The N.C. Bankers Association has named an executive with more than a quarter-century of banking industry experience as its new president and CEO.
Peter Gwaltney, 51, who will take the helm of the industry trade group Jan. 2, was CEO of the Louisiana Bankers Association from 1999 to 2006 after nine years as the group’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
For the past seven years, Gwaltney has been chairman, president and CEO of the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation in Memphis, Tenn. Funded by the banking industry, the foundation enables banks to fulfill their federally mandated requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act. The banks do that by sponsoring Senior Crimestoppers programs for low- and moderate-income senior housing facilities.
“I thought I was going to be with the foundation until I retired,” Gwaltney said.
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But he was intrigued when he got a call from the bankers association and decided that he “missed association work” after meeting with members of the board of directors.
Gwaltney added that the North Carolina association’s reputation and “the honor” of following in the shoes of current CEO Thad Woodard, whom he has known for years, were keys to his decision.
“If any other bankers association would have called, I would have said no,” Gwaltney said.
Woodard, who turns 69 this month, announced in January that he planned to retire. He became president of the Community Bankers Association in 1978 and, when that group merged with the N.C. Bankers Association in 1997, he became president of the combined organization.
Woodard said he didn’t participate in the decision to hire Gwaltney but is pleased that the organization will be in capable hands.
“Peter is terrific,” Woodard said. “He knows the business.”
Gwaltney said his first order of business is to hit the road and meet with banking executives across the state before setting an agenda.
“I’m very collaborative in my leadership style,” he said. “I’m a consensus builder. I like to listen before I act.”
Gwaltney said he first met Woodard when he became CEO of the Louisiana association at the age of 36.
“Thad became a fast friend of mine,” he said. “He put his arm around me and gave me advice – which I needed as a young CEO.”