Alumna becomes CFO of bank that played important role in Liberty’s growth
When Liberty University alumna Wendy Bell (’85) was offered the job as Chief Financial Officer at Carter Bank & Trust, which operates 123 branches across Virginia and North Carolina, she knew her alma mater and her new company had a special connection.
The bank’s late founder, Worth Harris Carter Jr., was a longtime friend and supporter of Liberty. He died in April, leaving a legacy in the banking world — and at Liberty University. President Jerry Falwell, who spoke at Carter’s funeral, called him “a legend in the banking business, offering entrepreneurs and citizens a customer-friendly alternative to the big, bureaucratic banks.” He said many businesses would not exist in Virginia and North Carolina today “but for the genius of Worth Carter in recognizing the solid business plans and the good character of many folks who didn’t fit the mold imposed by big banks.” The bank supported Liberty when no other bank would, he said, supplying a $4 million loan so the young campus could continue to expand.
Now Bell said she is excited to be part of an organization that helped Liberty grow to the world-class university it is today.
“I see this as a chance to give back and continue to build on the legacy Mr. Carter started,” Bell said. “There is such a history between Carter Bank & Trust and Liberty. President Falwell talks about how, without the loan, Liberty would probably never have survived.”
In her new role, Bell, who earned a B.S. in Accounting and has spent 32 years in a finance career (most recently as senior vice president and senior finance officer at First Commonwealth Financial Corporation in Indiana, Pa.) will be accountable for accounting, financial planning and budgeting, tax strategies, capital planning, regulatory reporting, and other areas of financial management. She starts her new job on July 24 and will be working out of the bank’s Martinsville, Va., office.
Bell said the new position will allow her to not only be close to her alma mater, but also to her two daughters, who are now following in her footsteps. Bell’s oldest daughter, Jessica, is a senior nursing student at Liberty, while her youngest daughter, Julia, will be a freshman at LU this fall, with plans to double major in accounting and business administration.
“My daughters really are my best friends,” Bell said. “In this new position, I’ll be able to be close to them and hopefully continue to visit Liberty. Even though the campus looks different from when I first went to school here, it still feels like home.”
Bell said Liberty prepared her well for her career, and she knows it will do the same for her daughters.
“Liberty gave me a firm foundation that taught me how to live with conviction,” she said. “It’s a first-rate university with Christian values.”