Traditions Bank Charter Board Member Paul Kilker founded GGS Information Systems 30 years ago. His company now has 1,500 employees in offices throughout the world, yet he has made chairing the Audit Committee a priority since the bank’s inception. He has never missed a meeting. Paul explains why he considers it one of his most important roles.
What does the bank’s Audit Committee do?
There are so many ways a bank must protect itself. The committee acts as a watchdog, helps identify and provide oversight to the bank’s management of potential risks, and makes certain that the bank and its vendors are following all of the necessary rules and regulations.
This especially holds true for cybersecurity. Not only do we look at issues facing all banks, we are continually reviewing and evaluating the defenses we’ve put in place to protect the bank from both external and internal penetrations. It’s a constant and evolving threat, and banks are targets. We take it very seriously.
What value do you bring to the position?
My business background and expertise of technology allows me to look at a situation from a completely different point of view. I may be able to see things that someone close to the numbers may not notice. It’s important to have a skeptical eye. I strive to do my due diligence before every meeting and arrive with a set of questions to keep everyone on their toes. Accountability is critical for the success of the bank.
You’ve had the opportunity to compare and contrast Traditions Bank with other banks throughout the world. What are our distinguishing characteristics?
Having offices in many other countries, I deal with banks of all types and sizes. Many of them have zero customer focus. It’s very difficult because I know what true customer service feels like. It’s so important, both personally and professionally, to have a bank that is a true partner. Traditions Bank does an outstanding job of staying right next to you, being responsive, and making life easier.
Why do you feel it’s important to be involved in a community bank?
When I first started my business in 1988, I remember going through a lot of rejections from banks in this area. My initial reason for getting involved in the formation of a new bank in 2002 was the desire to provide a vehicle for small and medium-size businesses to gain their footing. Being able to watch the progress, from start-up phase to what it’s grown into today, has been amazing. I find it extremely rewarding to be involved in an organization that has as much impact on people’s lives as this bank does. I’m very proud of what Traditions Bank has contributed to the community and to play a role in helping the bank grow.
Are there lessons from your experience as a bank board member that you have applied to your own business?
When the bank was founded, we set a very high bar as we created our Core Values and culture, and we’ve worked hard to preserve them as we’ve grown. I’ve learned that maintaining a strong culture is fundamental to success, whether it’s a community bank or an international company.
It’s also been eye opening to learn about the complexity of a bank and the responsibility of safeguarding customers’ funds. Most business owners don’t have that perspective, and I’ve become a better leader because of it.
Over the last few decades, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively and experience a lot. I consider my involvement as a Traditions Bank Director to be one of my top life-changing adventures.
Learn more about our Board of Directors here.