By Don Lowe
The Cornerstone Bank has flourished throughout Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas for 125 years. As their team recently gathered to celebrate the important milestone, leadership recognized character, consistency, and competency as keys to the bank’s ability to thrive and establish deep roots in the communities they serve.
“We’re in a unique position as a community bank to partner with our neighbors and develop long-lasting relationships,” Mike Meek, president and chief executive officer, said. “We’ve been fortunate to have staff committed to the bank and serving this community. Our customers know us and trust we want to help them reach their financial goals as much as they want to reach their financial goals.”
Meek has a unique history of his own with the bank. He was hired to paint a back wall when he was only 16 years old and has worked as a teller and held numerous other positions throughout the years.
“Our customers recognize our faces, see us within the community and understand we see them as individuals and not just numbers.” Meek explained. “Everything we do goes back to relationships. It cannot be overstated to be successful in any business, customers must trust you have their best interests at heart. We’re invested in our community. Their success is our success.”
Jeff Cooper, chief financial officer, graduated from McDonald County High School and earned his accounting degree from Missouri Southern State University. He started as an internal auditor at the bank in 1992.
“Being from a rural community allows us to get to know our customers personally,” Cooper said. “Cornerstone Bank employees have grown up with our customers. The fact that we have these personal relationships is comforting.”
Both Meek and Cooper emphasized the importance of the bank’s community involvement from the beginning.
“The bank has always worked to provide for our customers’ needs and been involved in the community,” Cooper said. “Customers’ confidence and trust in their bank is important for financial stability. A customer needs to know they can come to their bank for financial help. They need to know their bank is not just there to profit but is there for the customer.”
Cooper continued, “I’m most proud of our customers and community. We’re proud of our employees and bank leadership. Cornerstone Bank wouldn’t be what it is today without these people and the relationships formed with them.”
“For over a century, community and relationships have been first and foremost,” Meek said. “We know our customers’ families and their stories. We’ve walked beside them through many foundational events in their lives. We get to see our clients grow up, get married, start families of their own and reach their financial goals. At the end of the day, our desire is to be relevant for another 125 years.”
The Cornerstone Bank has a solid foundation that’s made the financial institution a pillar of strength in the past, present and for the foreseeable future.
“Any business that remains viable from the time of stagecoaches to electric vehicles can be proud of its ability to adapt,” Meek said. “We love the opportunity to be an invested member of our community.”