Life is Grand in a Small Town
by GSB Team
October 24, 2019
Meet Meredith Renfroe
For 22 years, Grand Savings Bank’s Meredith Renfroe has been known to locals as the “Banking Lady”. A small-town girl who has raised her family in Gentry, Arkansas, Meredith has built a two-decade-long career supporting the community she considers home.
The Team Lead for Grand Savings Bank’s Gentry and Decatur branches, Meredith began her career as a part-time drive-thru teller at GSB while earning her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas. After graduating, she went to work in the data processing department and then became Teller Supervisor. She has since worked in almost every service area that GSB offers, including Loan Officer, Credit Analyst, Branch Manager, VP of Branch Operations and Grand Ambassador for GSB’s Gentry branch. She is a leader recognized by her colleagues, clients, and community. She has earned GSB’s Employee of the Month and Grand Service Awards and is a winner of the Gentry Chamber of Commerce’s Horizon Award.
Always eager to sing the praises of her hometown, we visited with Meredith to find out a little more about her devotion and emotion for small-town living.
GSB Interview with Meredith Renfroe
GSB: We know you as one of those people who light up a room when you walk into it, Meredith. Along with a genuine affection for the people you work for and with, you have a real legacy for helping people discover the very best in themselves. You’ve served your community in so many ways – from volunteering for the local PTO to serving as President of the Gentry United Way. What is it about small town life that you love so much?
MR: If you live in a small town, you understand that it isn’t just a town, it’s a way of life – your life. Knowing almost everyone means running into friends or family at the grocery store, at football games, at the pie auction, chili supper or county fair. It isn’t rare – it’s expected. I love seeing my customers and shouting their name across the lobby. I love that my customers expect a hug and a “How have you been?” and that I get that in return. I love that I went to school with all of my daughter’s teachers until she hit the 3rd grade and that I have their numbers in my phone because we are friends. In a small town, everyone knows everyone, and people genuinely want to know how you are.
GSB: You planted roots in Gentry and at Grand Savings bank over 22 years ago. In today’s banking marketplace (and in other industries for that matter), we see a trend toward job hopping, toward a move-on-to-move-up mentality. It’s become almost commonplace in a lot of bigger banks, though we at GSB are fortunate to have many, many long-term, loyal staff. What is the secret to that type of longevity, and why do you think it is so important?
MR: When people trust who you are, they trust the work you do. So, when a new baby needs a new savings account, you go to the bank you trust – to the friends you trust. And when that “baby” needs a new car or needs to build credit as they get ready to go out into the world, you go to the bank you trust – to the friends you trust. For me, it’s about relationships and roots. Whether a donation for the After-Prom breakfast is needed or hot dogs have to be grilled for the Back-to-School bash or the football team must be fed supper before the game, it’s hometown businesses who step up. That’s exactly what we are – a hometown business. I feel so fortunate to work for a bank that encourages that kind of support and participation. It was true then, and it’s true now – Grand Savings Bank loves their communities.
GSB: Finally, we know you have seen a lot of growth and change in your 22 years with Grand Savings Bank. With your experience and reputation, you could have easily “moved on to move up.” What has kept you with GSB for more than two decades? What is so special about GSB?
MR: I really love that Grand Savings Bank allows me to be me, especially since being “me” can be a little out there sometimes. I can get super caught up in community events, and I sometimes come up with pretty crazy ideas about how GSB can participate. Some of those ideas work and others just need work, but every single time, my leadership and my team listen with an open mind and a warm reception. My bank truly wants me to be out in the community, meeting new people who may potentially become loyal customers. Whether that means buying some chili or a pie or cooking hotdogs or collecting school supplies or holiday gifts for local kids in need, then that’s what it means. GSB puts family and community first, and they expect that from us. It’s a small town; it’s our small town, and we love it.
Grand Savings Bank is a full-service community bank providing a diverse line of financial products and services to individuals and business customers. We offer 12 locations and 11 ATMs in Northeast Oklahoma, Northwest Arkansas, and the River Valley.