From an early age, I developed an interest in business and banking. My mother was a community banker and my father worked in corporate loss prevention (i.e. catching thieves). As a child, my idols were my mother, my father, Dale Murphy, my fourth-grade teacher, Judy Davis, and a bank President named Scott Wilson. Their passion and excellence in their professions instilled in me five key traits:
My professional career began in 2004 with an internship at a de novo (start-up) community bank in Newnan, Georgia. Another intern and I were charged with developing an account and relationship profitability model during our summer work-study. The model we built yielded results that I later learned compared well to expected industry averages. It also highlighted the bank’s need to gather more low-cost deposits, to reduce marginal operating costs, and to sell fee-generating products. The project required learning and understanding every aspect of the accounting and operations of the business. It formed the basis for my career.
I went to work full time at the same bank after graduating college and was given a position that was well beyond my experience level. Essentially, I was responsible for helping the executives maintain and improve the bank’s operations and policies while also working on projects and research for my CEO and the Board. I knew that I was completely unqualified, so I did everything I could think of to learn quickly. I read every banking rule and regulation possible, called experts that I had just googled, and I asked everyone in the bank thousands of questions. By 2008, at the age of 25, I had helped secure millions in capital, implemented a host of new electronic banking services, installed Customer Relationship Management Software, become a relative expert in Anti-Money Laundering programs, worked extensively with regulators, contributed to our capital planning and corporate budgeting, cut enormous costs from our operations, and become the Chairperson of a local non-profit. Then, the mortgage bubble exploded.
Over the course of a year or so, my first bank painfully moved toward insolvency. After the crisis, it was taken over by a much healthier company, and I began my career in personal and business banking. In these roles, I always attempted (and often struggled) to act like the bankers I grew up admiring. Over the last eight years, I’ve been fortunate to serve as an advisor to nearly 1,000 clients in almost every industry while working for banks as small as a one-branch community bank to one of the largest in the world.
Most people who are considered stars in banking get that distinction by some combination of closing the most loans, selling the most credit cards, opening the most accounts, or whatever other product or service might be important at the time. Though I was measured by these kinds of things, I always tried to avoid selling, and instead, to focus on listening and learning. I made the effort to do things like introduce clients to each other to help increase both of their sales. If I read an article I thought might help someone, I shared it with them. When I knew a loan would be approved, but I felt like it didn’t make sense for the company, I told them, much to the detriment of my sales goals. I went to hundreds of networking events. If somebody wanted to meet, I took the meeting, even if I knew it probably wouldn’t lead to new business immediately. I worked with the churches and nonprofits that are often avoided by bankers in my role. I never turned down an opportunity to help a client no matter how far-fetched the idea.
Though I had some success based on the sales measurements, I always found myself stressed. Over the last couple of years, I knew I was approaching a crossroad. On the one hand, I had to exceed my sales goals to be considered for raises, promotions, and leadership opportunities. On the other, because I had met so many people, listened, and learned from them, I knew there was so much more I could do to help my clients besides selling them bank products. Though I tried, I knew I did not have time to do both well.
Late at night, I started asking myself what my life might look like if I weren’t a banker. What if I focus on all the things that might help my clients if I didn't have to meet sales goals? What if I could help them find a lender that was willing to take risk when one bank declined? What if I occasionally invested my own money, not my bank’s, in companies where it made sense for us both?
When I sat down and mapped out all I could offer if I didn’t have my 9-to-5 bank job, I quickly saw that my banking career needed to come to a close. I could have a more positive impact on my community, help a larger number of businesses, learn and teach more, and ultimately, represent my own values more if I started my own consulting business. With that, I launched RG3 Consulting, LLC.
Our mission is to provide our clients and partners with expert knowledge and access to financial resources that enable them to build best-of-class businesses which benefit owners, their families, and our community.
We also seek opportunities to build, acquire, sell, and/or hold investments in companies and assets that we expect will grow significantly in value over time.
We love listening, and if we can't help, we'll find somebody who can.
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