G.G. Cutter recently retired from First Palmetto Bank after serving as a banker for 41 years. During that time, he racked up notoriety, as well as several awards and accolades, including a 2017 "Best Bank Loan Officer" award from The Manning Times. Cutter sat down for an Editors Office Interview, to discuss his journey to retirement, as well as his plans for the future.
Editor, Jake McElveen: So you recently retired.
G.G. Cutter: Yes, I did, from First Palmetto Bank.
E: How long did you work there?
G: I worked at First Palmetto Bank for about 25 years, but I've been in banking for nearly 41 years.
E: When you first entered banking, what was your job?
G: When I first entered banking, I worked with home federal savings and loans. I was a home mortgage loan officer. That's all we did back then. We took CD's, Savings accounts, and mortgage loans. That was my responsibility. Later, we merged with South Carolina Federal out of Columbia. New regulations came in, and we were allowed to offer checking accounts and consumer loans as a full-service bank.
E: What happened then?
G: Well, I stayed with them for a while, and then we merged with 1st Union. In 1995, they sold my branch, and two others, to First Palmetto in Camden.
E: And you did the same work for First Palmetto?
G: With First Palmetto, and South Carolina Federal, I was in charge of the Manning Office. Consumer loans, commercial loans, mortgage loans, all of it; I ran the branch.
E: With that long in the banking industry, do you have any tips on saving money?
G: It's tough; banking has changed in the past 40 years.
E: How so?
G: Mostly regulations. We used to know our customers and be able to lend them money. Their credit might not have been the best, but we would loan them money, and they would pay us back. Now, pretty much everything is credit-driven. If you don't have good credit, you are out of luck.
E: You know I have always wondered how someone with a credit score of 0 builds their credit.
G: Well, there are several ways you can build your credit score. Most people get someone to cosign on a note. They get their parents too. But a lot of people don't realize that if the person they cosigned on doesn't pay their bill, it reflects on their score as well. A lot of people also get a small credit card and pay it back, monthly and on time. But one thing I've learned is that if you have good credit, you can get about anything you need.
E: So take me back to after graduation, when did you first start working at the bank?
G: I finished the University of South Carolina, and went to work with Darren Milligan in Greenville. I stayed there for two years, and then came back to Elloree to run a Truck Dealership. Then in 1978, I was offered the job at the bank. I believe I was 28 years old.
E: Man, I love Greenville.
G: Back then, it was not like it is now. I mean, it was a neat place, but the growth and expansion had not happened yet.
E: What did you go to USC for?
G: I majored in Business Management. And like I said, I took a job with Milligan and had about 20 women working for me in the Mill.
E: Did you have any idea this is what you were going to do when you were in High School?
G: No, actually, what I wanted to do was coach. I dreamed about coaching.
E: You actually look like a coach.
G: Well, I have coached. I got married in '75 and started coaching little league. From then on, I coached American Legion in Manning for 16 years. Right now, I'm coaching a B-team baseball team at Laurence Manning. My nephew volunteered me for that position.
E: Did you play any sports in High School or College?
G: Actually, I played all sports at Manning High School; Baseball, basketball, and football. Then I played college baseball at Spartanburg Methodist for two years before I transferred to South Carolina. I tried out for the baseball team at USC, but I didn't have the time.
E: So, retirement, any big plans?
G: Actually, I do. I'm going to work with Scott Wannamaker. He's a real estate agent here in Clarendon County. I've had my real estate license for 25 years, but it's been inactive. It'll be a nice new industry that I am sort of familiar with, considering my work as a mortgage loan officer. February 1st is my first official day.
E: Well, that is all for me; it has been a pleasure talking with you today.
G: And you as well.