A Career Journey as a Community Banker

Suzanne Cumming’s “Can Do” Career Journey as a Community Banker

As featured in the 2023 issue of Our Story

There’s something to be said for a team member who truly believes in stepping in, doing the work no matter how small or great the task, and building a solid career through relationships created along the way. In a nutshell, that’s the secret formula behind Suzanne Cumming’s success as a community banker with United Bank. 

Suzanne joined the team in May 2010 with no banking experience. After spending more than a decade between the mortgage industry and a law firm, she applied at United Bank willing to start anywhere and work her way up as she gained knowledge. She accepted a position as a teller at the Hill Street location in Griffin and learned quickly what it meant to be on the front line, helping customers face-to-face.

“I loved the people aspect of being a teller,” Suzanne explained. “You meet all types of people, establish a rapport with regular customers and get a deeper understanding of the everyday transactions that happen at the Bank. Building relationships as a teller connected me to others, and I wanted to become even more involved with my customers’ financial journeys.”

Suzanne took on additional responsibility when she moved into a Customer Service Representative (CSR) role in 2011, serving customers on a more complex level.

“Every customer scenario is different and not every situation is black and white. I always do my best to dig deeper, get a good understanding of what our customers are trying to accomplish, and consider all the possible solutions to get them there.”

Outstanding performance as a CSR earned Suzanne the Employee of the Year award for United Bank’s Griffin division in 2011. In 2014, Suzanne was promoted to Loan Officer Assistant (LOA), a position that benefited from her knowledge of real estate and legal title work. After several years as a successful LOA, John Rainwater, United Bank’s Griffin President, offered Suzanne the position of Lender and Branch Manager in 2016 at the Taylor Street location, a role she’s held for the past seven years.

“United Bank gives employees every opportunity to grow into community bankers,” she said. “Through the Bank, I earned my banking school certificate from the Georgia Bankers Association where I learned about bank committees and boards, loss mitigation, compliance, and asset/liability management.”

She is currently in the process of earning a commercial banking certificate from SMU in Texas to learn more about the foundations of commercial lending. “These development opportunities give me a deeper understanding of how I can better assist our customers and contribute to the Bank.”

When asked how she has advanced and built such a successful community banking career, she says, “I don’t wait for folks to ask me to do things, I look for ways I can jump in and that’s made all the difference.”

The 2017 Spalding County Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Year recipient views United Bank as a family business, one in which she can play an important role.

“I ask myself ‘Do I want my business to succeed?’ ‘Am I protecting it, taking care of my customers, and looking for ways to grow?’ If I am doing these things, then I am doing my job to the best of my ability,” Suzanne said. “For me, being a part of the United Bank team comes with a great deal of prestige because we are so connected to the community. It means being present for our customers and keeping those connections open. My customers know they can call me, and I will do anything I can to help. We believe in fostering success around us and it’s an honor to be a part of that company mission.”

Encouraging New Beginnings

Myrtle's Plot Twist is one of Griffin’s newest shining stars. Owner Taylor Thompson and her family opened the little bookstore in the fall of 2022, quickly gaining much attention with a huge following.

United Bank Advisory Director Margaret Brown, owner of All Together Unique Clothing & Accessories, referred Taylor to Suzanne as they were working to make Myrtle’s a reality. In February of 2023, Suzanne had the honor of presenting Taylor and Myrtle’s Plot Twist with the Beautification Award from the Spalding County Chamber of Commerce where she serves as a board member.

“We love the fact that we have a great community banking partner in United Bank,” said Taylor. “As we plan to grow and further establish Myrtle’s Plot Twist in Griffin, we will continue to rely on Suzanne’s expertise and guidance. Working together, I think we have the opportunity to create a really special destination in our community.”

“I am a regular patron of the business myself,” adds Suzanne. “Myrtle’s is more than a bookstore, it’s a special gathering place that offers a wonderful menu, special events, live music and more. We are super excited to be a part of their success and proud to support and collaborate with a wonderful local business.”