Cook to retire from Peoples SouthernBy Justin Averette Published 2:23pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Betty Cook will retire later this week after an almost 50-year career with Peoples Southern Bank in Clanton.When Cook started her career on Jan. 9, 1963, the bank wasn’t even called Peoples Southern. It was then The Peoples Savings Bank, where Cook was a bookkeeper and one of just 10 employees.
During her time at the bank, Peoples Southern changed its name, has grown to 49 employees and moved to its current location and building on the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue.
Much like the company itself, Cook has witnessed many changes in banking and how business is conducted.
When she first started with the bank, accounts were kept by name — there were no account numbers. Anyone wanting a loan would just walk in and sign a small note with basic information like the date, amount and due date.
“The biggest changes I have witnessed in the banking industry have been in technology and regulations,” said Cook.
Since being hired by then bank president Lamar Clayton in December 1962, Cook has worked in numerous positions at the bank, including proof operator, teller, accounting, loan clerk and assistant to former bank president Johnny McKinney. She will retire as vice president and loan officer.
She said the most satisfying part of her career has been the people with whom she works and the bank’s customers.
“(I will miss) the interaction with different people, getting to know their families and becoming friends,” said Cook.
Bank president Richard Moore said Cook has been a loyal employee, one that will be hard to follow.
“Betty has done a great job for the bank. We will really miss her,” Moore said. “She has always been an outstanding ambassador for the bank for many years.”
Cook’s dedication to her job stands out for Moore.
“Betty never missed work. If she called in sick, you knew she was really sick,” Moore said. “We have a lot of great employees, and she stands out as a dedicated one. She’s set a great example.”
Cook said she looks forward to not having a set schedule in retirement, and she and her husband, Bobby, plan to do more traveling and work in the community and with their church, First Baptist Clanton. They also look forward to spending more time with their family, including grandsons, Pate and Parker McCullough.
Cook’s last day on the job with Peoples Southern Bank will be Thursday, March 29.