End of a Career
Longtime banker Bryan retires,
continues to travel the world
Neil Bryan plans to stay on with the bank's
MILTON, Ky. (November 2021) – After a 48-year career in the banking field, Neil Bryan is still planning what to do during his semi-retirement. No doubt his loving of traveling will play heavily into his spare time.
Bryan is well-known to many in Trimble County, Ky. But banking wasn’t his first career choice.
“I had graduated from the University of Kentucky and been accepted into law school,” said Bryan, 70. “I decided I really did not want to go to law school.”
His wife’s uncle got him a job at Rotary Lift, and at the time, “I had applied at half a dozen places.”
Bryan said he “was fortunate to get three job offers one week: a higher position with Rotary Lift, one with an electric company and another offer through people he attended church with who worked at the local bank in Bedford. Bryan decided that out of the three offers, the one which would afford career advancement would be the bank.
Kathy and Neil Bryan plan to continue organizing cruises with their friends.
He began working at Bedford Loan & Deposit Bank on Sept. 3, 1973. Over time, he worked his way up to President & CEO.
After being approached by someone at the Farmer’s Bank of Milton with a job offer, he left the Bedford Bank but said it “was a difficult decision to leave Bedford.” He began his new job as President/CEO of Farmers Bank of Milton on Dec. 30, 1990, replacing L.D. Chapman upon the latter’s retirement.
During Bryan’s tenure there, the bank experienced tremendous growth, earnings and stability. When he started there, the bank had $40 million in assets and only one location. Upon his retirement, assets had risen to $306 million with five bank locations in two states. The bank was also awarded and has maintained rating agency Bauer Financial’s highest five-star designation for Safety and Soundness.
But Bryan said he could not have accomplished so much on his own. “I appreciated all the people who helped me along the way. I’ve had wonderful mentors.”
Bryan has also held a number of positions with the Kentucky Bankers Association, serving as President of Group V, Chairman of the Retail Credit Committee. He also sat on the Board of Directors. When elected KBA Chairman in 2013, he became the only Trimble County banker to lead the association. He currently serves as a Trustee of the KBA Health Care Trust.
He grew up in Bedford on a farm where he still lives. When the Milton bank approached him about working for the bank, his response was that if they were looking for someone to deal with large corporations, he might not be the best person for the job. But if they wanted someone to work with people who were employed in the local plants and factories, “I thought I could help them,” he said.
Bryan said the best part of his job has been “being able to help people.” In his job he has been able to assist people in buying cars, homes and educating their children.
He will remain President/CEO of the bank’s holding company, Farmers Financial Corp. He also will continue to serve on the Board of Directors for both the bank and the holding company, while working a few days a week handling the organizations investment portfolio.
He is succeeded by David Hertz, with whom he has worked alongside for the past 18 years. “I’m lucky to have worked with two really good bosses, and Neil was one of them,” said Hertz.
“He took me under his wing. He’s a very good, nurturing employer. We worked well together.”
Hertz said of Bryan, “Neil is very big on community and family, whether it’s an employee or customer we serve. He’s fond of saying ‘banking is the business of building relationships.’ ”
Bryan is also well known locally for playing basketball for Trimble County High School. He played for two years at a small college known as Sewanee, The University of the South, in Tennessee. “I was very competitive, and playing basketball was a good outlet for it. I just loved to play.”
He said he had to leave Sewanee his sophomore year because his mother was in a bad accident. So he transferred to UK but didn’t play basketball for the school. He did graduate Phi Beta Kappa.
“I grew up loving basketball,” he said. His father was a UK fan, and his older brother, Gordon, played basketball. Gordon’s team won the state championship. “Anything he was interested in, I was interested in.”
Bryan said that according to The Madison Courier, “I was one of the top 10 scorers in Trimble County history.” But he pointed out that “basketball is a team sport. I was fortunate to have really good teammates.”
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