By KEVIN CHIRI
Tammany West news
COVINGTON – Michael Brumfield always thought he would be flying high over the competition when he embarked in his professional career in the early 80s.
That was because Brumfield had a passion for the aviation industry and graduated from college with an Aeronautical Engineering degree. He was literally flying over the competition in the early years of work after he obtained his pilot’s license, while working for several of the top aircraft companies in the nation.
But as often happens with many individuals finding the best path for a successful career, an opportunity came calling in 1996 that still has him flying high over the competition, but in a slightly different way.
Brumfield is working today as the CEO of the Louisiana division for State Bank and Trust Company after accepting an offer in 1996 to join his father, the chairman of the board for State Bank.
Since Stewart Brumfield purchased Valley Bank in Mississippi in 1985, the purchase of State Bank in 2001 sent the financial corporation off and running to become one of the fastest growing banks, and one of the largest regional banks around.
After Stewart Brumfield purchased State Bank in ’01 he has grown the company to have assets of nearly $1 billion, with 35 current locations.
“When Mr. Brumfield bought State Bank they only had three branches near Brookhaven, but he wanted to grow the bank and that’s why he asked me to come work with him,” Michael Brumfield said.
With an approach of being a true community bank with a personal touch, State Bank clearly connected under the Brumfield leadership. Today they have 20 locations in Mississippi, 10 in Louisiana and five in Alabama, with more locations planned in the near future.
State Bank opened its first Louisiana branch in Mandeville in 2005, followed by opening in Slidell in 2010. Brumfield said they are close to opening their third St. Tammany Parish location with a branch in the Terra Bella development in Covington, scheduled to open this March.
“Our slogan is ‘With Us, It’s Personal,’ and we really mean that. We have local people heading the work we do here and I think it’s clear that makes a difference since we have grown so much since starting with State Bank only a little over 10 years ago,” he said.
Brumfield pointed to top commercial lenders Jerry Wiggins in Slidell, and David Roussel in Mandeville, as longtime local bankers in St. Tammany Parish who are now part of the State Bank team.
“Those are two guys who everyone likes because they are personal and real,” Brumfield said. “They handle a lot of our commercial accounts, but they have been in the banking industry many years, and know what it takes to give business men and women the support they need.”
Brumfield said that across the board at all their locations they have focused a lot of energy “to hire good people. We are only as good as the people who work at our branches, but we feel we have a staff that is second to none.”
Brumfield’s commitment to helping State Bank grow so strong ever since his father purchased the company in 1985 is evident when you learn he has lived in 11 communities, all because he wanted to be in the area where the newest branch was opening.
“Now that I’m in St. Tammany Parish I naturally love it since this is such a great place to live,” he said. “And from what I see, this parish is set to grow economically since there is so much to offer here, and that is what attracts bigger companies and more people to live here.”
Brumfield graduated from Gulfport High School in 1980 and immediately joined the Army National Guard, where he served six years as he worked his way through college.
“I really did think I would have a career in the aviation industry,” he said. “It was always something I loved and I did spend quite a few years there until my dad asked if I would be interested in the banking business. He had a growing bank and when we purchased State Bank, there was a lot more need for help.”
Brumfield took the opportunity and was trained at both the LSU and Ole Miss Schools of Banking, working in virtually every department at State Bank before settling in the commercial lending area, besides his current title of CEO over the Louisiana branches.
“We are different because we have all the bells and whistles of the biggest banks, but we’re small enough to be very personal to each person who banks with us,” he added. “It’s about being accessible to your clients, calling on them and letting them know you are right there with them as they build their business.”
The third generation of the Brumfield family is already with State Bank as his son, Joshua, is an assistant vice-president and commercial lender with their Baton Rouge branch.
For more information on the bank services, contact Brumfield at the Mandeville branch at 985-727-4345.