John V. Anderson celebrates 75 years in group banking this yr. The chairman emeritus of F&M Financial institution presents us a glimpse of his life, his profession and the teachings he’s discovered alongside the best way.
By Molly Bennett
F&M Financial institution
How do you seize a life in 1,000 phrases? The reply: with problem. And when that life takes within the Nice Melancholy, World Battle II and 75 years in group banking, the problem turns into extra acute. However right here goes nothing.
John V. Anderson, who’s 95, is chairman emeritus of F&M Financial institution in Crescent, Okla. Since shopping for it 50 years in the past, he has watched it develop from a single-branch group financial institution to at least one with 9 places throughout the state and $650 million in belongings. His three sons and one daughter are all concerned within the 100% family-owned enterprise, as are three of his grandchildren.
“And I’ve obtained great-grandchildren now which are starting to drive automobiles, in order that’s the subsequent wave that wishes a job,” he laughs.
“In these 75 years, I’ve made plenty of buddies. I simply did the perfect I may at no matter job I had.”
—John V. Anderson, F&M Financial institution
Anderson’s household ties have all the time been robust. He was born right into a farming household in Choctaw, Okla., in 1927. His father’s household, members of the Residents Potawatomi Nation, farmed corn and cotton, and his mom got here from a produce farming household.
When Anderson was three, his father misplaced his job on the native utility firm. “We needed to skimp and save,” he says. “We picked cotton, and we chopped cotton and corn. We didn’t have a automotive, so we needed to stroll out to the fields. That made such an impression on me. So, each job I’ve had, I might do the perfect job I may.”
In 1945, proper after highschool, he enlisted within the Navy, ending boot camp proper because the U.S. dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was stationed on an plane provider and took half in Operation Magic Carpet, which noticed U.S. troops amassing armed forces personnel from varied Pacific islands and dropping them off at San Diego or Pearl Harbor. “We had been part of a extremely joyful time, as a result of all people was coming house,” Anderson says.
The banking journey begins
After he was discharged, he labored at a utility firm earlier than taking a job at Liberty Nationwide Financial institution in Oklahoma Metropolis in 1947. There, he labored his approach up from messenger to teller to the correspondence division. The latter is the place he met his spouse, Jo Laverne, who’s 93.
“She labored about 10 ft from me … and I believed she was a reasonably handsome lady. I’d shoot a rubber band again there on occasion simply to get her consideration,” he laughs. The couple celebrated their 73rd wedding ceremony anniversary in September.
However again to 1972. That yr, Anderson was senior vp of operations at Liberty when considered one of his trade connections, J.R. Gibson, who owned F&M Financial institution in Crescent, Okla., advised Anderson he was trying to promote on account of well being issues.
“He stated, ‘In case you are , you’d be my first alternative,’” Anderson says. “I stated, ‘J.R., let me let you know that I don’t have any cash, I’ve no internet price and I’ve no secondary supply of revenue. However I’ll see what I can do.’”
Anderson went to some colleagues at Liberty Nationwide Financial institution, they usually agreed to think about loaning him the $548,000 he wanted—about $4 million right this moment. “And I believed, if you happen to make me a mortgage, you’re in all probability the worst mortgage officers I’ve ever run into,” he laughs. “However anyhow, they made that mortgage.”
Anderson says that when one of many presidents at Liberty heard in regards to the mortgage, he stated, “Let me let you know one thing. You’re gonna be one of many final guys that may purchase a financial institution with simply sweat fairness.”
And so started the Anderson household’s possession of F&M Financial institution. It was a baptism of fireside: The late Seventies and early Eighties introduced a recession, excessive inflation and better rates of interest; Anderson was paying 18% curiosity on the mortgage he used to purchase the financial institution. However F&M survived by way of arduous work and the connections Anderson had made.
Since then, the group financial institution’s development has been regular. It acquired a handful of distressed banks through the years and opened branches to develop its footprint. Anderson has been an lively member of the Oklahoma Bankers Affiliation and ICBA, and he additionally sat on the board of First Nationwide Financial institution & Belief Co., a Potawatomi tribal financial institution in Shawnee, Okla. His son, John Tom Anderson, is a present director.
“We’ve glorious relations with the tribe, and [F&M Bank] does some loans with the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” Anderson says.
Right now, he and his household have their eyes on the long run. “Proper now, we’re within the means of drawing up guidelines for using members of the family,” he says. “We wish them to have an excellent training, and we would like them to work someplace else for 3 or 4 years to see what it’s wish to work for any individual that’s very goal. We wish them to watch the identical requirements that everyone observes once they come to work for us.”
In 2019, Anderson was inducted into the Oklahoma Bankers Corridor of Fame. “I believed that was one thing,” he says. “I’ve performed that by way of mentors and friendships, and in these 75 years I’ve made plenty of buddies. I simply did the perfect I may at no matter job I had.”
John V. Anderson’s deep perception in training
Having gone straight from highschool to the Navy after which into the workforce, John V. Anderson by no means went to varsity.
His first employer in banking, Liberty Nationwide Financial institution in Oklahoma Metropolis, Okla., provided banking programs without spending a dime to its staff—so long as learners handed. “Properly, I took benefit of all these programs that I may,” Anderson says.
Later, he went to the Graduate College of Banking in Madison, Wis., and likewise relied on mentors. “A few of them had been guys who had made it by way of in banking through the large Melancholy,” he says. “They had been actually seasoned bankers, and I appreciated what they did to assist me alongside.
“I’m an actual believer in getting all of the training you could in a area that you simply suppose you’re gonna get pleasure from.”
Molly Bennett is government editor of Unbiased Banker.