Special day for First Citizens Bank

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2009

The lobby of the shiny, new First Citizens Bank in Luverne was bustling with excitement and filled with people Friday morning as employees, customers and well-wishers alike gathered for the official Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremonies.

President William Petrey welcomed the large crowd to the bank’s new building, and he noted the two groups of people who have been responsible for the growth and success of the bank—its customers and its female employees.

“We could not have had 29 years of success without either of these groups,” Petrey said.

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Jo Ann Hall, assistant vice-president/loan officer, agreed with Petrey.

“We simply outgrew our old building,” she said. “Our success is because of our customers, our leadership, the directors, and our employees.”

Hall began working at FCB in March of 1981when the new bank was still located in a trailer in the parking lot waiting on the completion of the original bank building.

But Hall is not the only employee who has been with the bank almost since the day it opened in 1980.

Vice-president/Cashier/Chief Operations Officer Sue Blackmon joined the staff in Oct. of 1981, while Asst. Cashier Lynann Henagan came on board in June of 1982. Becky Smyth has been with First Citizens Bank for 26 years, and Sheila King has been there for 24 years, according to Hall.

“It’s amazing when you look at all of these years of experience right here,” Hall said.

The founding directors of FCB formed the new banking institution in 1979. It first opened its doors July 8, 1980. The founding directors were John Milton Wise, Sr., S. W. Jackson, Dr. William A. Beall, John Harrison, and the late Julian Maddox.

Harrison is no longer on the board after he was appointed as the Superintendent of Banks with the Alabama State Banking Department. Today, Michael Jones and John Wise, Jr., have been added to the Board of Directors.

First Citizens Bank has seen only four presidents in its 29-year reign. James Dunnam was the first president of the bank, followed by Thomas C. “Butch” Owen, John D. Harrison, and present FCB president, William Petrey. Petrey joined FCB in June of 1988 and became President and CEO in Jan. 2003.

Officers for First Citizens Bank include Petrey, Blackmon, Hall, Henagan, and Vice-President Steve Sanders, Loan Officer Charlie Sankey, and Management Officer John Giles.

All throughout the week of March 9-13, First Citizens Bank held special drawings and prize give-aways for its customers in order to show its appreciation to them and to welcome everyone to visit the new facility.

“Lomax Tomlin has been here every day to get prizes,” Petrey said, laughing, as Tomlin grinned in response. “He has now been banned and can’t come back until Monday.”

Everyone enjoyed the delicious hors d’oeuvres, the musical entertainment of Bobby Tomberlin and Candi Carpenter, visiting with the employees, and touring the beautiful new offices.