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North Carolina Businessman and Community
John Forlines Jr., a North Carolina businessman and community banker, revolutionized a sleepy Main Street bank into an internationally acclaimed leader.
He served as chairman emeritus of Granite Falls-based Bank of Granite Corp., but his contributions to North Carolina and his adopted hometown of Caldwell County reached far beyond its books.
Early Life and Education
In 1953, he took his first full-time job at Welch College in Nashville as an assistant professor of Christian education and evangelism. Additionally, he served as consultant to Free Will Baptist International Missions and taught abroad in Ukraine and Russia among other places.
He was a force in the business world as chairman of Bank of Granite, which he built into an influential North Carolina banking giant. He advocated for high capital ratios and reliable dividends for shareholders; additionally, he served on boards and commissions for several organizations such as Girl Scouts of America, Shakespeare’s Globe in London and Duke University Athletic Advisory Board. Furthermore, he held trustee positions at North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary and Ruth Z. Fleishman Foundation while living with his wife Fay in Lenoir since 1957.
John Forlines has extensive experience in the financial sector, having spent 32 years at Fannie Mae. He began his journey with Fannie Mae’s internal audit department and quickly rose through the ranks until becoming Chief Risk Officer recently.
As a member of Fannie Mae’s Enterprise Risk Committee, he oversees all global risk management activities related to strategic, market, credit, liquidity, compliance, operational and reputational risks. Furthermore, he serves on the company’s Management Committee leadership team.
Achievements and Honors
John Forlines III’s career, spanning more than half a century, saw him transform a sleepy Main Street bank into an internationally acclaimed community banking giant. His contributions to North Carolina and his adopted hometown of Caldwell County go far beyond his involvement with Bank of Granite Corp. in Granite Falls.
He created his bank with a warm, hometown atmosphere where business deals were often done with just a handshake. But he also insisted on operating with high capital ratios and paying reliable dividends to investors.
He served on the boards of several organizations, such as North Carolina Business Hall of Fame and North Carolina Bankers Association. Furthermore, he volunteered extensively at Camp Challenge – a summer camp that promotes financial literacy among children.
John Forlines was a quiet, plainspoken and down to earth man. Plath recalled him as “the epitome of the Southern community banker.”
Forlines built a bank that valued personal relationships over ostentation, an approach which proved successful in small communities. Under his direction, Bank of Granite became one of North Carolina’s most successful community banks.
He remained at the bank until April 2011, when FNB acquired it for $480 million. Together with his wife Anne, Forlines has three children living in New York: a daughter working in the wedding industry; another studying medicine; and finally another son working for an enterprise software company building analytical data base products for institutions. Furthermore, he serves on the Girl Scouts of America National Investment Committee, Shakespeare’s Globe London Trustee Board, and Duke University Athletic Advisory Board.
John Forlines has a net worth of $42 million. He serves as Chief Investment Officer at Donoghue Forlines and Managing Partner of the Forlines Family Office, which makes charitable contributions. Furthermore, John serves as Executive in Residence at Duke University where he teaches classes on behavioral finance and decision making. John invests in several companies with strong growth potential but also attractive fundamentals.
Despite the current bear market and higher interest rates, Forlines remains bullish on stocks. He recently discussed his outlook for markets and highlighted his top investing ideas right now. A graduate of Oberlin College, Forlines is also an ex-varsity lacrosse player and father to three children with his wife.