Mission Critical | ABA Banking Journal

By Debra Cope

“Hire a veteran” wasn’t even on the list when Howard Bank set out to fill a board seat in 2020. Finding an accomplished specialist who might bring fresh viewpoints to the board table was the overarching objective.

But when the Baltimore-based bank chosen Linda Singh as its latest director in November 2020, it was her recognized profession in the Maryland Army National Guard that became among her exceptional characteristics.

“She is a retired major general, and that says it all about her ability to lead teams in periods of great change and pressure,” states Mary Ann Scully, creator, chair and CEO of the $2.5 billion-asset bank. The bank begun by asking what abilities it required and what viewpoints and experiences were not always represented at the board table.

Singh, who retired from military service after 28 years in 2019, was the very first lady and the very first African American to hold the command of adjutant general of Maryland. Singh was accountable for the day-to-day operations of the Maryland Military Department, a 6,700-person company with a $314 million yearly budget plan.

The hiring of a top-level veteran for a board seat shows a growing understanding in business America of the strengths that originate from military service. Banks significantly are aiming to employ veterans and tap vendor-owned companies as providers.

The militaries are understood for instilling management abilities beginning with a strong concentrate on objective, team effort, and determination. But there’s a propensity to see military prospects as stiff items of the command structure, which’s an error, describes Paul Dillon, president and CEO of Dillon Consulting, which concentrates on veterans in the labor force.

“What most people never see is that the military teaches you to think and act flexibly, so that if your battle plan isn’t working, you pivot immediately to a plan that does,” Dillon states.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Logan Hickman has actually belonged to the board of directors of Peoples Bank of the South in LaFollette, Tennessee, considering that 2004. Banking ran in the household; his daddy and father-in-law were both popular Tennessee lenders. Hickman retired from a 22-year profession in the infantry in 2002 and went to work for his father-in-law at Peoples Bank, which now has $177 million in possessions. He retired as EVP in 2019, however continues as a director.

Hickman had 3 degrees, among them in financing, however he states it was his military experience above all that ready him for banking management and board service. As an EVP, Hickman handled examinations, led a charter conversion, supervise 2 branch closings, and drove tactical preparation and marketing.

“Military service makes you adaptable, because you are serving with and under different people all the time,” Hickman states. “You also learn how to manage projects and work toward a goal. And you understand the importance of top-down communication, why the junior loan officer needs to know what’s going on.”

Naomi Mercer, ABA’s SVP for variety, equity and addition, is herself a military veteran, having actually retired from the U.S Army in 2019. She kept in mind that there is a strong focus amongst count on including veterans as staff members and contracting with veteran-owned companies. While she hasn’t seen a strong push to hire veterans to board seats, she thinks there’s a strong fit.

“The qualities veterans develop make them really good board candidates,” Mercer states. “They’re good under pressure, they understand strategy, they know how to assess risk, and they don’t do things in lockstep. When you give soldiers a mission and autonomy about how to execute it, they will surprise you every time with their innovation.”

Howard Bank—which, at press time, remained in the procedure of being obtained Pittsburgh-based F.N.B. Corporation in an offer set to close early in 2022—had actually currently seen the benefits of working with veterans when it selected a veteran for the board, Scully states. The bank’s chief deposit officer, Drew McKone, is a U.S. Marine Corps fight veteran. “Veterans are intuitively flexible and resilient. They know what it’s like to like and to get people behind them,” Scully includes.

Resources to Connect Veterans with Bank Leadership

This guide, while not thorough, recommends a variety of courses for discovering possible personnel and management prospects who have actually served in the armed force.

  • American Corporate Partners. Mentoring programs to assist veterans and partners discover their next profession.
  • Corporate Gray. Supports military-to-civilian profession shift.
  • Dog Tag, Inc. Fellowship program aid veterans and partners find out how to run an organization.
  • Hiring Our Heroes. Veterans work as fellows for business for a 12-week duration; numerous are provided the task at the end of the fellowship. (ABA has actually partnered with Hiring our Heroes to link veterans with bank functions.)
  • National Association of Corporate Directors. The Battlefield to Boardroom program has actually trained 400 admirals and generals, 200 of whom went onto board seats. The 2021 program is briefly on hold.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

Related Articles

Back to top button