I n 2000, we set out to build a place every banker wanted to work and where they loved to work. Why? To attract the best bankers in the market — our strategy for an excellent client experience and sustainable growth — we needed to create an engaging culture.

Today, the same is still true.

We saw large mergers that left clients and associates alike disenfranchised. When the merged institutions offered a brand based on centralization and bureaucracy, associates became frustrated. Where they were once loyal, they began to look for a place where they felt valued again.

Today, the same is still true.

To break this cycle, we built Pinnacle with a vision that puts associates first.

To be the best place to work in the Southeast.

Many factors, including a relentless focus on culture and engagement, help make our vision a reality, but they’re all built on the same strong foundation we started with.

Hiring Philosophy

Experienced, successful and team-oriented: We built a top-tier culture by filling our company with associates who share these traits.

  • Experienced people know what they’re doing and don’t need a lot of supervision or training, allowing us to empower associates, reduce bureaucracy and facilitate local decisions.
  • Successful people have deep and personal connections with clients. They bring strong relationships that grow the balance sheet in a sound and sustainable way.
  • When people are team-oriented, they’re ready and willing to contribute to a collaborative atmosphere where shared focus trumps internal competition.

Shared Goals

When people row in the same direction, they make faster progress. Part of what we reject in a traditional sales culture is the emphasis on individual results. A lender may be incentivized to close a loan while a credit officer is incentivized to turn it down. Competition leads to self-interest, which can be at odds with the client’s best interest.

At Pinnacle, all non-commissioned associates have one set of goals. We all know what they are and how we can contribute to them. We help each other reach them because we believe in the power of winning as a team and also because we get paid incentives based on firm-wide targets.


We decided early that everyone would be a true owner at Pinnacle. When we own shares, we have a literal personal investment in doing the job right and focusing on long-term results.

Beyond stock grants, every associate takes ownership of their work because they know how it contributes directly to our overall results. They also take ownership of serving the clients. Without internal competition, no client belongs to any one person. They belong to us all, and we all take care to give them distinctive service.

Why We Hire
the Very Best
image description

On this foundation you can build everything else you need for an award-winning culture. Camaraderie and engagement increase. Retention rates skyrocket, driving out turnover and creating a better experience for the client. The happier people are in their jobs, the better they treat each other and the clients.

This becomes another kind of cycle. All of those benefits build an award-winning culture, which then helps draw in even more of the best bankers. It’s self-perpetuating.

In 2000, this new cycle helped us build a new bank. In 2019, it helped us reach new heights.


revenue producers hired


retention rate

No. 27

100 Best Companies to Work For

FORTUNE magazine and Great Place to Work®

More 2019 Workplace Awards

  • No. 2 Best Workplace in Financial Services & Insurance
  • No. 12 Best Workplace for Millennials
  • No. 41 Best Workplace for Parents
  • No. 13 Best Bank to Work For, American Banker
  • No. 1 Best Place to Work, Triad Business Journal in North Carolina
  • No. 1 Best Place to Work, Memphis Business Journal
  • No. 2 Top Workplace, Knoxville News Sentinel
  • No. 5 Top Workplace Statewide, Charleston Business and Greenville Business Magazine in South Carolina
  • No. 7 Top Workplace, The Charlotte Observer

Awarded to Associates for 2019 Performance


annual cash incentive payout


stock grants

Associate Survey Results


“Our firm’s culture is special — something you don’t find just anywhere.”


“I am given the responsibility and freedom to do my job.”


“I understand how my job contributes to the Firm’s success.”


“Our Firm’s policies and practices ensure fair treatment for all associates.”

See full results

Corporate Responsibility

Part of our commitment to people is a belief that everyone deserves a great place to work. It’s part of our calling. There’s no disputing that we’re a national leader in this area.

We seek to make a difference with our associates:

  • 100% of non-commissioned associates participate in our annual cash incentive programs.
  • 100% of associates receive stock awards.
  • $15 per hour minimum wage. Prior to 2019, fewer than 1 percent of our associates were making below $15 per hour.
  • 93% of associates participate in our 401(k) plan. In 2019, we matched $8.7 million in associate contributions.
  • Dozens of listening sessions with the CEO and senior leaders across the firm on a range of topics
  • 67% — Percent of workforce, women
  • 50% — Percent of people managers, women
  • 134,178 hours associates spent in training, average of 50 hours per associate

See the full report