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 Tennessee Bankers Association has elected its directors and officers for the coming year. Among them are a number of Middle Tennesseans: Both First Farmers & Merchants President Tim Pettus and Commerce Union head honcho Ron DeBerry have started their three-year board terms.
Columbia-based First Farmers & Merchants Bank finished 2011 with more than $1 billion in assets, the first time it has crossed that threshold and up a tick from the $989 million it had as of Sept. 30. The bank's trust department in turn topped $3 billion of assets under management. Founded in 1909, First Farmers now employs 250 people at 18 offices in seven area counties. Officials plan to open another branch in Cool Springs' McEwen development this summer.