It has been a generational lesson in the importance of community banking.
Rodney Mortimer was first inspired to be part of the banking industry by watching his father, Lagrone Mortimer succeed in the business. It was the reason he majored in banking and finance at Mississippi State University, and began working at the Bank of Kilmichael with his father and grandfather.
In the 80’s, Rodney Mortimer took over as president of the Bank of Kilmichael, following in the footsteps of his father, Lagrone Mortimer and also his grandfather, Kent Mortimer.
At that time, the Bank of Kilmichael consisted of just the main bank located in Kilmichael and employed about 10 people. Now, Bank of Kilmichael has four branches, a centralized loan processing center and over 32 full time employees.
Since that time, three addition branches have opened to expand their services. The Winona branch opened in 2008, Mathiston in 2010 and Eupora in 2015.
“Bank of Kilmichael made the decision to branch out to better accommodate our customers,” Mortimer said. “You can visit any of our branches and experience the same service you have always gotten in Kilmichael.”
Within the past few years, Mortimer has semi-retired, and enjoys spending a little extra time golfing and traveling with his wife, Ethlyn Brown Mortimer. And even though he is still in the office at least three days a week in Kilmichael, the extra time gives him the opportunity to enjoy his son and daughter and even more importantly, the grandchildren!
Their daughter, Dr. Mary Love Mortimer Tagert is a professor in the Agriculture and Bio-Engineering Department at Mississippi State University. Mary Love is married to Mike Tagert, Commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Transportation. They have four children, Frances, Harlan, Wilkes and Henry and live in Starkville.
He does see his son, Kent Mortimer, a little bit more. Kent is the senior vice president at the Bank of Kilmichael. Kent is married to Britanny McCreary Mortimer, who is a third grade teacher at Pillow Academy in Greenwood. They have two children, Hughes and Wiley, and they live in Kilmichael.
The Mortimers are quick to say that the Kilmichael community has been a blessing to their family and their business.
“You can count on the folks of Kilmichael to always help take care of one another,” Rodney Mortimer said.
“Rodney and I were blessed to be able to raise our children in a close-knit, caring town like Kilmichael,” said Ethlyn Mortimer. “Rodney was fortunate to be able to work in the bank where he remembers his grandfather Kent working, also. In 1974, we moved back to Kilmichael and he was able to work with his father for over 30 years. They both taught him the importance of community banking where you have the opportunity to get to know your customers and their concerns.”