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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Local banking leader set to retire

Friday, May 6, 2011

First State Bank President Ann Hall, at left, will retire this month after a 46-year career in banking. First State Executive Vice President Larry Moennig, at right, will be her successor. A reception to honor Hall is planned for May 27 at 106 E. Cleveland on May 27. [Times Photo]
Ann Hall, who has served as president for First State Bank of Purdy at branches in Pierce City and Monett since 1987, will retire this month. Hall will turn 65 in June.

A reception in Hall's honor will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 27 at the Monett branch.

"One thing I have always liked about banking is there is always change," Hall said. "There have been so many new changes, especially in consumer protection. Someone younger needs to take charge of that. I'd like to have a little time without change."

Hall worked for First National Bank in Monett from the time she graduated from high school until 1974, when she and her husband, Ken, moved to Kansas City so he could finish a master's degree at the University of Missouri there. She landed a job managing a drive-in branch for Standard State Bank of Kansas City and did that for two years. When Ken said he wanted to move back to southwest Missouri in 1976, Ann was ready too.

In the typical way small towns work, Hall got a call from Jerry Daniel, president of the First State Bank of Purdy, who had heard from her grandmother about the impending move back home. Daniel appealed to Ann to take a six-week stint filling in for a woman on maternity leave. Hall hesitated, wanting a break from work, but finally relented.

"I've been here ever since," she said.

Ten years later, Hall was working as cashier and vice president in Purdy. Bank owner Glen Garrett on Dec. 26, 1986, purchased Citizens National Bank in Pierce City, which was about to be closed by the FDIC. The owner, from New Jersey had been using the bank to move money for organized crime purposes and made it insolvent.

Hall resigned her position and became president of Citizens National Bank of Monett and Pierce City. After a year of straightening up accounts, the First State board merged Citizens National into its operations and made her the president in Monett. In time Richard Scheihing became president of the Pierce City branch, leaving Ann to concentrate on Monett.

"Every bank president is different," Hall said. "Some are more lenders, some are more operations oriented, some are more focused on community relations. We are a small bank. I came up through the ranks so operations are more my forte."

Hall's successor as president will be Larry Moennig, executive vice president, who has been with First State since Feb. 1, 1987. Hall said Moennig, with a background in lending, well suited for the position.

In addition to keeping up with regulations by having proper policies and procedures in place, Hall has also been responsible for human resources for the bank's system and participating in community projects. She has served on the Monett Chamber of Commerce, Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Boards and Ozark Festival Orchestra Boards, among others.

"A community bank president does a little bit of everything," she said. "I've been known to clean the bathroom and the guys shovel snow if needed. We all just do what needs to be done. We're different from a corporate bank in the big city. We have our shareholders in the community."

Dealing with the public has also changed.

"My generation still comes into the bank," Hall said. "Kids don't come in. They use the ATM and love machines. The 'Greatest Generation' wanted face to face and still do. They wanted us to know about the family. The kids don't want that."

Technology has profoundly changed how customers interact with the bank. Adding new ways to do the old jobs, seeing the computer automatically calculate interest and service charges and providing money through ATMs regardless of a customer's location have made created new banking challenges, Hall said.

First State has used Jack Henry and Associates systems for computerizing bank records since they were first introduced in the late 1970s. Bank owner Glen Garrett had an IBM System 32 mainframe computer at Garrett Manufacturing in Cassville and moved it to the bank in Purdy, which was operating out of a storefront. The bank had $5 million in assets at the time, compared to $140 million today.

The bank's bookkeeper would run the bank's records through the computer at the end of business, after which the Garrett Manufacturing transactions were tabulated. Later in the evening, Jack Henry and Associates founders Jack Henry and Jerry Hall came in and used the computer to write programs for their business. This continued for about a year until the bank built its present building.

Some of the essential interactions between banker and customer remain unchanged. Hall recalled denying a loan to a man just out of high school whom she thought was not ready to handle that kind of debt. He resented her decision, but two years later thanked her, having reached the same conclusion.

"All of us have stories like that," she said.

The banking industry has been slow to bring women into top leadership positions, Hall said. She was the first woman bank president in the area chapter of the National Association of Bank Women serving the territory from Nevada to Branson.

Hall was the first female chairperson of the government relations committee of the Missouri Bankers Association (MBA) six years ago, and the first female chairperson of the MBA's political action committee within the last 10 years. Even though there are many women in bank leadership today, Hall noted there are only three women on the MBA's 20-member board today.

"Maybe there is still a glass ceiling," Hall said. "If Glen and Jack hadn't given me a chance, I might be saying that. But they did. I'm not afraid to say 'I don't know, explain it to me.' I learned most of what I do on the job. I've taken several classes and attended MBA seminars. Today you can't train that way. The business is changing so rapidly."

Hall said she will miss the customers and the employees the most. All the bank's employees have been people she has hired and she is proud of their service to the community.

"I've got the best crew in the world here," she said. "They will continue to do the best job and handle customers so well you won't even know I'm not here."

After 46 years in the workforce, Hall plans to "become a slug" and "stretch out on the couch with a big glass of ice tea and a book." She said her family is taking bets on how long that will last.

"I'd like to try not working, just for a little while," she added.

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