Security Federal Savings Bank President and CEO C. Todd Thompson finds happiness in helping his customers achieve their dreams
Words by Terrell Manasco | Image by Blakeney Clouse
In the early 1970s, C. Don Thompson and his wife, Jo’el, left their Huntsville home and settled in the quaint hamlet of Jasper with their young daughter and son. Thompson, a banker, had recently agreed to join nine other businessmen in a new venture. In April 1971, Security Federal Savings and Loan Association of Jasper, Alabama, became a reality.
C. Todd Thompson was four years old when he moved with his parents to this Walker County town. As a Walker High School student, Todd spent summers doing loan audits at the bank. At that time, he wasn’t interested in banking as a career but didn’t know what he wanted to do. After graduating in 1984, he majored in business for a year at Auburn University, then transferred to the University of Alabama the second year.
On January 8, 1987, Todd returned to Jasper and decided to give banking another try. “I ended up coming back to work at the bank as a teller and finished school at night,” he says.
Todd graduated from Athens College with a B.S. in 1993, got a graduate degree from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU in 1999, and earned his master’s at Troy University in 2006. During that time, he also gained experience working in accounting, operations, and mortgage and consumer lending.
“The years in the loan department were some of the best and most satisfying,” Todd says. “I was dealing strictly with customers and trying to see to those needs. A lot of times it’s the best times of their life because they are buying that first house or a new car. Other times they are having challenging times and they need your help.”
In 2006, two years before the financial market plummeted, Todd was named president and CEO when his father retired. “You know, I accuse Dad of knowing it was coming because he had just stepped down,” Todd jokes. “About a year and a half later, the bottom fell out of the market. We saw a lot of banks fail and go through mergers of necessity. We saw a lot of change and a lot of stress.”
But even as black clouds of chaos and uncertainty loomed overhead, there was the proverbial silver lining. “For the first five years, we did not have a single foreclosure when foreclosures were rampant in our market,” Todd says. “We did not have to displace a single family during that time.”
Todd has always placed a high premium on customer service. He first became involved with the Jasper Kiwanis Club about 25 years ago. He currently serves on the board but in the past has served as president and treasurer. You may have seen him at a function sporting a navy blue blazer emblazoned with the Kiwanis logo. The jacket was a gift from long-time Kiwanian Judge Stanley A. Wade shortly before he passed away.
In addition to his work with the Kiwanians, Todd has served on the Walker County Arts Alliance board. His dad, he says, taught him the importance of community service. “He was a big Lions Club member. I remember selling mops and brooms out of the back of a Cushman we had bought from the police department,” Todd recalls. “You’re a part of the community. You’re nothing without your customers and they come from the community. That’s who we work for.”
In his free time, Todd loves spending time with his three children: Kassie, 32, Justin, 27, and Ellesse, 24, and his granddaughter, Zadi. He also enjoys hang gliding, skydiving, and whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.
A few years ago, Todd discovered a new pastime, motorcycling. Whenever possible, he straps on a helmet, hops on his 2016 Street Glide, and hits the open road. “I’ve been through about 19 states…been out West three times,” he says.
The business has seen a few changes in the last several decades. In 1979, the bank relocated from its 19thstreet location on the square to a new building on Third Avenue. In 1986, it converted to a stock institution and the name was changed to Security Federal Savings Bank.
One thing, however, has not changed. “We continue to remain an independent, locally-owned bank that is still serving Walker County. That’s been our mission from the beginning,” Todd says. “We’re a full-service bank as far as our deposit accounts, and we continue to be one of the safest rated banks in the country. We’re financing people’s homes, cars, basically financing their dreams.” 78