Home Federal Bank
A Profitable Partnership
One deep-rooted Knoxville bank has made a tradition of giving back to the community, both at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and around East Tennessee, through charitable donations, volunteer work, faculty endowments, and student scholarships.
Founded in Knoxville in 1924 as a savings and loan, Home Federal Bank acquired full banking status in the 1980s. Today it has 23 branches across Knox, Anderson, Blount, and Sevier counties. It’s a mutual bank, which means that depositors, rather than stockholders, own the company. While this alone tightens its focus on the region, the company also has a long history of making community involvement a part of its culture.
Home Federal reinvests a significant portion of its profits–some 10 to 12 percent– back into the community each year. Its annual contributions exceed $1 million, all of which stays in the region. In addition, the company sponsors more than 200 charitable projects and events annually in the area for the Boys & Girls Club, United Way, KARM, and others. Its employees volunteer more than 1500 hours toward these efforts. Home Federal also has sponsored Knoxville Habitat for Humanity since 1990, and remains that organization’s oldest covenant partner.
The bank’s long involvement in the Haslam College of Business began several decades ago when two of the university’s presidents, Edward Boling and Joe Johnson, served on the bank’s board of directors. Boling himself was a Haslam alumnus. Numerous graduates have secured internships and full-time positions with Home Federal over the years, thanks to this partnership.
Since 1995, the company has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to business students through its Home Federal Scholarship, most recently to accounting major Greer Giffen. “Having the support of such a respected institution from my hometown is so rewarding and meaningful, and has helped me continue my education at UT,” Giffen says.
Contributions from Home Federal also fund faculty research and an endowed professorship in the finance department. Tracie Woidtke, David E. Sharp/Home Federal Bank Professor in the Department of Finance, says this type of support is imperative to attracting and retaining outstanding faculty. “Through their financial support, we have been able to support teaching and research excellence for a third of the finance faculty since I have been department head,” Woidtke says.
To honor the company’s commitment, the college presented Home Federal with the first Outstanding Corporate Partner award in 2009.
Home Federal CEO David Reynolds, who serves on Haslam’s Department of Finance Advisory Council, values the company’s history with the university and the impact that long partnership has made on both institutions. “The University of Tennessee and Home Federal Bank both have significant legacies in Knoxville, and it makes sense that we’re working together,” Reynolds says. “We appreciate how far back the relationship goes, from our philanthropy to the service of college presidents on our board, to the plethora of UT alumni—including our CFO—who are in key positions in our company. It gives us both opportunities for growth.”