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Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With ... Diane Homan on market growth

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You’re Central Trust Co.’s new market executive following Jami Peebles’ retirement. What does the job entail?
My previous role was the market administrative leader, managing that department. That’s the daily administration of our accounts. I worked closely with Jami, and in November when she had her surgery, I assumed some of her duties, because we thought she was coming back, of course. Then after her retirement, I was interim until I was appointed a couple weeks ago. Before, I reported to the executive here. Now, I am responsible for the entire market. That includes budgeting, growth, personnel, anything that has to do with Springfield and southwest Missouri. In addition to my role here, I served on the Senior Relationship Managers Committee for the company. I was able to help implement policies and procedures on the administrative side.

Peebles was in the role eight years. Has the office handled the transition well?
From my perspective, it has been pretty much seamless. I worked very closely with Jami as part of the management team here. For basically the last six months, I had been in that role. There really haven’t been any major changes and I don’t see the need for that. My style is very participative in the sense of encouraging staff to bring ideas, comments and possible changes to the table. Not one person is going to run a department or a location or a company.

Central Trust recently crossed the $1 billion mark in local assets administered – up from $945 million in 2015. What put the company over that milestone?
Client relationships are key. A lot of that growth has come from within. We’ve had additions from current clients, but we’ve also been able to work with new clients through family situations that have changed. That can be from retirement, it can be from selling a business, an inheritance. We’ve also focused a lot on financial planning, not just estate planning – providing retirement projects and cash flow analysis for our clients. It doesn’t matter if you have the largest budget or the highest net worth or you don’t have very much, that projection is still very important for that person. We can help them see if they have enough money to complete their goals.

What’s the next step after $1 billion?
It’s $2 billion. Really, it’s slow continuous growth. You can’t grow at that pace without continuing to take care of your clients. We are growing internally, externally from prospects and also going into other markets. We have a great partnership with the West Plains Bank and Trust, where we are providing trust and investment services for their clients. It’s opened up an area for us.

There’s been movement in local trust companies over the last 10 years – the purchase of two independent firms by banks and most recently the startup of Missouri Trust & Investment Co. What does that say to you?
I was at Springfield Trust Co. when Central Trust bought it and went through that merger. I’ve worked in both the independent and corporate trust world and there’s really not a lot of difference. When I look at all the trust companies in town, everybody wants to provide the best service to their clients. Now, we’ve got four trust companies in town associated with a bank and a new independent. I can’t see much more movement, honestly.

Diane Homan is an executive vice president and southwest Missouri market executive for Central Trust Co. She can be reached at diane.homan@centraltrust.net.

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