Georgia Southern University and BB&T recently signed an agreement to create the BB&T Executive in Residence as part of the state's Eminent Scholar Program.
BB&T donated $500,000 and the state of Georgia matched the funds during the 2012 legislative session resulting in an endowment totaling $1 million.
"We appreciate BB&T making the commitment with this endowment and helping prepare Georgia Southern students for careers in banking," said State Sen. Jack Hill, R-4. "I believe this scholar program proves to the Board of Regents that industry wants to step up and help."
The Eminent Scholar program is designed to bring top faculty to University System of Georgia institutions. This is the first eminent scholar to be funded by the program for Georgia Southern since 2009. A total sum of not less than $1,000,000 is required to endow a chair under this program. Institutions are required to endow no less than 25 percent of the total amount and can fund no more than 75 percent.
"We are extremely grateful to BB&T, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Governor Nathan Deal, and our local legislative delegation for supporting the funding of this very important position," said Georgia Southern president Brooks Keel, Ph.D. "Given the banking climate in our state and country, this position will play a major role in providing guidance on banking policy." Keel added this is a perfect example of a public-private partnership that will help students meet the challenges of the real world.
In addition to the role's focus on teaching, the position will serve as an independent and objective resource for legislators in addressing policy issues faced by rural community banks.
One major area of focus will be in the area of regulatory compliance which places a highly regressive cost burden on smaller banks in Georgia.
The new position will also expand the University's services to rural-based community credit unions. Based upon existing relationships in Bulloch and Chatham counties, the University will provide strategic planning, marketing and pricing strategy support to area financial institutions.
Joe Brannen serves as president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association. Brannen said changes in banking regulations underscore the need for positions such as these to be created.
"Two hundred of the four hundred regulatory provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have been issued and many will begin to apply to all banks as early as January 2013," Brannen said. "There are eight new mortgage related regulations alone that will go into effect at that time. From disclosure forms to how someone qualifies for a mortgage will change.
These are significant changes, and as an industry, we are concerned they could be overly stringent and prescriptive keeping many people from qualifying. So, banks are looking at a number of resources to help them understand and implement these and all the other new rules ahead. The BB&T Executive in Residence at Georgia Southern will be one of those resources."
In addition to its overall presence in Georgia, BB&T Corp. has had a major presence in Statesboro since acquiring First Banking Company of Southeast Georgia. The company was the holding company for the former First Bulloch Bank & Trust Co.
"BB&T is committed to supporting education at all levels," said John Lane, BB&T City Executive for Statesboro. "As part of our mission, BB&T strives to make the communities in which we work better places to live. The BB&T Chair of Banking is an investment in higher education that will yield graduates better prepared for a career in banking."
For more information on the University System of Georgia's Eminent Scholar Program, visit: http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/section7/policy/C460.