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Moennig banks on experience in new role at First State

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Larry Moennig, new president of the Monett branch for First State Bank of Purdy, looked over banking records with teller Alyssa Evans. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Larry Moennig is ready for the changes he will experience in taking onthe duties of president at First State Bank. Moennig succeeded Ann Hall, who retired as president after 20 years on the job.

"It's not really a minor transition," Moennig said. "It's manageable for myself and the employees. [Bank owners] Glen and Sharon Garrett have always had a strong feeling to promote from within. I appreciate the opportunity the Garretts and the board have given me."

A Pierce City High School graduate who grew up on a rural Freistatt dairy farm, Moennig has degrees in agriculture and business from Southwest Missouri State University. He was hired as a loan officer at the Pierce City branch of First State. After moving to the Monett branch, Moennig's job expanded to where he could take on other duties in the absence of the president. In recent weeks, Moennig has trained further for his new job.

"Ann has been very good bringing me up to speed where I had cursory knowledge before. She got me up to speed in areas she's been handling," Moennig said.

Moennig will now be more involved with the daily operation of the bank, evaluating what areas can be improved. He also plans to continue an active role in the bank's loan services.

"In a small bank, you need to have the ability to understand all the areas of operation. I rely on key people if I don't know," Moennig said.

First State employees like Hall have long been active in community service. Moennig has served two terms on the Monett Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and will be on hand to help at the chamber's junior livestock show on June 18.

"If the community is going to thrive, it will have to grow," Moennig said. "We're here to help. You can expect to see us out in the community."

The nature of the banking business has also gone through changes. Moennig observed that event though economic downturns occur periodically, the current has been unlike the others. One of the major challenges for the bank has been to figure out how to respond.

Another major change Moennig sees is the change in regulations to deal downturn.

"Banking has always been heavily regulated," Moennig said. "How all the changes will play out, we still want to figure out. If we're going to stay in the banking business, it means we will be spending more time keeping up with regulatory efforts. We hope we're not just following guidelines that don't have the effect they should."

Moennig likes the advantages of providing service in a community like Monett.

"I've always said if you look at southwest Missouri and the surrounding counties, it's quite varied industry-wise," Moennig said. "That's a huge benefit. We're not reliant on a single industry. That's always been a big help.

"Agriculture has been the strongest sector of the economy through all of this. We're still an ag center. We have to remember that. We pride ourselves on our agriculture clientele and ag expertise. It's been a big economic driver," Moennig said.

Moennig described his management style as one of leading by example.

"People can come to me. I have an open door policy. I'll treat people fairly like I want to be treated," Moennig said. "You've got to do the right thing, whether at home, on the job or in church."

Moennig has moved into Hall's office in the back of the bank. He hesitated at first, then concluded he would get more done and use his time better there.

"I've realized what makes for a good day is when you walk out at the end and feel good, whether it's in the banking business, at EFCO or a restaurant," Moennig said. "We help people by approving a loan, or not approving a loan. As long as it's a good decision, we're helping. Volunteering time can be very rewarding. What else is there really other than helping people. That's come home to me over the years."

Moennig said he will continue to be found at the bank during regular hours.

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