Business: Meet Kirk, the VP of Financial Planning at Hancock Whitney
Interviewer: Lillian Huang; June 5, 2020
Interviewee: Kirk Fricke, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning @ Hancock Whitney in New Orleans, LA
Kirk is the Senior Vice President of Financial planning at Hancock Whitney, a Regional Gulf State Financial Institution (Kirk Fricke).
Could you tell us about yourself and your occupation? How does it impact the local community?
I am currently the Senior Vice President of Financial Planning at Hancock Whitney, a Regional Gulf State Financial Institution with a presence in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and even New York. My job involves helping the employees of my company become better financial planners so that our clients are better served. We believe that through planning, our clients have a greater chance of achieving success as they define it. We support the company’s efforts to help people accomplish their financial goals, dreams, and retirement plans. Hancock Whitney as a whole includes the Bank and its many parts, as well as an investment division. The banking component consists of all sorts of banking functions, from providing checking and savings accounts & credit cards, to small business loans and even commercial lending. The investment side helps everyday and high net worth investors with their investments, insurance, and overall financial planning needs.
How has COVID-19 affected your company and the way that it runs?
COVID-19 has affected my company and the way that it runs by forcing us to change and become flexible in several areas. The first is through our increased implementation of technology, including e-signatures, as well as the electronic delivery and receipt of documentation. We have also increased our electronic and phone-based communication structure as well as branch guidelines for safe face-to-face client interactions. Our goal is to show our clients that we are still available to them; both from a financial perspective, as well as out of concern for their health and well-being. To maintain and grow our relationships with clients during COVID-19, we have also increased our use of virtual interface tools like WebEx. We want to stay on top of engaging with our clients to do what we have always done: prioritizing their needs, assisting them with their finances, and helping them plan their futures.
Hancock Whitney employees coming together to help the community (Hancock Whitney).
It can be assumed that things will never be the same after COVID-19. How do you think society and the way that we interact with one another will change after this outbreak?
I actually believe that society and the way that we interact with one another will remain largely the same after COVID-19. However, there will be more of an openness and flexibility regarding the idea that business can also occur virtually. In fact, this outbreak has helped many of us realize that there are ways in which business can even be more efficient and productive when conducted online as opposed to in person. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize my belief that face-to face interaction will always be vital and remain a priority for success in business. Conducting business online and meeting clients virtually is not an adequate substitute for in-person contact.
"...This outbreak has helped many of us realize that there are ways in which business can even be more efficient and productive when conducted online as opposed to in person."
If you are willing to share, how has COVID-19 affected you individually and your family?
I’m very thankful that my family and loved ones haven’t experienced any serious physical issues due to COVID-19. However, emotionally, my family, friends, and I have been negatively impacted because we feel that COVID-19 is challenging some of our freedoms and lessening our control over personal choices and decisions. This has created emotional stress, anxiety, and concern amongst us. Though I understand that certain things need to be controlled by the government for the greater good, it feels like there’s too much regulation occurring and it is inconsistent. I wish to have more freedom to exercise my ability to act of my own free will and common sense. I would like to know that my future and destiny can be influenced by my own decisions and actions.
"This has created emotional stress, anxiety, and concern amongst us."
What is the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak?
I think the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak is not to live in excessive fear at the sacrifice of common sense. Instead, we must immerse ourselves in an atmosphere of compassion balanced with the right blend of information, science, and economics. I strongly believe that fear, as well as excessive control and caution can get the best of us if we let it. Personally, I choose to do everything I can to NOT let that happen.