Today is a special day at First Farmers & Merchants Bank in Columbia, where both Chairman and CEO Randy Stevens and Chief Administrative Officer John Tomlinson are marking their 40th anniversaries at the bank. Both men are natives of Columbia who started work at First Farmers on Jan. 22, 1973, and have since helped shape its growth from less than $40 million in assets to more than $1 billion.
"First Farmers & Merchants Bank would not be where it is today were it not for Randy's and John's four decades of hard work and devotion to customers, employees of the bank and the people of Middle Tennessee," said Virgil H. Moore, Jr., senior chairman of the Board, who hired both men to the bank in 1973. "Their efforts and steady leadership have helped our employees build a bank with a solid balance sheet and a reputation as a stable and secure financial institution."
The parent of Columbia-based First Farmers & Merchants Bank posted a full-year profit of $7.2 million in 2010, down about 15 percent from the year before. The bank's loan portfolio shrank 3.2 percent to $549 million during the year, while total assets held steady at about $940 million. The company, which runs 17 offices in six suburban counties, was able to mark a nice milestone during the year: Its trust department now oversees more than $3 billion in assets for the first time.
“We saw a slow local economy with less than robust loan demand throughout 2010, and that makes our continued growth in total assets and deposits last year all the more gratifying,” said T. Randy Stevens, First Farmers Bank chairman and CEO. “The decline in net income was primarily due to extraordinary expenses arising from some real estate loans. Even so, our internal measures of loan safety and soundness continue to compare very favorably with peer banks.”
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