Kerby resigns from BankTrust

Published 10:07 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Olen Kerby has been a fixture in Demopolis banking for a long time, becoming the president of Commercial National Bank, which would later become BankTrust. On Tuesday, he announced his resignation as city president of that bank after 15 years of service to take a position at Sweet Water Bank’s Linden branch, and is planning to come back to Demopolis banking very soon.

“I’ve been working with a publicly-traded company,” he said. “I think I’m ready to get back to community banking. BankTrust is a good bank; I have no problems with them. They’ve gotten pretty big, and when you get big, it changes things up. I just feel like I’m at the age now where I would like to see my customers and enjoy being with people like I used to be.”

Kerby said that his final day at BankTrust was not set, that he told the company that he would work with them as long as they needed him to. He added that vice president Charles Singleton and assistant vice president Leslie Davis had also tendered their resignations with BankTrust and would also go to Sweet Water Bank’s Linden branch.

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“It’s like I put in my letter of resignation: I just don’t feel like I’m a good fit now; it’s a different world,” he said. “I just feel like I’d like to get back to small community banking like I grew up in.”

Kerby said that plans were under way for Sweet Water Bank to open a Demopolis branch in the near future, opening in a temporary office on U.S. Highway 80 next to Domino’s Pizza. The plan is to move to a permanent location across the highway next to Lane’s Tire and Oil.

“My family has had a long history with Sweet Water Bank,” Kerby said. “My grandfather was president of it years ago, and my cousin is president of it now. They needed some people to work in Linden because they sent people from Linden to work at the branch in Thomasville because it’s busier.”

Kerby served as bank president and chief executive officer of Commercial National Bank before the bank’s merger with BankTrust 10 years ago, changing the name to Commercial Bank of Demopolis. The bank became BankTrust about four years ago.

“These guys at BankTrust are nice; they’re good folks,” he said. “It’s just times and circumstances dictate that we do things differently, and like I said, I just don’t think it fits the way I operate.

“I would like to get back to my family banking that my kinfolks have been part of for a long time. They don’t own it, but their heart is in it, and I want to get back to where my heart is. I don’t want to leave Demopolis. I love Marengo County. We moved away from Demopolis when I was 10, when we moved to Thomasville. I was crazy about the folks in Thomasville, but I was so glad when Robertson Banking Company gave me the opportunity to come back to where I consider home.”

Kerby sees the move from BankTrust to Sweet Water Bank as a life opportunity to stay in the field he loves and do it in the manner he has enjoyed for years.

“This is an opportunity for me,” he said, “and I feel like it’s an opportunity for Demopolis and Marengo County. We appreciate people doing business with us, but if you’ve got a good working relationship, that’s a win-win for everybody. I feel like we can get that win-win situation to make it good for Demopolis and Marengo County and good for the bank, too.”