Hugh C. Lane
For 38 years, Hugh C. Lane was the driving force behind the growth of the Citizens and Southern National Bank of South Carolina, years that spanned the upheaval of the New Deal, a half-dozen recessions, and C&S's pioneering of the computer in banking in South Carolina.
Lane went to work for C&S in Charleston in 1937 and by 1944 had been named president. At the time, C&S had branches in Charleston, Columbia, and Spartanburg and deposits of $63.9 million. When he retired in 1974, C&S had 73 branches in 24 cities and deposits of $600 million.
Hugh Comer Lane was born March 5, 1914, in Savannah, Georgia, the son of Mills B. and Mary Comer Lane. He graduated from the Asheville School in 1932 and the University of North Carolina in 1935.
His father was a founder and first president of Citizens & Southern Bank of Georgia, which was created in 1928 by the merger of Citizens Bank of Savannah and the Southern Bank of Georgia.
Both his father and grandfather were bankers. In 1847, his grandfather, Remer Y. Lane, established a bank in Valdosta, Georgia, and Mills Lane went to work for his father in 1881.
Later, he moved to Savannah with the intention of starting his own bank, but accepted a job as vice president of the Citizens Bank of Georgia. In 1891, he became both a director and vice president, and in 1901 was named president of the bank. Shortly afterward, Mills Lane and his associates bought the Southern Bank of Georgia, and Citizens & Southern Bank was created. After considerable growth, the bank opened branches in Charleston, Columbia, and Spartanburg.
Hugh Lane began his banking career with Albany Exchange National Bank in Albany, Georgia. His older brother, Mills B. Lane, Jr., was already on the executive ladder in the Georgia C&S Bank, so Hugh Lane moved to Charleston in 1937 to become assistant to Angus E. Bird, then president of C&S in Charleston.
In 1940, Lane helped persuade his father and the management of C&S Holding Company to create separate banks for Georgia and South Carolina, primarily to give customers in South Carolina a local bank. In 1944, he became president of the C&S National Bank of South Carolina.
Under Lane's leadership, C&S was a pioneer in the formation of a separate installment loan department, and he worked to expand its services statewide. In 1956, C&S merged with Growers Bank and Trust in Inman, and the next year it opened its first office in Greenville, thus providing the bank with offices in the state's four major cities.
In 1960, Lane was elected chairman of C&S. The bank continued to grow, and offices were opened in 10 other South Carolina cities and towns. The bank installed computers during that time.
The increased speed and efficiency of computer banking allowed C&S to drop all service charges on personal checking accounts with a $100 minimum balance, which was a first in the state.
In 1969, the C&S Corporation of South Carolina was formed as the bank holding company, and Lane moved up to chairman of the C&S Corporation, the position he held until his retirement in 1974.
Prior to his retirement, Lane served as chairman of the board of several C&S affiliates, including the C&S Corporation, the C&S Realty Corporation, the C&S Computer Services Corporation, and the C&S Housing Corporation. He was chairman of the Carolina National Mortgage Investment Corporation, Inc., and president of the South Carolina Bankers Association.
Lane is a past director of The Citadel Development Foundation and a member and past president of the St. Andrews Society and the Navy League. He is a member and former director of the Coastal Carolina Council, Boy Scouts of America.
He was a director of the Business Development Corporation of South Carolina and served on the South Carolina Insurance Commission for six years, was chairman of the South Carolina State Housing Authority, and is a former trustee of South Carolina State College, Converse College, and the South Carolina Foundation of Independent Colleges.
He was a founder of the Trident United Way and a past president. He also served on the boards of Roper Hospital, Ashley Hall School, the Charleston Museum, and the Historic Charleston Foundation. In 1955, the Greater Charleston Chamber of Commerce named him its Man of the Year.
He received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of South Carolina, The Citadel, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
In 1982, the Hugh C. Lane Chair of Economic Theory was established at the University of South Carolina College of Business Administration. The chair was endowed by the foundations of Daniel International of Greenville, Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company and C&S Bank of Columbia, and Johnson, Lane, Smith & Company of Savannah.
For his long life of community service and achievements, Lane received the Charleston Exchange Club's 1995 Golden Book of Deeds award. The award is the club's highest honor and has been given only 16 times in the past 36 years.
Lane married Beverly Glover in 1946, and they are the parents of four children: Hugh C. Lane, Jr., Beverly Lane Jost, Kathleen Lane Schenck, and Charles G. Lane.
Lane entered the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1985.
© 1999 South Carolina Business Hall of Fame