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Banking & Finance

Live Oak President Talks Experience, Future Of Banking

By Johanna Cano, posted Nov 2, 2018
Huntley Garriott, Live Oak Bank president, was a partner at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division where he worked for 20 years. (Photo by Johanna Cano)
Huntley Garriott, Live Oak Bank's new president, this week talked to UNCW students about his experience working at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and what the future of banking might look like.

The lecture was part of the 2018-19 Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Thursday. Chip Mahan, Live Oak chairman and CEO, was scheduled to present alongside Garriott but could not attend because he had to meet with members of the Small Business Administration and the Federal Communications Commission, Garriott said.

Garriott was announced as the new Live Oak president in April. He officially started working remotely in September as Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wilmington, he said.

As a former partner at Goldman Sachs in New York City, Garriott recalls working with North Carolina-based Wachovia Corp. bank before it was acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. during the financial crisis in 2008. There were many lessons learned about available assets, risk management, partnerships and regulations, he said.

“You really start to think about risk management in a different way and liquidity in a different way and what differentiated companies that survived and companies that didn't”, Garriott said.

This lesson prompted him to see the importance of risk management and at the same time the innovation and risk-taking that is required to grow a company, a balance that he thinks Live Oak has.

One of the things that attracted him to Live Oak was that it is big enough to compete with other banks but small enough to take risks that can incite growth.

Live Oak, a Wilmington-based financial institution founded in 2008, started by providing SBA-backed loans to businesses.

nCino, a 2012 spinoff of Live Oak Bank, provides banking software and is headed by Pierre Naudé. Since 2013, nCino has raised $133.9 million in funding.

Live Oak Bank’s parent company, Live Oak Bancshares (Nasdaq: LOB), announced in February the launch of Canapi Inc. The fintech company would test new banking technology and partner and invest with other companies, according to a news release.

Regarding the future of banking, Garriott said changes are happening, but there are more innovative ways to promote Live Oak by forming partnerships and implementing its services in more platforms.

Based on data, the U.S. banking industry has had a reduction in the number of branches, Garriott said.

“My guess is that a lot of you don't go to branches quite as often as your parents did or your grandparents did,” Garriott said. “I think that trend sort of continues, and if you look at every industry, there's fundamental technological disruption happening at a very, very core level.”

While the banking industry has not been as impacted by disruptive technology as compared to other industries, such as retail, there is a change in the way that people are engaging with financial institutions, he said.

“There are partnerships all over the place that are happening between big banks, little banks and a lot of these technology companies,” Garriott said about startups that are partnering with banks and have applications used by many consumers, including apps for financial planning or for payments.

“We at Live Oak spend a lot of time thinking about what are the products that we will need to provide to these partnerships, because going out and finding a million consumers is really hard and it's an expensive game to go out and have to market, " Garriott said. "But if there's a banking product that they need and we can design that for them and partner with them, that feels really interesting."
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