The winds of change have blown fast and furious at Lamar National Bank in 2016. In the wake of all that change, I pause to reflect on a year that will serve as a milestone for the bank in so many ways. We mourned the passing of JB Bankhead, our fearless leader for so many years. His philosophies of life and banking will forever shape the future of our bank.
It was also a year of goodbyes where we bid farewell to Michael “Sparky” Rhodes, Dick Severson, Lin Reid and Linda Belcher. These teammates worked together in some cases going back some 30 plus years.
It was a year of new beginnings, establishing a loan production office in Celina, a commercial lending presence in Sulphur Springs, and robust new online and mobile banking products. It also was a year of accomplishments that reflect the hard work, dedication and shared vision of the entire staff of Lamar National Bank as we surpassed $90 million in loans and were named in the top 50 healthiest banks in the United States of America.
Our employees came together to support the United Way, donating over $11,000 out of their own pay checks. They volunteered for countless events such as the Tour de Paris and Movies in the Park; and our very own mortgage loan officer Casi Burchinal was named Ambassador of the Year by the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.
The banking environment has made small community banking incredibly challenging because of the high cost of regulatory compliance and the continuing compression of margins. The goals set forth by our past Chairman Bankhead are: to remain profitable and remain independent. Each and every employee is dedicated to achieving that goal by providing the best customer experience in our market and by making Lamar National the best place to work. In a nutshell, it is staying true to our motto: “Relationship Banking at its Best.”
I am honored and humbled to serve as your President and Chief Executive Officer, a role previously held by incredible community and banking leaders that inspire me daily to make this the best bank in our market, period.