Q & A with John Windley, new South State Bank CEO

John Windley has recently been named CEO of South State Bank.
John Windley has recently been named CEO of South State Bank.

John F. Windley was promoted last month to South State Bank president and chief executive officer. Bank officials say the promotion matches the duties and leadership Windley provided for the past 10 years, as he will continue to manage all of the banking operations in the Carolinas and Georgia.

The Mount Airy, N.C., native succeeds Robert R. Hill Jr., who will continue as chief executive officer of South State Corp., the institution’s holding company. Hill had served as CEO of South State Corporation and South State Bank since 2004. Windley had been serving as South State Bank president and chief banking officer.

The company’s assets have increased from just over $1 billion and 25 locations 10 years ago to $8.6 billion and 126 locations in three today.

Q. What benefits does the distinction of being the largest bank holding company headquartered in South Carolina afford South State Bank?

A. Our unique size of being significantly larger than the small banks but significantly smaller than the big banks allows us to compete and win business.

We’re filling a big void in the banking space in S.C. and the Southeast. The banking industry is shrinking and we are well-positioned as the primary consolidator in the Southeast. Our company has a strong team approach and our culture attracts great bankers. With over 1,744 employees in S.C., this number continues to grow.

Q. What segments comprise the bank’s largest loan portfolios?

A. In 2015, loans grew over $285 million and currently total approximately $6 billion. Our mortgage team helped drive production to over $1.2 billion in loan volume in 2015. In 2014, South State was ranked No. 2 in mortgage market share in S.C. (the 2015 rankings haven’t come out yet).

And, in wealth management, our assets under administration are approximately $4.0 billion and in 2015 contributed over $20 million in revenue.

Q. Please discuss some of South State Bank's major short-term and long-term goals.

A. First and foremost, focus on our customers and their needs. What that means from a business standpoint is focus on organic growth of our core banking business – retail, commercial, wealth and mortgage. Attract and retain strong bankers to influence the organic growth of our company.

Continue to focus on our customers as we grow. While technology offers convenient opportunities for customers to bank with us, our commitment continues to be building relationships and delivering a high level of service. This commitment to service has been at the core of our company since its founding and continues to drive our decisions each day.

Q. What affect did the Great Recession have on the institutions that merged to become South State Bank and how is the new institution faring now?

A. We operate and maintain a meaningful banking position in some of the most desirable markets in the Southeast. Founded during the Great Depression, South State focused on the fundamentals of banking to manage during turbulent times.

Since 2010, South State was fortunate to partner with six community banks. Through each merger we have expanded into new communities and added great bankers and customers who now are a part of the South State team.

We are committed to making decisions as close to the customer as possible so we can be very responsive.

5. Q. What would you most like the public to know and understand about South State Bank?

A. We’re uniquely positioned as the alternative bank to the large and smaller banks we compete with. We’re able to be more nimble with our decision making compared to the larger banks.

While our name changed two years ago, we were founded in 1933. Our people, a strong balance sheet, excellent markets and a focused growth strategy continue to be differentiators for South State.

Our strong teams enable us to win new customer relationships and participate in the economic growth of the communities we serve.

Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398

John F. Windley

Title: President and chief executive officer, South State Bank; chief banking officer, South State Corp.

Residence: Columbia, SC

Duties: Manage all of the banking operations for South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

Education: Wofford College, bachelor of science, 1975; Louisiana State University Banking School of the South

Experience: Started banking career with C&S Bank in 1976; 25 years with Bank of America; joined South State in 2002 as upstate regional president

Family: Married to Nancy Burns Windley, 40 years; two children

Community: Serves on the board of the Business Development Corporation of SC; member of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia

South State Bank

Origin: Founded in Orangeburg in November 1933; opened Jan. 2, 1934

Executives: John F. Windley, president and CEO, South State Bank; Robert R. Hill Jr., CEO and board member, South State Corp.

Assets: $8.6 billion; largest bank headquartered in S.C.; stock traded under the symbol SSB on NASDAQ; Friday close, $63.93, down $.30

Branches: 126 in three states: 93 in S.C.; 24 in Georgia; nine in North Carolina.