In parternship with Altamaha Bank & Trust

In 1946, Milton and Wallace Brogdon formed a private bank in Uvalda, GA called Brogdon Brother Bank. Mr. Brogdon decided to retire from banking in 1972 and sold the bank to a group of local investors who, seeing the potential in the bank, renamed the institution “The Altamaha Bank.” In September of 1977, the bank changed names again to “Altamaha Bank and Trust Company” and opened an office in the nearby community of Higgston, GA. Today, the bank maintains four locations and has grown to approximately $160 Million in assets. Altamaha directly serves the needs of citizens and businesses in Vidalia, Uvalda, and Hazlehurst, GA, as well as the surrounding communities. The present directors, officers, and employees of Altamaha Bank and Trust are dedicated to maintaining and growing the standard of excellence set by their predecessors and delivering on their promise of high-quality products and services.

Shan Venable has been the CTO for 5 years with 30 years’ experience, about half of that in the banking industry. At his previous bank, he had experienced virtualization and Citrix software, so he knew coming into this position that was the direction he wanted to go. After completing a successful server virtualization and storage project, he reached out to Citrix and was introduced to Conversant Group. He needed a partner who knew Citrix well, as he knew how complex the implementation could be. What he found with Conversant Group was a vendor that cared equally about the relationship and technology. He was seeking a vendor that wasn’t transactional but wanted a long-term relationship with him and the bank.

The first project that Conversant Group did with Altamaha in 2015 was Citrix Virtual Desktops with NetScalers. This environment was upgraded in 2017, and from 2018 to 2019, Conversant Group assisted with the migration from Silver Sky to Office 365. HPE SimpliVity supports the data center infrastructure. Combined with their Meraki switching and Wi-Fi with the cloud management, this infrastructure has provided for all their needs: Conversant Group also assisted Altamaha with the implementation of Meraki switching.

With the infrastructure already in place before the pandemic hit, Altamaha had the flexibility and capability to continue their normal day to day operations. While many other banks were scurrying around attempting to build solutions, Altamaha was ready to send 50% of the workforce homeward, securely. Many of Shan’s peers were asking how they did this and how they could accomplish it.

Altamaha currently deploys IGEL thin clients in their training environment. They also make use of Chromebooks as laptops. Chromebooks combined with Citrix virtual desktop has allowed their users to do everything they need to from home. With the pandemic, their management decided to send 50% of the workforce home and keep 50% at the bank, which they alternate back and forth. As a bank, security is at the forefront of everything they do. With the infrastructure they had in place, they were able to scale easily to meet the higher demand. DocuSign was already implemented, so they were able to help hundreds of small businesses secure Payroll Protection Program [PPP] loans to get them through the pandemic.

When attending conferences with his peers, Shan has found that this small community bank has the technology and capabilities that are on par with the “Big Boys”. They have found that they can enable these capabilities for their customers and staff without having to “break the bank” on spending. He found that he had a board and management that understood if they leveraged technology, Altamaha could be that community relationship bank wanted by customers and could have the same technology as the “Big Boys” without having to spend like them. They had a business continuity plan in place that contained pandemic contingencies which was tested annually.

“Our technology stacks up with those (banks) that are in the billion-dollar range.”
Shan Venable – CTO Altamaha Bank and Trust

“Conversant Group has the skill set and the people that are relationship driven to help you succeed in those projects you are trying to get accomplished.”
Shan Venable – CTO Altamaha Bank and Trust