Louis Prichard, Central Kentucky Market President for Stock Yards Bank & Trust, sat down with Building Kentucky to discuss his career, the current state of the economy, and more.
Building Kentucky: What do you love about being a community banker?
Louis Prichard: It really comes down to the culture of getting to know your customers. We see our customers out at the grocery store, at restaurants, civic events, church, the synagogue, the park. Because we ourselves are a small business, we know the needs of the small business owners in our community and do our part to help them through the successes, but also the hardships. When you really know the people you’re working with, you’re able to be more nimble and empathetic in response to the challenges they face.
Building Kentucky: Break down your career for us. Why did you choose this field and why Stock Yards Bank?
Louis Prichard: My banking career traces back to September 15, 1976 when I began working for Citizen’s Fidelity Bank, which was later purchased by PNC. I had the opportunity to work with David Grissom, who served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Centre College for more than 20 years, and he really instilled in me that banking is about people. When I started out I didn’t know I would stay in banking, I just knew I enjoyed getting to know the people and the businesses that came through the door. I have a front-row seat to my community’s growth and success through the business leaders and community members that I interact with every day.
Building Kentucky: What’s one of your personal success stories?
Louis Prichard: When COVID hit, we as community banks really came together on the Paycheck Protection Program loans. Many of the customers we helped hadn’t been able to get satisfactory answers from the big banks about how to get the ball rolling, but we were able to help with just shy of $1 billion in PPP loans. And as a result, we drew in new customers and were able to help more small businesses in our community succeed.
Building Kentucky: What are some of the challenges you’re seeing small business clients face?
Louis Prichard: The uncertainty of the economy is really throwing a curveball at our clients. We’re seeing a fairly rapid increase in interest rates after they’ve been low for a relatively long time. We need to help them navigate that and one of the ways is debt restructuring which sometimes has a negative connotation, but it shouldn’t. We’re working to make sure our clients know that’re were there to help them through this and to keep the lines of communication open to best serve their needs.
Building Kentucky: For younger folks who may not have been around during the Great Recession, how would you say the state of the economy compares now?
Louis Prichard: Well, I’d first say that we’re thankfully much better prepared. Banks have worked diligently so we’d be prepared for the next economic bump in the road. As a bank, we’ve been smart about our capital structure, how we extend credit, and who we choose to do business with which has allowed us to grow profitably and at a reasonable rate, but also provide the level of care our customers need.
Building Kentucky: Tell us about the SHOWdown Lex concert with Darius Rucker.
Louis Prichard: It’s going to be a lot of fun. We expect about 10,000 people to come out and not only see some great music from country stars, but also to support a great cause. It’s an opportunity to help Kentucky Children’s Hospital combat the unfortunate rise of illnesses in young people, especially childhood cancer. $2 from every ticket is going to be donated and then we’re matching those donations, so it’s a great chance for us to support those in our community who are struggling. We have a corporate obligation to make communities better. If we’re driving and growing, we have an obligation to help the community grow and thrive as well.
Building Kentucky: You’ve been in banking for a very long time. What separates Stock Yards Banks from other banks?
Louis Prichard: It’s unusual to find a bank of our size as committed to the community banking model as we are. We’re the largest publicly traded Kentucky-based bank, but to us success is not about being bigger, it’s about being better for our community. Investing in our neighborhoods, getting involved in local affairs, and really getting to know our customers one at a time is what sets us apart.
Building Kentucky: How do you get involved in your community?
Louis Prichard: When I was in Danville for many years I was involved in lots of different organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Shakertown, the United Way, The YMCA, Main Street Association, Commerce Lexington, and the KY Bankers Association. Last year I was chair of Lex Arts Annual Campaign, which was a really great way to connect to the vibrant culture and arts scene we have here in central Kentucky.