An Interview With Jeff Hudson, Memphis, Tennessee Market President
What’s your story? Where did you grow up and have you always lived in Tennessee?
I grew up in Nashville when it was a step child to Memphis and not much more than a country music mecca with a world-renowned University and very little traffic. I went to Ole Miss and stayed in Memphis, Tennessee. I have been in banking since 1978.
How did you get into banking?
My first job was in Dallas working for Ross Perot and hated it. I moved back to Memphis after a few months and lived with a cousin until I found a job in banking at Union Planters. I tried to leave banking but was offered an opportunity to be the number two guy and a director with a startup bank in Memphis. We ran it for 13 years and sold it. I stayed in banking after that.
How is the culture different at FirstBank compared to larger banks?
The autonomy in each market allows FirstBank to execute as a community bank. Empowerment leads to credibility and the market buys in to the presentation. People want to bank with people, not organizations.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Assembling a great, experienced team that makes an impactful contribution to the company.
Describe a typical day at the office.
Typical is not in our vocabulary. A variety of opportunities prevail to shake up the days in our office. This is due largely because we are known in our community as “can do” bankers. We feel like we are professionals playing against amateurs.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An airline pilot, but due to a really bad case of myopia, that was not possible.
What do you like best about being a community banker?
Offering solutions to individuals and business owners to help them prosper.
As a Market President, what’s your vision for FirstBank in Memphis?
Continuing to bring positive attention to our brand and attracting competent and professional individuals to enhance our presence in the market.
Describe your market area in three words from a banking perspective.
Overbanked, competitive and transparent.
What is your Memphis known for?
Elvis, BBQ, transportation and unfortunately high crime.
What do you like best about life there?
Affordable and easy lifestyle.
If we got in your car and turned on some music, what are some songs that would be on your playlist, CD or favorite radio station?
Tom Petty, Eagles, 70’s and 80’s rock. No country!
If you could give your 20-year old self one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?
If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. The first time you get caught guessing and guess wrong, you’ve lost all credibility. That’s something you can’t get back.
Have you ever had a mentor who made a difference in your life? How so?
My father who always did the right thing regardless of the consequences.
What is your life motto?
There’s a heaven on earth that so few ever find. But through the maps in your soul and the roads in your mind, look for it and you will find it. And always remember to laugh when you can.
Describe your perfect vacation.
Anywhere that my staff can’t reach me on my call phone. My favorite place is the Villas of the Galleon Condos in the Cayman Islands.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor sports?
The outdoors. The beauty of our Creator is always on display especially if you take a moment to just look around.
FirstBank is a 2023 Top Workplace as recognized by the Tennessean. To determine which large, midsize and small companies are the best to work for in Middle Tennessee, the Tennessean partnered with industry research company Energage to conduct a survey. We are proud to receive this award 9 years running!