Earlier this year Coastal Commerce Bank, City Savings Bank, Kaplan State Bank, Teche Bank & Trust, and Tri-Parish Bank united as one bank to form Pedestal Bank.Headquartered in Houma, Louisiana under the same ownership and management team, Pedestal Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the state serving 11 parishes. As a community bank, Pedestal helps local residents and small businesses with their financial needs including consumer and business loan and deposit products, treasury management solutions and the latest in e-banking technology. Executive Vice President, LeBlanc “Chip” Ourso, with over 30 years of banking experience, has been a major financial influencer in the Bayou region.
How did you get into banking?
“When I got out of college in the middle of the 1980s, the economy was really bad and I worked for a local machine shop. I did their accounting, swept the floors and whatever else they needed me to do. When I got out of school, there really wasn’t any jobs available because the economy was kind of like it was couple of years ago; oil prices were way down and the business was doing badly. There was a job opening for a bank examiner, a state job, and I took that job out of Shreveport because there wasn’t a whole lot going on around here. So, that’s how I got into banking.”
What is the biggest challenge you have faced over the years and how did you meet it?
“Economic problems hurt our business just like everybody else in the area. The oil and gas economy has been up and down. The two most difficult times in my 33 years was in the mid-1980s until about 1990. And then in 2014, ‘15, ‘16, and ’17—this poor economy caused by oil and gas problems. But, we’ve gotten through it by hard work and doing the right things financially.”
What piece of advice do you share with your employees/coworkers regularly?
“We talk about taking care of our customers, being respectful. Our customers are great folks and very innovative, smart people who can make things happen. We’re very proud of our customers and work real hard to meet their needs on a daily basis. So, that’s what we talk about more than anything else is taking care of our customers and our potential customers.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
“About 20 years ago, we started a bank called Coastal Commerce Bank, and we started with nothing—a capital base, no customers. In 20 years, we are now a $1.2 billion organization. I had a little hand in making that happen over the last 20 years; I’m very proud of that.”
Who are your greatest influencers? How do you feel knowing that others list you as theirs?
“L.J. Folse for me—he founded the bank and just taught me a lot about the banking business and ways to handle various situations and economic conditions. He also taught me how to handle myself as a person. He was very influential in growing and developing me as a banker. I try to do my best every day, give them all the information like a L.J. Folse gave me, share what I know with them and let them grow as a person. It’s important for the organization to continue to be successful and for younger folks to have all the information that I have.” •