Fleming comes home as new Hillsboro State president

CynthiaFleming089.jpg
CynthiaFleming089.jpg

As the new president of Hillsboro State Bank, Cynthia Fleming (foreground) will lead an all-female staff into the next era of operation. Pictured with her are team members (from left) Marcia Williams, Adele Hougland, Shelley Rooker and Lauren Just. Not pictured is Linda Beltz.

The new president at Hills?boro State Bank is no stranger to Hillsboro or to banking.

Cynthia Fleming, born and raised in Hillsboro and a fixture for many years at Emprise Bank, has stepped comfortably into her new assignment at Hillsboro State. She succeeds Carl Long, who retired at the end of July.

?It?s good to be back in town,? Fleming said. ?I really missed the people.?

For the past 41⁄2 years, Fleming has been working in the area of deposit operations at Emprise Bank in Wichita.

Her attraction to the job at Hillsboro State was two-fold: the opportunity to come home, and to return to a small-bank environment.

?I don?t want in any way to put down Emprise, because Emprise is a good bank,? Fleming said. ?But it was just an opportunity to come back to a smaller bank and be able to wear all the hats again.

?Some people would think that?s not appealing, but to me it also was a chance to come back to Hillsboro.?

Wearing many hats is an apt description of her time at Emprise. In fact, when she began working in the Hillsboro financial institution it was still First National Bank.

?You always started in bookkeeping at that time?that was the only place to begin,? Fleming said. ?Over the years, I?ve done about everything in the bank?which kind of gave me a good background for this job.?

Hillsboro State Bank remains a single-entity bank, while the Emprise Bank system includes 40-plus locations in more than 20 communities across the state.

Fleming said she knows the advantages and disadvantages that come with big banks and small banks, but said in the case of the local Emprise operation and Hillsboro State, both are strong institutions with quality staff.

?It?s really good at both places, but the great staff we have here (at HSB) is going to make my transition into here better?I?m working with a good team that?s been in place a long time,? she said.

While her years at Emprise prepared her to be a bank president, she said the job title wasn?t the primary motivation for coming.

?Sure, it?s an honor to be president, but I didn?t come here so I could toot my horn and say, ?I?m president,?? Fleming said. ?I came here to do a job and to continue the tradition of Hillsboro State. It?s been a good bank and we want to continue that.?

She said no major changes are planned at HSB.

?Sure, there?s things that I see when I walk in the door, coming from a different organization, and I think, ?maybe we can do something different there,?? she said. ?But I don?t anticipate a lot of changes immediately.?

When Fleming accepted her new position at Hillsboro State, she became the first woman to serve as a bank president in Hillsboro.

Also, Hillsboro State became the second financial institution in town to have an all-female staff. The local branch of Great Plains Federal Credit Union has been in that position for several years now.

Fleming doesn?t think gender will be a significant issue in her leadership role at Hillsboro State.

?I know the board, when I was interviewed, asked me how I thought the community would react to having a woman president,? Fleming said.

?Obviously, there may be some people, but I don?t think it would be very many that would have a problem with that. You look at how many things women are in charge of anymore. You can?t really say that this or that shouldn?t be that way.?

Prior to moving to Wichita three years ago, Fleming was active in a variety of community causes.

She expects to resume that tradition now that she?s back in town?but maybe not quite as extensively as before.

?I want to choose a couple of things where I can really invest myself in the job without being overly full,? she said, then added with a smile: ?You want to be able to enjoy being back, too.?

Fleming and husband Roger plan to move back to Hillsboro as soon as their house sells in Wichita. They look forward to a full return, she said.

?Wichita has a lot of restaurants you can go to and shopping you can do, but it?s still not the same as being able to walk down the street or go to the county fair and see people you know,? Fleming said.

?Sure, (in a large city) you get to know people at church and people at work, and you know the neighbor on either side and across the street, but that?s about it.

?It?s the hometown that brings you back.?

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