Live Oak Bank President Shares Wealth of Knowledge with UNCW Audience

Friday, November 02, 2018

On Thursday, hundreds of students gathered in UNCW’s Burney Center to hear from a man in a position many of them aspire to be in.

Huntley Garriott, Live Oak Bank president, presented “The Innovator and the Advisor” as part of the 2018-19 Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series. The series was created by UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli to bring business and civic leaders to campus to interact with students. James S. (Chip) Mahan III, chairman and CEO of Live Oak Bank, was scheduled to speak as well, but had to leave town for business.

“Today’s guest speaker has extensive experience in financial growth, risk management and business investment. Live Oak Bank is one of the most gigantic, important firms in the city,” said the chancellor in his welcoming remarks.

Less than a month into his second career which he credits to “Chip’s persistence and patience,” Garriott shared life lessons learned from where he sat in the financial crisis of the previous decade: in many seats inside of Goldman Sachs, whom many blamed for the crash.

As a student at the University of Virginia, Garriott contemplated many majors before an economics professor pushed him to pursue internship opportunities in Charlotte, NC and New York City. Though “terrified of Times Square” and not Ivy League-educated, he lasted 20 years at Goldman Sachs.

Live Oak Bank started out 10 years ago lending to veterinarians and has branched out into other industries. nCino is Live Oak’s tech arm, producing Cloud-based software operating systems for banks. They also partnered with First Data for another spinoff, Apiture, to market online and mobile banking platforms. The companies employ many UNCW graduates and take the approach to embed banking where businesses do business, as fewer people actually go to a physical bank today.

“The human side of business is understanding companies, understanding industries and how they make decisions. Good people and technology are the DNA of entrepreneurship and innovation,” he said. “Raising more capital and putting numbers in a box is not always the answer.”

In his concluding remarks, he emphasized the criticalness of adaptability as 75% of jobs won't be what they are today in the next few decades.

-- Caroline Cropp