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Walters retires from Chattahoochee bank board
Local banking pioneer helped found business in 2008
1027Jim Walters
Jim Walters

Jim Walters, founding chairman of Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia’s Board of Directors, has retired from the Gainesville bank he helped start in 2008.

“Mr. Walters has been a driving force behind the success of our bank,” Chattahoochee Bank President and CEO Jody Lail said in a news release. “We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to draw on his knowledge and experience to guide us through the process of organization, opening our doors for business and growing to serve the community these last four years.”

Walters was one of 12 organizing directors for the bank, located at 643 E.E. Butler Parkway, and led it as it grew to more than $95 million in assets. Recently the bank also earned a five-star superior rating from BauerFinancial Inc.

Walters said his reason for retirement was simple: On Sept. 13, he reached the retirement age of 75, set when the bank was formed.

“Initially when we formed the bank, our consultants said traditionally 70 is the retirement age we usually recommend to banks that we offer advice to,” he said. “Of course, I said ‘we’ll have to fix that because I’m already 70.’ So we changed our operating agreement to read ‘75.’”

Walters said he’s confident in the bank’s staff and his replacement, Wendell Starke, who was previously serving as vice-chariman.

“He’s a very, very qualified individual. We were lucky to have him on the board with us,” Walters said. “... he has a good business background and certainly will lead the bank forward very nicely.”

Starke owns The Starke Cos., which manage 11 radio stations, a ranch and aquaculture business in Idaho and real estate developments and property in Georgia, North Carolina and Idaho. Starke’s replacement, Doug McMahan, is the former owner of McMahan Transportation Co. Inc. and Truck Service Inc. and was a partner with Tri-Gas & Oil Co. Inc.

Though Walters will be leaving the bank in their hands, he certainly won’t be living the retired life.

He’ll continue his work as president and CEO of Walters Management Co. in Gainesville, which serves 110 consumer finance companies in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. Walters is also involved in commercial real estate and various other interests, including insurance companies, a yellow pages advertising company and two software companies, he said.

“I’ve got 10 women I’ve got to support. I can’t quit,” he said laughing.


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