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His parents are educators, so being president of the White Hall School Board at 33 may seem precocious but not surprising for Scott Pittillo. But nothing about his background would foreshadow a career as a bank CFO.
Pittillo isn’t an accountant; he studied agricultural business at the University of Arkansas. He started his working life at the Century Tube manufacturing plant.
In 2002, he got a consumer lending job in the Pine Bluff National Bank branch in White Hall. Chuck Morgan, the bank’s CEO, saw something in the young man.
“He said, ‘I can teach someone how to bank. I want someone who wants to live in Pine Bluff, who is in Pine Bluff and who has a good head on his shoulders.’”
Pittillo quickly moved up the ladder: vice president of commercial lending, senior VP of lending and funds management, now EVP and CFO of both the bank and its holding company, Jefferson Bancshares.
Pittillo credits “some luck,” but he also “looked for and seized opportunities” to prove that he could take on new responsibilities. His banking philosophy runs conservative: better over bigger.
“I think the banks that run the hottest have the biggest risk of having issues in a recession,” Pittillo said. “We’ve never been the strongest performer, but we’ve always been a good performer, and that’s held up in good and bad times.”
While other young professionals sometimes long for a bigger pond, Pittillo’s roots are firmly in Jefferson County. In addition to serving on the school board, he sits on the board of directors of Jefferson Regional Medical Center. Last year he chaired the United Way of Southeast Arkansas’ fundraising campaign, which exceeded its goal of $1.275 million.
“We all know that Pine Bluff has its challenges — I’m not going to deny that,” he said. “But it also has opportunities.”