Eight Tennessee bankers were honored by the TBA at the Leaders in Banking Excellence ceremony on August 13, 2021. Commemorative plaques highlighting the careers of each of the honorees were unveiled at the TBA’s headquarters building in Nashville. The 2021 inductees are among a distinguished group representing Tennessee bankers past and present who have excelled in the areas of banking, community service, and civic involvement.
The ceremony featured remarks by TBA Chairman Allen McClary, chairman and CEO, UBank, TDFI Commissioner Greg Gonzales, and each of the honorees. The 2021 honorees were David Barnes (Bank of Frankewing), William D. Dudney (Citizens Bank), Dale Fair (Bank of Tennessee), R. Molitor Ford, Jr. (Commercial Bank and Trust Company), Ken Jones (First State Bank of the Southeast), David Verble (Citizens National Bank), Dennis Walker (Citizens Community Bank), and Eddie Wiles (First Community Bank).
TBA member banks can submit nominations for the honor. The TBA board of directors reviews and approves the applications.
“One of the main missions of the Tennessee Bankers Association is to recognize our members for being involved in making our industry better and in making their communities better places to work and live,” said Colin Barrett, TBA president and CEO. “The Leaders in Banking Excellence recognizes those who have made a difference, and we hope it will be an inspiration to other bankers across the state.”
For more information about Leaders in Banking Excellence, click here.
David W. Barnes
Bank of Frankewing
David W. Barnes, known for his dedication, hard work, and natural leadership, was essential in guiding the growth and employee development at the Bank of Frankewing. Since joining the bank in 1981, the Boonshill, Tenn. native rose to the ranks of president, director, and secretary of the board. During his tenure, he helped facilitate asset growth from $8.5 million to more than $360 million by embracing change toward future opportunities and focusing on customer relationships. Barnes was always civic-minded, beginning with earning the Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America. He also served as the Frankewing Lions Club treasurer and life member, led the Boonshill School’s PTA, and assisted Boonshill Cumberland Presbyterian Church as an elder and treasurer.
William D. Dudney
After nearly two decades with First Tennessee Bank beginning in 1977, William Dudney joined Elizabethton’s Citizens Bank, earning the title of president, vice chairman and chief credit officer. He played an invaluable role in the bank’s expansion, the creation of its investment division, and merger with two other banks. As an active member of the Tennessee Bankers Association, Dudney served as Young Bankers Division director (1985), Credit Committee chairman (2000), Independent Bankers Division president (2006), and TBA board member (2009-2012). He is a past president of the Downtown Kingsport Association and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. Dudney received the Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member Award and Leadership Kingsport’s Distinguished Leadership Award.
Raymond Dale Fair
Bank of Tennessee and Carter County Bank
Dale Fair, an Elizabethton native, is the quintessential model for a community banking leader. Upon graduating college and serving as a high school educator and football coach, Fair returned to his hometown in 1981 to join Citizens Bank. After two decades with the bank, public service called, and he became the county mayor of Carter County. In July 2012, Fair returned to the banking industry as Carter County Bank and Mountain Community Bank president. In 2013, Carter County Bank merged with its sister bank, Bank of Tennessee, where Fair was later named president and CEO of the combined banks. Among his numerous civic engagements, Fair served as president of the Elizabethton Carter County Chamber of Commerce and the local Kiwanis Club.
R. Molitor Ford, Jr.
Commercial Bank & Trust Co.
In 1988, Mott Ford started his banking career at National Bank of Commerce. From there, he joined Commercial Bank and Trust Company in 1995 as the Memphis community president. Transferring to the Paris market in 1997, he accepted the position of vice chairman and in 1998 was promoted to the role of chief executive officer and later chairman. Ford leads the $900 million institution with banking operations in Memphis, Paris, Union City, and Jackson. He championed participation with the Tennessee Bankers Association, serving as chairman of the Board of Directors, Independent Bankers Division, and the Government Relations Committee. Ford’s civic and community duties include serving on the Memphis Branch of the St Louis Federal Reserve and several Memphis nonprofit boards.
Kenneth V. Jones
First State Bank of the Southeast
For more than four decades, Kenneth V. Jones was a staple in the East Tennessee and Southeast Kentucky banking community. The Sneedville, Tenn., native has held a number of leadership positions at First State Bank of the Southeast, Citizens Bank, and Home Federal Bank Corporation. Jones, an advocate of the banking industry, shared his knowledge with the Tennessee Bankers Association as the chairman of the Independent Bankers Division. Jones has led a number of civic organizations, including the Bell County Chamber of Commerce, Bell County Industrial Foundation, Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce, Claiborne County Economic Partnership, and Pineville Community Health Center.
David C. Verble
Citizens National Bank
After serving as an assistant national bank examiner with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, David Verble joined the bank in 1979 as vice president. After holding the titles of senior vice president and cashier, and executive vice president and senior loan officer, Verble was named the bank’s president in 1999 and then CEO in 2005. A staunch supporter of the Tennessee Bankers Association, Verble served as chairman of the board of directors and the Government Relations Committee. He also gave back to his community by serving on numerous boards, including Sevier County Economic Development, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, and the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which supported those affected by the Smoky Mountain wildfires in November 2016.
Dennis M. Walker
Citizens Community Bank
With a career spanning 50-plus years—all in his hometown—Dennis Walker is synonymous with community banking in Winchester. Walker began his banking career in 1970 with First National Bank of Franklin County, where he later became a member of the board of directors and served as bank president. After an acquisition in 1991, he set out to establish Citizens Community Bank. Under his leadership, the bank was profitable in its first year and was recognized as the nation’s top performing de novo. Walker retired as president and CEO in December 2018 but remained active as chairman of the board. A staunch supporter of his community, he has chaired numerous endeavors, including the Franklin County Resource Development Board, Franklin County Adult Rehabilitation Center, and more.
First Commerce Bank
Lewisburg-native Eddie Wiles’ banking career began in 1982 when he joined Peoples and Union Bank as a loan officer. He rose up the ranks, eventually being named senior vice president to his hometown institution. Then in 2002, Wiles was essential in organizing and establishing First Commerce Bank. After starting his tenure there as executive vice president and chief operating officer, he served as the bank’s president and CEO where he was known for compassion for his customers and staff. The civic and community service organizations he has served over the years include the Lewisburg Lions Club, the Lewisburg Industrial board of directors, and president of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce.