Economic Backbone: Finance
Lawrence Hatch played for a number of pro football teams. Today, he's leading First Horizon Bank's Central Florida operations.
Hatch says many athletes still seek guidance and advice from him on everything from estate planning to real estate deals. “They say, ‘Hatch, can you take a look at this and let me know if this is on the up and up?’ And I never charge anything because I’ve seen some of my friends and ex-teammates taken advantage of.”
Growing up in public housing in Southern California in the late 1970s and 1980s, Lawrence Hatch says he could have easily gone down the wrong path. “It was like the O.K. Corral — bang, bang, shoot ‘em up. Lots of drugs, lots of violence,” he recalls. “I got into a little trouble and used to like to fight.” But Hatch was also an excellent student, and he was good at track, basketball and football. He ended up going to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, where, during his sophomore year, he was recognized as the best junior college cornerback in the nation.
After that, he was getting offers to play from schools across the country. He chose the University of Florida, he says, because of Jim Bates, who was the Gators’ defensive coordinator at the time. “He was one of the few coaches who had a conversation with me about life after football,” Hatch says. “It was, ‘I don’t care how good you are now. This could be over and done with. You could be injured. You could never make it to the NFL. You just simply don’t know, but football life is short (and when it’s over), you have a lot of life left to live.’”
Hatch did make it to the NFL, getting drafted in 1993 by the New England Patriots. He also got injured a lot. “I had four reconstructive shoulder surgeries in just about five years.” he says. Making good on a promise he’d made to his grandmother, Hatch returned to Gainesville to finish his degree after hanging up his cleats in 1998.
An internship in the University Athletic Association’s finance division during that last semester, he says, propelled his interest in the banking and finance sector. “Really being able to sit down and understand the financial impact of the University of Florida football team, and how that revenue benefited, let’s be honest, every other sport at UF” was eye-opening, he says. “I was hooked at that point.”
After graduating, he landed his first job in banking in Jacksonville at First Union as a financial specialist/ financial consultant and did that for about 10 months before transitioning to the bank’s capital markets group. He ended up as a trust adviser for the vast majority of the company’s nonprofit customers and spent another four years as a portfolio manager at Evergreen Investments (a subsidiary of Wachovia Bank) before moving to Orlando as a wealth adviser at SunTrust.
During his time at SunTrust (now Truist), Hatch says he noticed a disconnect between what was happening in the private wealth space and the bank’s commercial client side — and he recognized there was opportunity for “cross pollination” by providing strategic services for business owners and executives. His idea turned into the Business Owner Specialty Group, which he ran for the next decade, and that ended up being implemented in many of SunTrust’s bigger U.S. regions.
Today, Hatch is the Central Florida market president and private banking group manager for the Central Florida region at First Horizon Bank, overseeing branches and operations in personal banking, commercial and business banking, wealth management, as well as its sports and entertainment group.
Following its merger with IberiaBank in 2020, First Horizon became one of the top 10 banks in the nation, with approximately 417 locations across the Southeast and $85.1 billion in assets. It will grow even larger (sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets) when it is acquired by TD Bank this year.
Family: Hatch lives in Winter Garden with his wife, Tara. They have two sons, Darrion, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, and Quentin, who is going to UCF to play football next year.
Community Involvement: Hatch is chairman of the Assistance Fund, a non-profit that provides underinsured individuals with financial assistance for chronic and life-threatening diseases, and serves on the board of AdventHealth for Children. He also sits on the executive board of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.
Lessons: Hatch remembers early on in his football career asking Bill Parcells, then the head coach of the New England Patriots, why he was “busting his chops” so much. “The reason,” he remembers Parcells telling him, “is that I see something in you that you probably don’t see in yourself. You have all the talent to be great, and I want to help you get there. Be worried when I have nothing to say to you.”
“That was profound,” Hatch says. “I’ve taken that same attitude into everything I’ve done in life. How I work as an individual, how I create and strategize my teams, the way that I work with kids and mentoring — all of those things.”