POMEROY — The Farmers Bank Junior Board of Directors recently hosted the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce for a Business After Hours event in the Farmers Bank Community Room in Pomeroy.
The event was a time for Junior Board members to meet with individuals from numerous area businesses, as well as a time for the business community to learn more about the Junior Board program.
This is the 10th year for the program which brings together high school juniors from Eastern, Meigs, Southern and Wahama.
Michael Letson, who is one of the Eastern High School representatives to the board, spoke to those in attendance at the Business After Hours event about the program and the experiences the board has taken part in this year.
Letson stated, “As the name implies, the Junior Board is the board of directors to a mock bank. The board held monthly meetings. In the monthly meetings, we board members made decisions that were critical in forming and keeping our mock business successful.”
“Each meeting had a different objective that was important in starting and maintaining a business. They are as follows: Forming the Corporation, Introduction to Banking, Understanding Business Accounting, Getting Started, Products and Services, and Long Range Planning,” said Letson.
He explained that in “Forming the Corporation”, the members discussed the requirements associated with forming a corporation, their duties as Directors, and whether our business would be state or federally chartered.It was at that time the board members made their $1 million investment to form the “2020 Corporation.”
In “Introduction to Banking”, members learned how a bank operates and how fees and interest rates make a bank money. The distinction was made to board members between national, regional, and community banks.
“In similar suit to The Farmers Bank and Savings Co., The 2020 Corporation chose to become a community bank,” said Letson.
“Understanding Business Accounting” was a meeting that taught members about assets, liabilities, and equity. It also showed the difference between a balance sheet and an income sheet.
During the “Getting Started” meeting, the board found what qualities they wanted their management team to possess. The board also debated on where they wanted to locate their bank. Members took into account internet speeds for the constant growth of mobile banking, state taxes on banks, the demographics of the people who are in and around the state, and state regulations on banks.
“Products and Services” was the meeting in which the board discussed what type of products they wanted their business to offer. There was a big discussion about what type of services lead people to choose one business over another.
Letson spoke of an example given to them by Farmers Bank President and CEO Paul Reed. Letson recalled, “He asked the board members if they would be more likely to do business with Farmers Bank because of a service in their Mobile App, or because of services like the Junior Board of Directors. The majority of the Board was in agreement that being involved in the community and offering services like the Junior Board would gain their business.”
During the final meeting, “Long Range Planning”, the Junior Board displayed resilience and a sense of pride for what they formed. They were approached by another bank wanting to buy each of their shares for 5 million dollars.
“The representative sent from the bank wanting to buy the 2020 Corporation was being very stern and hard nosed. But the Junior Board saw fear behind the representative and it fueled the decision to expand the bank and not sell,” said Letson.
He said it was a hard decision with the possibility of profiting $4 million.
“Then I remembered why we started the 2020 Corporation. It was not only an investment for us board members, but an investment in the community,” said Letson.
Each year the Junior Board takes a trip to Columbus where they visit with the Ohio Bankers League, as well as elected officials. This trip allows them to learn about the workings of the banking industry, as well as get to know each other better.
“On behalf of the Farmers Bank Junior Board of Directors, thank you for your community involvement. Without people like you, Meigs County would not be what it is today,” concluded Letson.
Members of the 2018-19 Farmers Bank Junior Board of Directors were as follows:
Eastern High School — Gabby Beeler, Lexa Hayes, Autumn Honaker, Michael Letson, Aubree Lyons and Emily VanMeter;
Meigs High School — Cole Arnott, Weston Baer, Austin Mahr, Bobby Musser, Emily Myers and Breanna Zirkle;
Southern High School — Kasandra Barton, Phoenix Cleland, Trey McNickle, Coltin Parker, Raeven Reedy, Sydney Roush and Baylee Wolfe;
Wahama High School — MacKenzie Barr, Olivia Johnson, Emily Mattox, Zach Roush, Hannah Rose and Emma Tomlinson.
Farmers Bank President and CEO Paul Reed and Human Resources Director Erin Krawsczyn serve as board advisors, with Dru Reed, Lola Sanders, Edna Weber, Ben Reed and Heather MacKnight serving as student advisors for the program. Economic Development Director Perry Varnadoe also assists with the program each year.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.