Chairman And CEO Wes Smith Retires From Northwest Georgia Bank After 42 Years Of Service

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Wes Smith
Wes Smith

Wes Smith, chairman and CEO, has retired from Northwest Georgia Bank after 42 years of service to the 107-year-old community bank, and more than 47 years in the banking industry.

He will continue to serve on the bank’s board of directors and its holding company, NW Services Corp., as well as serve as a consultant to the holding company. His son, president and COO Scott Smith, is now the bank’s chief leader and interim CEO.

“I have enjoyed most of my 42 years at the bank, although the last four years have been difficult. It was not easy dealing with customers who needed loans and did not qualify, but thankfully, trends are looking positive and the future looks good,” Mr. Smith said. “I will most miss helping people start their business and purchase their first home. I want to thank our staff and our communities for the support and loyalty they have shown me and Northwest Georgia Bank over the years.”

Hired in 1971 as a vice president-commercial lender when Northwest Georgia Bank was still the Bank of Ringgold, Mr. Smith has led the community bank since 1978 - first as president, and since 2004, as chairman and CEO.

During his tenure, the bank has grown from about $6 million to more than half a billion in assets at its peak in 2008 before the bottom dropped out of the economy, and grown from two to nine branches, with four in Chattanooga.

A Whitwell, Tn., native, he started his career in 1965 at Chattanooga’s Pioneer Bank as a teller in the management trainee program while also finishing up a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Two years later, the bank tapped him to manage its branch on Highway 58, where he worked for four more years.

Mr. Smith is also a graduate of the Tennessee Bankers School (Vanderbilt) and the School of Banking of the South (LSU).

A former chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association, he has served on the American Bankers Association (ABA) Board of Directors - one of only 23 directors out of more than 8,800 banks nationwide at the time. He also served on the ABA Government Relationship Council, ABA Administrative Committee, ABA Community Bankers Council and the ABA BankPAC Committee.

A strong community supporter and civic leader, he led the founding of the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, serving as chairman for two terms. Among his past philanthropic activities, Mr. Smith served as chairman of the Better Business Bureau of Chattanooga, as a board member of the Cherokee Area Council – Boy Scouts of America, as a board member for Truett McConnell College, a trustee of the Dalton State College Foundation, and vice-chair of Hutcheson Medical Center.

He is most proud of the philanthropic work the community bank has accomplished via the Northwest Georgia Bank Foundation, most notably donating more than $1 million to local charities and the construction of the Northwest Georgia Bank Amphitheatre that opened in 2007.

He currently serves on the boards of Northwest Georgia Bank, NW Services Corp. (the bank’s holding company) and the Northwest Georgia Bank Foundation. Most recently, he served as treasurer for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s gubernatorial campaign and served on his transition team.

Mr. Smith and his wife, Shirley, have three grown children and six grandchildren. Ms. Smith, who leads the Shirley Smith Learning Center in Catoosa County as well as the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy, serves on the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia. Krista owns 25th Hour Spa and Salon in Ringgold. Todd, former longtime deputy chief of staff for former Congressman Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), is a consultant in Washington, D.C. Mr. Scott Smith serves as president & COO of Northwest Georgia Bank and serves on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. 


CBL & Associates Declares Common Stock Dividend And Preferred Stock Dividend

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. on Friday announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend for the company’s Common Stock of $0.265 per share for the quarter ending March 31. The dividend is payable on April 17 to shareholders of record as of March 30.  The Board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.4609375 per depositary share ... (click for more)

Covenant Transport To Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Covenant Transport, Inc. will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced Friday.   The EEOC’s suit had charged that Covenant discriminated against an applicant for a commercial truck driver position on the basis of his disability. Covenant conditionally ... (click for more)

2 Homes Totally Destroyed By Fire On Sunday In Separate Blazes

Two homes were totally destroyed by fire in separate blazes on Sunday afternoon. At  5 p.m. , a neighbor called 911 reporting a house fire at 3910 Fairmont Pike on Signal Mountain. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded and arrived on the scene reporting a fully involved house fire. A mutual aid response was requested for additional manpower and apparatus ... (click for more)

Signal School Study Says Under Own School System Much More Could Go To The Classroom; Lennon Says Getting Land, Buildings A Major Issue

A panel studying a new school system operated by Signal Mountain concluded that much more money could go directly into the classroom, helping students further increase their potential.   However, County School Board member Kathy Lennon said how the town would be able to acquire the land and buildings is a major issue.   A group of Signal Mountain residents ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Trump's Latest Delight

I was quite amused this week when Donald Trump’s administration “locked out” several news organizations from the daily press briefings at the White House. The reason I loved it because in the 50 years I have spent in the news business, I have been locked out of press conferences, too. To be truthful, I am a longtime veteran of a bunch of “you versus me” squabbles and, if I do say, ... (click for more)