I treat customers the way that I want to be treated.
To you, what is The Merchants Way?
The Merchants Way is community. We strive to treat customers as neighbors because they often are. Our customers are people, not numbers.
What do you like most about your job?
Lending money is not just about loans. It is about serving our customers, neighbors and community because lending affects a large part of our society. When you make business loans, usually that loan is for increasing inventory or buying a piece of equipment or building that in turn will help sell a product that may be bought locally. When you make a personal loan, usually that loan is for making some type of purchase that is usually spent at a local business which in turns helps our local economy. By lending to consumers or businesses, we help the community as a whole.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I like to hunt and fish. I also enjoy riding ATVs and raising a few cows on our small farm.
How are you active in the community?
I currently serve as boat captain for my son Grant and his fishing partner for the Fairview High School Bass Fishing Team. I volunteer at Fairview Elementary where my wife Julie is a teacher. My family and I are members of First Baptist Church of Fairview.