The Slant Podcast

Five months ago, we started The Slant Podcast — so named to align it with our monthly Slant e-newsletter — because it was another way to connect our readers with some of the interesting people we ordinarily only write about. 

Podcasts offer the listener a very different kind of engagement than a reader would experience in a written interview. It’s more personal — more visceral. For me, the podcast experience has been a refreshing change after a long career in print journalism. I’ve done thousands of interviews but never for an audio format. In a podcast, a good interviewer submerges a measure of their own unique voice – and here I’m using the concept of voice as one might refer to a writer’s “voice” or distinct personality that comes out in their writing — while the person being interviewed comes across more as they actually are rather than as they are perceived to be, or interpreted, by the writer in print or online mediums.

Put another way, they come across less filtered. They speak for themselves.

The fifth and latest edition of The Slant Podcast is a conversation I had with F. Scott Dueser, chairman and CEO of First Financial Bankshares in Abilene, Texas. Dueser runs one of the top performing banks in the country and has for years. In the most recent Bank Performance Scorecard, Bank Director ranks it the nation's No. 2 bank in the $5 billion to $50 billion asset category. In our interview, we touched on a number of topics, ranging from some of the attributes that have enabled First Financial to operate at such a high level for such a long time, to a near-disastrous photo shoot in 2014 when I went to Abilene to report a cover story about the bank. 

Dueser’s description of the First Financial strategy testifies to the fact that banking is an execution business. There is nothing that First Financial does – whether it’s focusing on customer service, picking its market locations in a very thoughtful way, or figuring out what it does best and sticking to it – that any other bank couldn’t do. 

The difference is that First Financial does it better than almost anybody else.

If you’re new to The Slant Podcast, you can find all five interviews on the BankDirector.com website. Click on the “Membership” tab at the top of the home page, then select “Member Content.” Scroll down through the listings, which include exclusive articles for Bank Services members, until you come to each podcast.

Here’s a quick description of the other installments:
  • A Bridge Between East and West. Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bancorp in Los Angeles, talks about the bank’s mission to bring east and west together, and his fight against Asian American prejudice and violence.
  • A Bigger Purpose. Dan Fagan, CEO of Tradition Capital Bank in Minneapolis, describes how his deep Christian faith led to a larger mission for the bank than just making loans and collecting deposits. This is an incredible example of community banking.
  • What Huntington’s Steve Steinour Expects From His Board. Steinour, the chairman and CEO at Huntington Bancshares, offers a highly enlightened view of corporate governance. I consider Huntington to have one of the best governance cultures in all of banking.
  • A Second Act for Richard Davis. Davis details his personal journey from chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp to CEO of Make-A-Wish. Davis was inspirational as a banker, and he’s just as inspirational when he talks about the difference Make-A-Wish works in the lives of sick children.

I hope you enjoy those conversations as much as I did. And please watch for them in every monthly edition of The Insider newsletter. 
Jack Milligan is editor-at-large of Bank Director, an information resource for directors and officers of financial companies. You can connect with Jack on Twitter at @BankDirectorEd.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

F. Scott Dueser, CEO at First Financial Bankshares, talks about factors behind this perennial high performer's success, his stance on Covid-19 vaccine mandates – and an ill-fated cover shoot for Bank Director magazine in 2014.

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About Bank Director
Since its inception in 1991, Bank Director has been a leading information resource for senior officers and directors of financial institutions. Chairmen, CEOs, CFOs, presidents and directors of banks and financial institutions turn to Bank Director to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of the financial services industry.