Where there’s a Barber, there’s a banker.
For nearly 40 years, ServisFirst Bank Atlanta President and CEO Ken Barber has served the metro Atlanta banking community, beginning with the First National Bank of Atlanta at age 21. Ten years later, Barber started Citizens & Merchants Bank in Douglasville, serving as CEO and as a Board Member for 14 years.
In 2001, Barber built upon his experience of securing charters to secure the charger for Cobb County’s Georgian Bank. Six years later, Metro Bank in Douglasville became Barber’s third bank chartered and, that same year, Barber chartered Metro Bank and grew assets to $230 million before being purchased by ServisFirst Bancshares.
In 2015, followed the closing of a merger between ServisFirst and Metro Bancshares, Inc. Barber was named president and CEO of ServisFirst Bank Atlanta.
“I’m very familiar with the Atlanta market so I’m thrilled to lead ServisFirst through this next phase in the company,” Barber said.
But before Barber became a banking guru, he was an Air Force brat. His father retired from the Air Force and got a job at Lockheed, which brought them from Savannah to the area when he was in third grade and he finished his schooling in Douglasville before attending the University of West Georgia, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the University of Georgia Banking School and serves on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, including the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, WellStar Foundation and Georgia Banker’s Association.
Barber currently lives on a 76-acre farm in Carroll County with his wife, Susan, 10-year-old son, donkeys, a horse and plenty of dogs (his two daughters are grown, although he said they do visit the farm from time to time). Barber said he starts his day at the Douglasville ServisBank location as traffic dies down then makes his way to his main office in Cumberland.
Staying in Cobb County is important, Barber said, because the leadership is always strong, taxes are low and proximity to the city and airport is great. One concern he has for Cobb County, however, is the prospect of losing Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
“In the next three to four years, one will be closed but Dobbins has a $3.5 billion economic impact to Cobb County and provides 20,000 jobs. I don’t care what industry you’re in, it’s important to keep that in your community,” Barber said.
During his 40 years in banking, Barber has seen plenty of changes but one trend he sees coming is a decline in brick-and-mortar banks as people have turned more toward online and mobile banking rather than driving to the bank and talking to a teller.
“In the next five to 10 years, there are going to be less people providing these services but instead more specialized employees and less branches. It’s still a people and relationship-driven business, but you can run your operations without having a lot of branches. If they need to consult with someone, they can and will always be able to, but otherwise, they’ll use an app,” Barber said.
ServisFirst Bank is a full-service commercial bank, focused on commercial banking, correspondent banking, cash management, private banking and the professional consumer market. The bank was founded in Birmingham, Ala. And grew throughout Alabama into Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina before expanding into Georgia in January 2015.
Recently, the Bank announced its assets exceed $6 billion.
Six months after moving into the Atlanta market, ServisFirst opened its headquarters in the Atlanta Galleria Office Park and has since expanded to open branches in Douglasville and Kennesaw.
“The opportunities within the metro Atlanta area are phenomenal,” Barber said. “The professional bankers that have joined our team have networks and relationships throughout the entire geographic area. They are continuing to concentrate on cash and credit solutions for small to medium size businesses in addition to providing personal relationship based banking services.”