A changing of the guard is about to take place at the First National Bank branch office in Glenwood.
On Friday, Patrick Ross will retire as president / branch manager, putting a formal end to a financial career that began 40 years ago. Taking over for Ross will be Doug Meggison, a lending officer and vice president at the bank for nearly 21 years.
“I’m of age (65) to retire,” Ross said during a recent interview. “Cheryll, my wife, is retired and we’re wanting to do some traveling, so I just felt now is the time.”
Ross got his first taste of the banking business while working as a teller during his college days at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. After graduating from college, Ross returned to his hometown of Newton where he worked in manufacturing and helped out with his father’s construction company. In 1969, he took on a position with Jasper County Savings Bank.
Ross brought his family to Glenwood in 1972 when he accepted a position as vice president of Mills County State Bank.
“That bank (Jasper County Savings Bank) happened to be owned by the same bank holding company (Hawkeye Bank Corporation) that Mills County was owned by,” Ross said. "The president of Jasper County Savings Bank was aware of an opening in Mills County and advised that I come down and look at it, and I was able to come to terms with the management at that time."
Ross remained in his position with Mills County State Bank for over four years before moving on to become the managing officer at Mills County Savings and Loan.
"I thought long and hard before I took the position because the savings and loan business at that time was totally different than the banking business. Savings and loans at that time didn’t offer checking accounts and didn’t really offer consumer loans. They offered real estate loans and savings products," Ross said. "I decided this was an opportunity to learn about that aspect of the business and if it didn’t work out, I could always come back to banking.
"As it turns, I went through the savings and loan crisis, when interest rates went to 19 and 20 percent."
Ross would spend a dozen years in the savings and loan industry before returning to banking. He spent time with a bank holding company before becoming a senior vice president of City National Bank in Shenandoah. He spent 12 years in Shenandoah.
"In March of 2003, I had the opportunity to come back here and become president of this bank. I was very grateful to be able to do so," Ross said. "By that time, this bank had converted from state bank to a national bank. It was still an independent community bank and basically the same type of operation it was back in the ‘70s when I was here."
Over the past two years, Ross has played a key role in the bank’s transition from being an independent bank to a branch of First National Bank.
"If they (First National Bank) would allow me to, and they did, I made the decision that I would stay through the transition period and get that in place," Ross said. "The transaction with Silver City (closure of branch) came about earlier this year. I made the decision I was going to stay here and help those people accomplish that."
Ross said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, three children and four grandchildren. He’s also ready to pass the torch on to his successor.
"Doug has been with the bank under different levels of ownership for the past 20 years," Ross noted. "He’s got a wealth of experience to bring to the table. Of course, he knows the personnel and the community, and the people of the community know him.
"I think it’s a very good choice for the bank, for Doug and for the community."
Meggison, 53, came to Mills County State Bank in November 1988 after stints with banks in Council Bluffs and Bellevue, Neb., where he served as a consumer and retail estate lending officer. He’s been actively involved in the management of the bank throughout his nearly 21-year tenure.
The Red Oak native is looking forward to his new role.
"I’ll be doing kind of a duel role," Meggison said. "I’ll be doing the branch manager work and also still do what they call the small business banking section of it. Of course, it makes it easier for me when I have everybody here I can rely on."
Meggison said believes the knowledge and experience he’s gained over the past two decades will prove to be valuable in his new position.
"You kind of learn the ropes and work your way up," he said. "You learn a lot of things during a 20-year period, some good things, some bad things."
Two priorities for Meggison will be to keep a "small-town feel" to the bank and to enhance the service and products that are made available to customers.
"A lot of First National Bank’s values are built around providing the full banking relationship and trying to service the customer. They want us to maintain that small-town feel," Meggison said. "All we did was change the sign out front. It’s the majority of the same people here doing the same things we were doing prior to the conversion.
"Mills County was very progressive in their account offerings, but I think First National has a wide variety of products and service that just takes that to the next step."
Meggison and his wife Lori, a Certified Pharmaceutical Tech at Ruffner Pharmacy in Glenwood, have four children and seven grandchildren (with an eighth on the way).