Bruce Crawford is a self-described “people person,” and in his position as Montgomery CEO at BBVA, he gets to put his interpersonal skills to good use while also reaping rewards from the countless relationships he forges and fosters in his job.How long have you worked for BBVA? 23 years
How many employees does BBVA have in the River Region? BBVA has seven branches and 75 employees in the Montgomery MSA.
Are you from Montgomery? I grew up on a working cattle farm in West Alabama between Demopolis and Greensboro, in Prairie Eden to be exact. Growing up in that environment was like a wonderful dream. After college I was in search of a job and chose to settle in Montgomery.
What got you interested in banking? In 1982, a friend put me in touch with Bryan Poole, who at the time headed the Credit Administration for First Alabama Bancshares, the holding company for then-First Alabama Bank. I was hired, and the opportunity soon opened my eyes to the broad and intricate aspects of banking that I found interesting, enjoyable and rewarding. I am a people person and enjoy the daily interaction with team members, clients, prospective clients, civic and community volunteers and leaders.
What are the duties and responsibilities of your position? I am responsible for all aspects of commercial and wealth banking for the Montgomery area market and central Mississippi.
What is your favorite aspect of your job? I enjoy the significant responsibility of my job, as well as the wonderful people with whom I have the opportunity to interact, both within the bank and externally.
How much has banking changed in the last decade, and how is BBVA adapting and keeping up? More than anything, people want choices and the flexibility to bank in the way that’s most convenient for them. While many consumers are happy to handle transactions online -- moving money, paying bills, etc. -- there are other times when they prefer a human to help them. BBVA has worked hard to develop its award-winning mobile banking app and online tools to provide a fully digital service without sacrificing the human relationships at the heart of banking. Having a relationship with a local banker means you have someone to talk to about what to expect with your first mortgage application or talk through your savings goals and how to achieve them.
What specific challenges is BBVA (and banking in general) facing related to COVID-19? The personal and economic impact of the pandemic is the biggest challenge facing the banking industry right now. Our first priority is to ensure the health and wellness of our employees and our customers. We have temporarily shifted the way we do business, relying heavily on phone and video conversations in lieu of face-to-face meetings whenever
possible. We are taking advantage of the digital foundation we have in place to provide access to account information and to many transactions, as well. And finally, we are working hard to ensure our customers have access to the tools and resources they need — whether from us, from the government or from other sources — to help navigate our “new normal”.
Why do you and BBVA choose to be so involved with and supportive of The Chamber and its work? I view the Chamber’s overall mission as working to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Montgomery and the River Region and to improve economic development to provide jobs and opportunities for the citizens. As a past Chamber Chairman, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the many impactful missions the Chamber accomplishes on a daily basis, be they economic development, support for small
business, military affairs, workforce development or visitors and tourism efforts, to name a few.
What are your interests outside of work? My family first and foremost, including four amazing grandchildren; wing shooting with my good friends; Gulf fishing with the “Fish Boys”; and just being outside in nature.
Together, We Can
Bruce Crawford praised capital city stakeholders’ willingness and ability to collaborate and stressed that this strong community-focused spirit will serve the area well in the coming months. “Montgomery has an excellent business climate due primarily to the way our business leaders, elected officials and civic/ community leaders all work together to help create opportunities. This environment of cooperation will prove itself an enormous benefit as we all work through this financial crisis together,” he said.