Danny Siau came to banking through an unlikely route. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that banking came to him.
South Atlantic’s North Coast Regional Executive received the call to the banking industry in the late 80s while working as a yard supervisor at the port of Georgetown. As ships came to port to drop their load of Canadian spruce, Danny would count the load and add it to the inventory. When trucks came to pick up the wood, he’d subtract it from the inventory.
“I guess I was pretty good at counting,” Danny said.
A local banker who went to church with Danny saw potential. She came down to the port one day to pitch Danny on making a career change.
“I was standing on a stack of lumber in the 90-degree heat. I’m in my tank top and hard hat, and they’re down there in their suits saying, ‘Come down and talk to us about being a banker.’ I looked at them like they’d lost their minds.”
About a month later, shipping rates went up and lumber started trafficking through Raleigh instead of Georgetown. Banking started to look pretty good to Danny.
Danny trained as a teller, a service rep, a credit lender, and a commercial lender, then went on to work as a retail lender. For the next few decades, Danny worked for several banks in Georgetown County, and also had the opportunity to help work in multiple counties throughout the South Carolina coastline. He saw firsthand that South Carolina residents and businesses need a South Carolina bank.
“People don’t like the idea of decisions being made up in New Jersey or somewhere,” he said. “Customers want decisions made locally, by people who understand them and their market.”
As his career progressed, Danny made connections and friendships with executives who went on to found SAB in 2007. Danny joined the team in 2013, working to grow SAB’s commercial lending presence from North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown.
“Every market you set foot in always has some unique culture, and the culture of South Carolina is embedded with history and pride. Generations of businesses have survived, and they want their banker to understand that significance,” Danny said.
“We know our customers better than other banks. As a result, we can differentiate ourselves by being responsive and effective.”
The COVID-19 pandemic put Danny’s claims to the test. During the first round of PPP loans, SAB generated $90 million in PPP to help their customers and communities in their time of need. Because they performed so well and so quickly, SAB gained a rush of new customers.
“We’re a young bank, but all of us know each other so well, and that alone generates more possibilities,” he said. “The future is bright because of our talent and culture. For me, I get to come to work with my best friends every day. I can’t think of a better job than that.”