Ashlee Radford’s title at Guaranty Bank technically is vice president and director of corporate services. However, she says her role is broader than that and requires ongoing business acumen as the banking landscape changes.
“The days of asking clients or prospects what products or services they use and taking an order are long gone,” Radford says.
For the past 17 years, three of which have been spent at Guaranty Bank, Radford has worked to personalize business banking to fit the specific needs of clients.
“I take the time to understand each business, trends within their trade and how they impact day-to-day operations,” she says. “Ultimately, I think like a business owner. Each one of my clients can always expect me to be an advocate for them.”
Although she’s built her career in banking, Radford only stumbled upon the industry when she was in high school. Through West Plains High School’s work-study program, she landed a job as teller/proof operator at First National Bank.
“My love for community banks started at that local bank,” Radford says. “I’ll forever be grateful for that jumpstart in my career and someone taking a chance on an eager kid in high school.”
Radford later became a personal banker at U.S. Bank, before continuing to climb the ladder to associate vice president at Simmons Bank. In November 2015, Radford was hired at Guaranty Bank in her current role. In 2017, Radford worked with 196 clients, representing a business banking portfolio of $70.9 million, an increase from $18.4 million the year before.
“In my 26 years of banking, rarely have I been so impressed with someone,” says Charles Puls, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Guaranty Bank. “Ashlee demonstrates leadership daily with our clients and business partners to ensure she exceeds their expectations.”
Radford says she credits her own network of professionals for helping her in banking.
“I’ve flourished in my banking career due to colleagues and people of influence mentoring me, offering their guidance and support,” she says.
Radford also engages in support of her community through involvement with several local organizations, including Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s The Network, Isabel’s House and Freedom’s Rest. She adopts the same mentality of public service on the job, creating lasting relationships and building trust in customer interactions.
“I love sitting down with clients, getting to know them and their business, their goals and their needs,” she says. “I want to build relationships with each client, not just complete their transactional request. I use my experience and expertise to turn those goals and needs into customized, specific and sometimes creative solutions to help businesses be more efficient and maximize their earnings.”
Forging those types of relationships takes time, she says, but it’s time well spent.
“I’m in awe of the faith and trust clients and colleagues have in me that exceed far beyond any product or service. I don’t take that responsibility lightly,” she says. “It’s always amazing to see each client push the limits – far beyond what they thought they could do.”
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