An Interview With Curtis Mansfield, Jackson, Tennessee Market President
What’s your story? Where did you grow up and have you always lived in Tennessee?
I have always lived in Tennessee within a 25-mile radius of FirstBank in Jackson, Tennessee.
How did you get into banking and have you always worked for a local bank?
Apart from being Market President of FirstBank in Jackson since 1996, my banking career goes back to 1974. I began working at Second National Bank, which is now BancorpSouth, then moved to First Tennessee Bank until Mr. Jim Ayers decided to open FirstBank in Jackson.
Since I grew up in the Jackson area, I have built relationships with bankers over West Tennessee, and worked closely with individuals and businesses. I realized early in my career that working with people gave me a great deal of self-satisfaction when I could get to know them, understand their financial needs and help accomplish them. That’s what local banking is all about.
What’s a day like in the life of Curtis Mansfield?
Apart of being Market President of FirstBank my greatest enjoyment is my wife, four children and six grandchildren. The best part is they all live with a 25-mile radius of what I refer to as, “Jackson, what America was meant to be”. With the opportunities Jackson has provided me, I feel I could never do enough to repay this community.
What does a Market President do? Do you truly have local authority over decisions that impact FirstBank in Jackson?
I and my team of Max Hart and Joyce Corley started FirstBank in Jackson from ground zero. Today we have grown into one of the most respected and successful banks in this area. We play a key role in the area’s economic development and growth. I lead Jackson FirstBank with a team approach to achieving goals and standards set by the bank. As Market President I have the authority to make local decisions working with my FirstBank team in servicing their customers and providing top level service.
FirstBank is like a big bank as far as services go in a small bank package. How is the local banking model advantageous?
We do an old-time kind of banking called “building relationships”. We have all the technology too, but what we focus on is community-style banking. All of our officers are very actively involved in their community, civic organizations and churches. We work with individuals and businesses no matter how big or small.
What’s Jackson, Tennessee known for?
Jackson is proud to be the home of the Miss Tennessee Pageant, Casey Jones Village, home of the Jackson Generals Baseball Team, various shopping areas, restaurants, and the world famous West Tennessee Bar-B-Que.
Jackson is well known for our medical facilities, industry such as Kellogg’s and Bodine, and retail shopping. We are a hub between Memphis and Nashville. We now have a minor league baseball team and a large sports complex for traveling teams. We have an ample number of restaurants that bring in visitors from surrounding towns. We have four major universities and provide degrees in all major medical fields and with Jackson Madison County General Hospital and West Tennessee HealthCare can offer a great deal of opportunities for people completing degrees.
What do you like best about life there?
I have lived in this area my entire life and it is what I call “God’s Country”. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
How is FirstBank giving back to Jackson?
Working closely with Mr. Ayers and Chris Holmes and their interest in local leadership has allowed me to serve on numerous boards. I have served on the Board of Trustees for Jackson Madison County General Hospital for 21 years, Union University Board of Regents and Foundation Board 20 years, Chairman of the Miss Tennessee Pageant Foundation 21 years, Secretary/Treasurer of Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce for 16 years, Director of Jackson Rotary Club and Board of Trustees of Englewood Baptist Church, in addition to being a member and past chairman to many other civic organizations.
As Market President, what’s your vision for FirstBank in Jackson?
My vision for FirstBank is to experience continued growth and become the bank of choice for Jackson residents. Our team will continue to help the community grow, improve the quality of banking and provide our customers with top-notch banking service and customer satisfaction. It means a lot to people to be able to pick up the phone or drop by and see their local Banker who knows them personally and calls them by name.
What’s your favorite lunch spot there?
Brooksie’s Barn for lunch. It’s a wonderful buffet with salad bar, dessert and good vegetables.
If we got in your car and turned on some music, what would we hear?
Oldies but goodies, music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
If you could give your 20-year-old self one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?
To always be yourself, a man of your word and to always be sincere, truthful and to listen.
What mentor made a difference in your life?
Jerry Philhours, a CPA helped me understand different fields of business and build close relationships with community leaders.
What’s your life motto?
Always be true to yourself, a man of your word and listen first, before you speak.
Describe your perfect vacation.
Cruise to Alaska.
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