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Bank of Granite’s John Forlines featured on TV program

BOONE – After more than 50 years in banking, Bank of Granite’s John Forlines knows the business is all about people.

“I used to do all the hiring at Bank of Granite, and I always told young people that if they didn’t like people – and didn’t like to help people – then they better get out of the business right away because that’s what the business is all about with us,” said Forlines, Bank of Granite’s former chairman and CEO.

The Granite Falls businessman is the latest guest on Appalachian Perspective, the cable television program of Appalachian State University.

Unlike other community banks, Bank of Granite has generated profits for more than 50 consecutive years. Famed investor Warren Buffett once called it the “most profitable community bank in America,” drawing worldwide attention to the Caldwell County bank.

After Buffet’s praise, “I had calls from England, Singapore and Tokyo wanting our published financial statements, and we had to hurriedly publish some more because we didn’t have enough,” Forlines recalls.

Bank of Granite was founded in 1906 to serve the small communities of western North Carolina. When Forlines joined the bank in 1954, it had one office and $1 million in assets. Now its assets total $1 billion, and there are 22 offices in seven North Carolina counties.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have done what I’ve done,” Forlines says.

Forlines attributes the Bank of Granite’s success to its unwavering commitment to personal service – unlike mega banks, which Forlines describes as caring more about “the Wall Street type than the Main Street type.”

He says, “That’s always been a hallmark of our bank. Our people care about the customers, they care about the community. As long as that goes on, I think (community banks) will have a lot of good business.”

“Appalachian Perspective” is a 30-minute interview hosted by Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. It airs in Watauga County on Charter Communication Channel 21 weekdays at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and on MTN’s Channel 18 at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Fridays.

For more information and to view video clips of “Appalachian Perspective” interviews, visit