Landi Mkhize’s decision in 2005 to take a job with the Arkansas State Bank Department ensured that during the recession he was examining banks rather than being in the painful position of working for one. He recalls hearing about an early bankruptcy in 2006 and a colleague predicting, “This is the start.”
For eight years, Mkhize traveled the state as economic conditions worsened; he rose to a senior examiner. “It was trial by fire in a stressful period, and it was tough watching the people we examined.” He saw the industry begin to recover in 2012, and in 2013 was hired by Chambers Bank as a controller.
The following year, Mkhize was promoted to chief financial officer and in 2017 was also named CFO of Chambers Bancshares Inc. Coworkers say he has a brilliant mind and is a joy to work with.
Mkhize was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the tail end of apartheid, which he calls a period of great tension, violence and transformation. “[Nelson] Mandela’s reconciliation and the way he treated everyone had a big impact on my life,” he said.
He came to Arkansas for college in 2001 and earned a business degree from the University of Arkansas. He became involved in banking while taking the Rebsamen Fund Portfolio Management course. He credits his professor and mentor, John Dominick, for advising him to take the position with the state banking department. In 2012, he graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado.
Mkhize teaches financial literacy and is involved with Junior Achievement of Northwest Arkansas. An avid soccer player and coach, he hopes to engage in future charity work to provide much-needed soccer equipment to children in South Africa.