Name: Will Cook
Title: Community President
111 E. Main St., Neosho, MO
Q: How many years have you worked at First Community Bank?
A: 7 years
Q: What is your role at First Community Bank?
A: I am the community president for our four Missouri locations. We have two locations in Neosho, one in Goodman and one in Jane.
Q: What do you love most about working in the Neosho community?
A: I live in Seneca and have worked in Neosho for 20 years now. I love the small-town feel of our area and the friendliness of people in Southwest Missouri. Everyone is so willing to help out their neighbors (and strangers) in almost any circumstance.
Q: In what ways do you volunteer your time? Which organizations?
A: Currently, I am active in the Neosho Lion’s Club (started with them in 2001). We do a handful of fundraisers throughout the year and donate to local children in need of eye exams and glasses. Recently, I joined a new organization that is attempting to get off the ground. It’s called the Seneca Betterment Committee. We are looking at ways to assist Seneca in improving or updating many of the area homes and businesses. If successful, we believe this model can be replicated anywhere in the country. It’s going to be fun to see how this might come together.
Q: When was a time you were most proud to say you worked for First Community Bank?
A: I’m proud every day to be part of an organization so committed to our many communities. One item I like to point out when asked about that commitment is the bank’s substantial investments made in our immediate area – starting with our facilities. Since becoming part of Southwest Missouri in 2008, through the purchase of The Goodman State Bank, we have built a new branch in Neosho, purchased and completely remodeled another branch (on the Neosho square), built a new branch in Goodman and upgraded to a newer branch in Jane. Not too many banks I know of would have made those types of investments in such a short period of time if they weren’t committed to our customers and the well-being of our local economy.
Q: In what ways does First Community Bank support the community?
A: We donate to countless local charities and organizations. As a bank, we are a Chamber Investor Member of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, participate in Bright Futures and are very involved with the local FFA kids and county fairs, to name a few. In addition, we have some of the best employees around who volunteer their personal time to help play a part in making our communities better – from local school boards to city and county boards, etc.
Q: What is something the community may not know about First Community Bank?
A: The bank was started in 1997 in Batesville, Arkansas, a town about the size of Neosho and people who are of the same character and temperament. We have a diverse group of owners throughout Arkansas and Missouri (approximately 200 separate shareholders). The four Missouri branches represent about 10 percent of the overall organization. Even though we are part of a larger banking group, we are able to operate as our own small-town bank with our own local advisory board members and decision makers. This allows our local employees and board to make decisions for the good of our local clientele and community. Although the banking industry has gone through a lot of change in the last 50-plus years, I like to tell people we attempt to operate as close to an “old-time bank” as possible. We deal with an ever-growing set of regulations in our industry, but sitting down with a customer face-to-face and/or visiting their business or farm in person is still the best way to operate as a bank. Bankers can help a customer become successful, but only if we are personally familiar with that customer and their operation.
Q: How many emails are in your inbox right now?
A: 102. I get about 100 per day.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as we end 2021 and welcome 2022?
A: Like most people, I hope to see life turn back closer to how things were prior to the pandemic. For the bank, I look forward to another year of good growth and a possible expansion in Southwest Missouri. We’ve been very fortunate to attract an excellent customer base in Newton, McDonald and Jasper counties with all of the praise going to our bank employees, who never cease to amaze me. I love our style of banking and would like to see it expand into more of our Southwest Missouri communities.
Q: What do you and your family enjoy doing outside of work?
A: When our kids were younger, we were constantly on the go to school and sporting events. Now that our kids are grown, we spend more time around the house making improvements and repairs. When possible, I enjoy playing golf – well…most of the time it’s enjoyable!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
A: My wife, Lori, is a teacher in the Seneca School District. We met in high school and have been married 28 years. Our daughter, Courtney, is married, works as a radiation therapist in Rogers, Arkansas, and lives in Seneca (she’ll give us our first grandkid in February!). Our son, Alex, is a junior in the Civil Engineering program at the University of Arkansas. In addition to our kids, we’re fortunate to have most of our extended family in the immediate area, as well.