Insights from Garth Knight – Shenandoah Valley’s Business Banker
Garth Knight, Senior Vice President – Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer
Corporate Office, 205 South Main Street, Timberville, VA
Question: Describe your professional and/or personal experience in lending:
I have been in banking for 16 years. I have served in various roles such in Consumer Lending, Home Mortgage, Small Business, Business Banking, and Business Development.
My specialty has always been in developing and building quality relationships in the communities I have served and the teammates I work with. Putting people and their needs first and building a customized plan to fit those needs makes a meaningful difference and creates lifelong relationships.
Question: How would your small business clients describe you?
Consultative, honest, proactive, an advocate for their success.
Question: How would your family describe you?
My brother would say crazy, but I think he is the crazy one, I guess you will have to decide who is right. I have a large family, and we are always cutting up when we get together. I think they would say fun-loving, hard worker, a good cook, and a traveler.
Question: What’s most important to you professionally and personally?
Professionally, having a positive and collaborative working environment. I have been fortunate in my career to be around great leaders and teammates who get along and work together toward a common goal, taking care of our customers and building relationships. This type of working environment is critical to success. Everyone must row in the same direction!
Personally, family and quality of life. I have a great family and grew up on a farm in South Carolina. I was raised right and grew up understanding the value of hard work to get the things you want in life. I am extremely thankful for this. Quality of life is very important to me. If you enjoy your life day to day, you will approach whatever you do with positive intent and make the best of all situations.
Question: Do you personally volunteer or support any charitable organizations?
I support many charitable organizations and have been an advocate for them in the eight cities I have lived in my career. I have served on Boards going back to my Alma Mater, Newberry College.
Most recently, I was proud to present checks to the highest amount of donations collected by Non-Profits for the Great Community Give at the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County. It was gratifying to see the energy and good being done by a community that works together to be great. I am very excited to continue my volunteer work in this community and become an advocate for charitable organizations in the area.
Question: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing a business or a team member accomplish a goal is very meaningful for me. Helping to play a small role in that accomplishment and being a catalyst for growth is when I feel most gratified. When I think back over my career, those are the moments I remember most clearly and fondly.
Question: From your experience working in business lending over the years, is there one thing you’d recommend or advise for small business owners related to finances?
I am going to augment the rule here and give two. One, have a plan and vision for what you want to do and how you want to do it. Your plan and vision will always serve as a guidepost for what direction you take your business and be there for you during good times and challenges. That rings true today more than ever.
The second would be to have a bank that is an advocate for your vision and growth. Building that relationship and creating synergy will allow for open and honest dialogue and will be the catalyst for growth and success. I would love for you to continue or develop a relationship at F&M Bank as that is the customer experience we strive to deliver to you.
Question: Beyond business financing, how can local companies across the Shenandoah Valley benefit from F&M Bank?
Cash Management Solutions is an area that all businesses can benefit from and a topic that most are thinking about right now due to business interruptions and some being forced to work from home. F&M Bank has many solutions to help maximize efficiency and move money effectively in and out of your business. Financing and cash management are two of the most critical conversations a business can have in my opinion.
Question: Given the business challenges and potential opportunities resulting from COVID-19, what advice do you have for local businesses for both the short-term and long-term?
If you have not already, create a business plan that provides a strategy for this environment that includes contingencies. Partner with a bank that will provides support and guidance through these uncertain and challenging times. Having effective conversations about your business with your bank will have impact well past today. I invite you to have a conversation with F&M Bank to see how we can help you navigate these uncertain times, remain successful, and continue your growth.