The former leaders of Southern Community Financial in Winston-Salem, N.C., have found new careers outside of the banking industry.

Scott Bauer and Jeff Clark created BauerClark Associates earlier this month. The consulting firm will offer a range of strategic planning services to small businesses, says Bauer, who was Southern Community's chief executive from its 1996 opening until its sale to Capital Bank Financial (CBF) last fall. Clark was the company's president.

"When we left the bank both of us didn't really know what we wanted to do," Bauer says. "It took a while to focus in on that. Our passion is working with small businesses. We started one and we have worked with them over the years at the bank."

BauerClark will offer advice on finding capital and loans, mergers and succession planning, sales and marketing, and customer service. The company will initially focus on North Carolina, but could eventually offer its services to clients in other Southeastern states.

"If you name it, we can do it," Bauer says.

The only thing they won't offer is banking services. Bauer would not comment on any specifics about their departure from Capital Bank. "There were no concerns" about a noncompete agreement, he says. "We're not in the banking business."

The former executives also have no desire to return to banking after living through the worst financial crisis in recent memory. "We're very much into working in private industry right now and having something autonomous that we can call our own," he says.

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