âIt is very rare in corporate America to take a stand in public and profess religionâ as Davis did that day, Hamm said. Religious faith was part of the culture at Stanford Group, according to interviews with current and former employees. Davis, who had offices in Memphis and Tupelo, Mississippi, would open meetings in with a prayer, said a former staff member who asked not to be identified. Stanford Group employees sometimes drew on church ties to find customers for certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank, the current and former employees said. The CDs offered âimprobable if not impossibleâ returns, according to the SEC. The bank had sold $8 billion of the CDs by the end of 2008, and Davis and Stanford had hidden their âfraudulent conductâ by fabricating financial statements and issuing misleading performance data, the agency says.