Georgiana banking icon retires

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2003

Whitney Bank – Georgiana Branch manager Charles Shepherd has long been a fixture in our area’s banking community.

The 66-year-old started his impressive banking career in 1958 at the Citizens Bank of Georgiana as a cashier, and retired this week from the Whitney Bank after 45 years of banking service.

Shepherd said his rise in the banking ranks is a storied one.

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In 1961, he transferred from the Citizens Bank of Georgiana to the Greenville Bank (now the Peoples Bank and Trust) as an assistant cashier.

In 1963, he helped organize the McKenzie branch of the Greenville Bank, and was transferred there as branch manager, and was promoted to assistant vice president and branch manager in 1964.

In 1970, he was promoted to vice president and elected to the bank’s board of directors in 1971.

In 1972-73, Shepherd served as secretary to the Bank Administration Institute, then was elected vice president in 1973-74 and president in 1974-75.

Ever looking at the horizon, the banker saw a need to expand the Greenville bank to his hometown of Georgiana, forming the Georgiana Bank.

&uot;In 1979, I became the coordinator for the McKenzie and Georgiana banks, and was re-elected vice-chairman of the board of directors and senior vice president of Greenville Bank,&uot; Shepherd said. &uot;I was with the Greenville Bank for 22 years.&uot;

He left the Greenville Bank in 1983, and went back to the First National Bank (which is now Whitney Bank) as vice president and manager of the Citizens Bank of Georgiana.

&uot;I have been with First National and Whitney Bank for 23 years,&uot; the retiree said. &uot;I have served three generations of customers, and it’s been a good run.&uot;

Shepherd counts this decision as the hardest one he’s ever made, but plans to devote part of his retirement time doing church work for the United Methodist Church of Georgiana, of which he has been a member for 58 years.

The retired banker said one of the things in his career that has been most rewarding has been seeing his customers succeed.

&uot;I look around and see businesses that I helped get started,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s such a pleasure to see them now flourishing and doing well. It makes me proud to know I’ve been a part of that.&uot;

For Shepherd, the future holds lots of time for grandchildren, children, wife and &uot;War Eagle&uot; Auburn.

&uot;I have two children who live in Montgomery, so we’ll be up there quite a bit,&uot; he said. &uot;And my wife, Suzy, will keep me busy, too. Of course, the weekends will be spent at Auburn football games. I’m a die-hard Auburn fan.&uot;

Shepherd will turn over the branch manager reins to June Whittle, who served as his assistant branch manager.

Whittle has been with Shepherd in the banking business for 30 years.

&uot;I’ve never been in banking without Charles,&uot; she said. &uot;We worked together at the Greenville Bank, and then I came with him here.&uot;

Whittle said her climb was much like Shepherd’s in that she worked her way up from teller to senior teller, and most recently, assistant branch manager.

&uot;It’s going to be different for us without Charles here,&uot; she said. &uot;He was so wonderful; he was a mentor, confidante and friend..&uot;

The new branch manager said that although she’s sad to see her friend leave, she is excited about her promotion.

&uot;We’ve got a wonderful staff, so things shouldn’t change much,&uot; Whittle said. &uot;We just want to continue giving exceptional, quality service to our current customers, and work toward expanding our market base.&uot;