President & Chief Executive Officer
The Community Bankers Association of Georgia
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
John McNair knows effective leaders aren’t created in silos. Rather, they develop and thrive in the context of teamwork.
“Good leaders create environments in which collaboration can occur,” said McNair, president and CEO of Community Bankers Association (CBA) of Georgia.
As the leader of CBA — whose mission is to advocate for Georgia’s community banking industry — McNair strives to create a working environment in which every employee feels confident expressing their views and ideas. Empowering workers in this way “creates buy-in for all of our initiatives,” he said.
McNair joined CBA in 2018, following a 14- year tenure with the Independent Community Bankers of America. Under his helm, the CBA has continued its work to support members as they adapt and respond to various challenges of the banking and finance industry, including everchanging regulatory and cybersecurity guidelines and staffing shortages.
Though CBA was struggling financially before McNair’s tenure, under his leadership, the agency has regained its strong financial footing, allowing it to better serve community banks across the Peach State.
“Technology, personnel, revenue and expense management are all particularly challenging to navigate during good times and are exponentially more problematic to navigate during difficult times,” McNair said. “I am most proud of how my team has pulled together to overcome every obstacle that has come our way.”
McNair and his staff work diligently to help their member institutions integrate cuttingedge financial technology and banking industry best practices so they can skillfully respond to customers’ evolving service needs.
“CBA has been leading the charge to form partnerships with companies and organizations in Georgia’s vast technology ecosystem, all the while creating professional development programming and curriculum to help train Georgia’s community banks of all sizes,” McNair said. “Moving forward, the need to continue to adapt on the fly to changing market dynamics as well as technological improvements will only accelerate at a faster pace.”
McNair’s staff stays keenly focused on helping members navigate other industry hot-button issues, including rising interest rates, inflationary pressures and shifting regulatory demands.
While the past few years in the banking industry have been challenging, McNair said the recent COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have taught him a powerful leadership lesson: Extending grace and empathy to staff, customers and partners is essential.
“Leaders need to be aware of the stress and challenges that everyone has been experiencing over the past few years,” he said. “It is more important than ever for leaders to be a beacon of hope, optimism and positivity for everyone in our care and all that we touch.”
Outside of his community banking expertise, McNair is an enthusiastic education advocate. Together with his wife, Lisa, he created the McNair Family Scholarship in 2022 to offset tuition expenses for Georgia community bank employees who wish to further their education. The award will be given annually and is meant to honor Lisa’s father, Nick, who earned a degree later in life.
It has been such an honor to be recognized as a Georgia Titan. I firmly believe that the honor is not just for me, but for all of my team as well as the entire community banking industry that I represent.