• 64°

Harrison joins First Cahawba

Jeff Harrison, who joined as a lender with First Cahawba Bank in March, said that he is just one puzzle piece for the community bank — but an important one. Harrison has a history in helping the working class individual in the finance department and this is where he can see his role in the banking world and in the Selma community as a whole.

“Bigger banks have incentives and they tell bankers to sell this and sell that — that’s not incentive stuff for me,” Harrison said. “As a community banker you are looking for their needs — do they need a loan or some advice on how to manage their money, or just the various needs that they have. Maybe they need a credit card or a debit card but are nervous about getting one.”

With generations of his family in Selma, Harrison got his start from working in finance at a small loan company in town where he said he did finance for, “people who were intimidated by the banks, just your average working guy that worked in a mill or factory and he would need a little loan here and there and money in times of an emergency.”

From there he moved to First Dallas County Bank in the 1980s when a family friend encouraged him to move into the banking world. In 1995 Harrison worked for BankTrust and has worked there up until his recent move to First Cahawba last month.

Harrison said he prefers the feel of a small town, community bank because it allows him, “more opportunities to have a more personal relationship with the customers in a less corporate setting,” he said. “Joe Doe might come in and he just doesn’t fit into the big-box bank. You know him, knew his mother, father and siblings and know his family won’t leave town in the middle of the night because they are a part of the community.”

And Harrison said those types of customers are so important and at community banks and the bank in turn treats each one as an individual.