An Interview With Jeff Lewis, Lexington, Tennessee Market President
What’s your story? Where did you grow up and have you always lived in Tennessee?
I was born and raised in Lexington, Tenn., and graduated from Lexington High School in 1977 and the University of Mississippi in 1981. Other than my college years and brief stops in Tupelo and Ridgeland, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., Lexington has been my home.
How did you get into banking and have you always worked for a local bank?
Almost 30 years ago I received a phone call from my good friend Wib Evans asking me if I would be interested in going to work at Farmers State Bank in Lexington. They were looking for a branch manager to run the Lexington, Tenn., office. I am currently back at the same location where I started my banking career on August 27, 1987.
FirstBank is like a big bank as far as services go in a small bank package. How is the local banking model advantageous?
We are committed to a philosophy that empowers each market with local decision making authority. This model gives us the opportunity to take care of our customers’ needs in a timely manner.
What do you like best about being a community banker?
At FirstBank we are family. Our customers are very important to us and we take pride in our community. What I like most about being a community banker is being able to help small businesses grow and help families finance major purchases and build financial security.
What do you like best about life in Lexington?
Lexington, Tenn., is a wonderful place to live. It is a beautiful area with seven lakes, the largest state park in Tennessee and great school systems. The cost of living is reasonable, and we have gorgeous scenery, but the most important aspect to me is our friendly people.
How is FirstBank giving back to Lexington?
We believe it is very important to support our local schools and civic organizations. The Ayers Foundation is very involved with Lexington and Scotts Hill High Schools helping students continue their education year after year. Other organizations that receive our support are the Lexington Rotary Club, CASA, Carl Perkins Child Abuse Center, and our Senior Citizens Centers.
What’s it like to watch FirstBank grow into a strong regional bank while keeping their local roots?
I am very proud to have been a part of us growing from a two branch Henderson County bank to the third largest Tennessee headquartered bank with over 80 full service branches across Tennessee, North Alabama, North Georgia and Kentucky. Throughout our growth we remain committed to customer service and providing a workplace that fosters respect, teamwork, and rewards excellence.
As Market President, what’s your vision for FirstBank in Lexington?
My vision for FirstBank Lexington is to keep doing what we have been doing for the past 30 years. With over 200 years of bank experience our lenders and branch managers always put the customers first. The future looks bright for our community and we are happy to be a part of it.
To be named as one of the 90 Best Banks To Work For, this means we work purposely every day to ensure that associates are engaged, having fun and enjoy what they are doing. American Banker conducts extensive workplace surveys and reviews employer reports on benefits and policies, basing their rankings on banks going above and beyond.
For more information on American Banker, visit www.americanbanker.com.