A Conversation With: Jeramy CullerAssistant vice president and business banking manager, F&M Trust
Jeramy Culler, 36, joined F&M Trust in 2006 and was promoted to assistant vice president in February.
As business banking manager, he is responsible for supervising and developing the business banking team.
He is a graduate of McConnellsburg High School and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association’s Commercial Lending School.
He lives in McConnellsburg, Fulton County, with his wife, two daughters and son.
Q: What are some differences between your previous role in the credit department and your new position as business banking manager?
A: I had customer contact before but it was always sort of the secondary contact, going out with the relationship manager and asking questions. I never had to deliver any of the bad or good news. Now at times I’m the lead when it comes to the customer-facing interactions. Before, I’d be looking at a lot of the information and I would go back to the officer and say, this is what I see or what I think, but you can talk it out and see what you want to do. Now a lot of times I am that ultimate signer, and you take more time to stop and think before you put your name on that line. It went from theoretical to actual in some of the decisions you make – or don’t make.
What advantage does F&M Trust have being a small, local entity?
I think one of the biggest advantages is in business banking. I have up to a certain level of loan authority that I can quickly do on my own or with one of the business bankers, but it’s not big enough that I’m not involving my manager a lot. His office is right down the hall or it’s easy to call him and we can pretty quickly come to a determination on the best way to handle a customer. The bigger banks, maybe they have to send stuff away to a centralized credit department in a different state. They don’t know who the borrowers are. They see all the information on a piece of paper but that doesn’t equate to a real person. The borrower may wait a lot longer and then find out, no, we can’t help you. The second piece is the speed that we’re able to turn things around. That’s not necessarily something the bigger banks can’t also do but we know that’s one of our selling points. We might not always be the lowest priced or have the best fee structure but we can do things really quickly.
What is one thing a small business can do to be an attractive prospect for a loan?
We like to think of ourselves as trusted advisers, not just lenders or relationship managers. Build a relationship with your bank so you basically have a banker as part of your financial team and you have a good idea of, is this something I’m going to be able to do or are there steps I’ll need to take to work towards making myself more bankable for a loan. We need to take a second to form a relationship and have an understanding of what’s going on with your business beyond what’s on your tax returns or your financial statement.
What is your favorite summertime drink?
In summertime you can’t beat a good margarita. I like lime a lot, it has a refreshing quality in the summer. If that’s not available, then give me a really cold Corona.