Daughter succeeds mother as bank president

For new Hillsboro State Bank president Jessie Wiebe and recently retired president Cynthia Fleming, bank leadership is all in the family.

It?s not unusual to see family members taking over family businesses. But it?s not every day a daughter succeeds her mother as president of a family-owned bank that isn?t theirs.

That?s what happened in August when daughter Jessie (Nikkel) Wiebe succeeded her mom, Cynthia Fleming, as Hillsboro State Bank president.

The idea of following so closely in her mother?s shoes was unexpected, Wiebe said.

Fleming stepped down as HSB president Sept. 25 after more than 50 years in the banking industry.

Fleming started her banking career while she was still at Hillsboro High School.

?Gerty (Gertrude) Hett was a banker and my Sunday school teacher,? she said. ?When I was in high school, Gerty said I needed to go to work at the bank.

?I thought: ?Why not??

?My first job was in bookkeeping at First National Bank?Harold Wiebe, Elmer Flaming and Marvin Jost were all primary owners at that time.?

Wiebe said she, too, took a bookkeeping job in banking when she was a senior in high school.

Both Fleming and Wiebe eventually worked their way up to the teller line, but Fleming said the job was a little too boring for her.

Wiebe said she liked being a teller.

From that point, their careers followed similar paths with both Fleming and Wiebe working in customer service, lending and taking on managerial banking positions.

In the early years of banking, Fleming said she liked working the proof machine, which was also something Wiebe did.

?The banks were switching to a different type of proof machine and they needed somebody to learn it and set it all up,? Fleming said.

Fleming said the proof machine was used to run all the work through on a daily basis.

?That meant all the deposits, verifying debits versus credits, which is now done on the teller line,? she said about the process.

Wiebe said today?s banking industry is more difficult than it was in earlier years.

?Nowadays, people (interested in banking) will either go into lending, operations, teller line or customer service,? Fleming said. ?Back then, at least in my situation, I learned it all.?

Fleming as president

Carl Long was HSB?s president prior to Fleming accepting the position.

?He was ready to retire and asked me to come and apply,? she said.

After Long retired, Flem?ing said HSB played up the fact that the entire staff consisted of women.

?I wasn?t sure how this would affect the agricultural customers, or if they would accept women in banking,? Fleming said.

Having graduated from Hillsboro High School and knowing a lot of people, Fleming said it worked out fine.

Wiebe said she has only changed jobs three times during her banking career; Fleming has changed only twice.

?I have always enjoyed banking, and the best part was the customers and helping people,? she said.

HSB story

Hillsboro State Bank had its start as the Ramona State Bank, which became HSB when the bank moved to Hillsboro in 1978. It?s location at 200 N. Main St. previously was a car dealership.

Through the transition, Ramona Bank Shares has continued as the holding company that owns the bank.

The bank is a stand-alone company, has a six-member board and is family owned.

?We are a small community bank, and we have regulations we must follow and policy and procedures,? Wiebe said.

Fleming added that HSB has the ability to work with people that other banks would turn away.

?We don?t have to go to Wichita or Junction City for permission,? she said. ?Decisions are made here or with the board.?

Smooth transition

Following Fleming?s retirement last week, Wiebe said she is not making any changes.

?If I see things that need to be changed, I have the latitude to do that, but in time, the industry requires (changes),? she said.

One of the most rewarding parts of the job is customer service, Wiebe said.

?I had a customer who had some hard knocks,? she recalled. ?It wasn?t important to him because it wasn?t important to his mom and dad.?

Still, there came a time he wanted to buy a car, and she helped him through it.

?He has a good job and owns his own home now,? she said.

HSB, she said, is a full-service bank, which means it can do anything any other bank does.

?We don?t have our own trust department, but we work with Trust Company of Kansas,? she said. ?If anybody needs trust services, we can refer them to the Trust Company of Kansas and they can use our board room to meet.?

One thing Wiebe said she continues to learn?and something her mother did prior to retirement?is keeping current on regulations.

Banking changed a lot in 2008 when mortgage lending went south, Fleming said.

?We have a lot of regulations and compliances.? Wiebe added. ?It is very government regulated.?

Beyond work

Another shared trait by mother and daughter is their love of traveling as passengers on motorcycles.

?Since my husband (Jake) and I married last October, and previously when we were dating, I started riding on Harleys and Indian (motorcycles).?

Fleming and husband Roger also enjoy motorcycles.

?It?s a lot of fun,? she said.

Wiebe?s other hobbies include looking for antiques and watching football.

Fleming plans to work part-time as director of the Hillsboro Community Foundation, succeeding Kathy Decker, who recently retired.

Fleming said she plans to do more traveling now that she?s retired, but will continue as Chamber of Com?merce president until elections later this year.

?I will still be on the board for another year after that, and I hope someone will take up the presidency.?

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