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Dan Derges, Mid-Missouri Bank community bank president, previously served as senior vice president of BancorpSouth in Springfield.
Dan Derges, Mid-Missouri Bank community bank president, previously served as senior vice president of BancorpSouth in Springfield.

Bankers on the Move

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Several notable Springfield-area bankers have changed the local banking landscape with their career moves in recent months, and BancorpSouth is at the center of the shifts.

Veteran bankers Robert Fulp, Brad Weaver, Scott Tumlin and Dan Derges have left executive positions with BancorpSouth, while Michal Moss Early, a senior vice president for Arvest Bank in Springfield, has left banking altogether to join Joplin’s rebuilding efforts as vice president of business development with Morelock-Ross Builders Inc.

Dan Derges was named community bank president for Mid-Missouri Bank after working previously as the senior vice president of BancorpSouth in Springfield.

“I really wanted to get back to community banking and had a strong desire to provide my customer base with customized solutions that they were asking for, that I couldn’t deliver in my previous place of employment,” Derges said. “Our goal is to help our clients get the most out of their products and services, and I just couldn’t do that as well at a regional bank.”

For example, Derges said the Missouri Linked Deposit Program, which offers short-term low-interest small-business loans, was an option he could not have offered to his customers at BancorpSouth.

“Regional banking is great, but providing localized solutions to local needs is very important to me,” said Derges, who has worked in banking in Springfield since 1987.

He expects his current position to be similar to a job he held in 1998 as community bank president for The Bank.

His new job at Mid-Missouri does not come without it’s share of challenges, however. Mid-Missouri lost 6.1 percent of its total assets between March 2010 and March 2011, according to BankTracker, an online research tool developed by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington, D.C. Total assets reached $485.5 million in March.

Mid-Missouri’s troubled asset ratio also has climbed recently, to 38.2 in March from 30.9 in September. Troubled asset ratios compare loans past due at least 90 days, loans in nonaccrual status and bank-owned property to capital and loan-loss reserves. Higher values in this ratio generally indicate that a bank is under more stress caused by loans that are not paying as scheduled.

Derges said times have been tough for banks all around, and he thought his experience as a community banker could help improve Mid-Missouri’s bottom line. Mid-Missouri operates 14 locations in 11 southwest Missouri cities, and one of Derges’ goals is to expand the bank’s opportunities in Springfield.

“My hope is to double the numbers in the Springfield market,” he said.      

Early said an interest in her hometown Joplin and her frustration with a changing regulatory climate in banking have led her to seek residential and commercial construction opportunities as a business developer with Morelock-Ross.

“My main focus is just trying to get in front of people, especially those with commercial opportunities,” she said. “We are going to be building some houses down here, so that may change my dynamic a little bit once we get projects started.”

She started in mid-June working directly with Morelock-Ross partner Kirk Elmquist, trying to meet the needs of residents and business owners who lost property during the May 22 EF-5 tornado.

“When you can fulfill somebody’s needs, there’s no greater feeling,” Early said.

Early said she was homeless for a couple of years during her childhood following a fire that destroyed her family home. It was a situation, she said, where the home was underinsured, and it took the collective will and work of family and friends to build their house.

She said this new position has allowed her to reconnect to that experience.

“This has been a chance for me to get back to my roots of selling and developing and building relationships with people outside of the company, which is really one of my first loves,” she said.

Early said the new federal regulation on interchange fees is forcing banks to re-examine ways to generate revenue. Interchange fees are triggered when a consumer uses a credit or debit card to pay for purchases, and they’ve been a significant source of revenue for many banks, she said.

“Banking is changing. And as banking changes, it’s going to be harder for banks financially,” she said.

Robert Fulp, former president of BancorpSouth in Springfield, said he, too, was drawn to the lure of community banking. Fulp was hired in June as chairman and CEO of Springfield First Community Bank.

“This allowed me to get back into a community bank environment. With my background – being raised in Aurora – this was really the right environment for me,” Fulp said, after leaving his 11-year employer, BancorpSouth, which acquired The Signature Bank in March 2007.

He said the fact that Tupelo, Miss.-based BancorpSouth Inc. (NYSE: BXS) reported a net loss of $494,000 in the first quarter of 2011 was not part of his decision. BancorpSouth ended its 2010 fiscal year with a net income of $23 million, a 72 percent decrease from fiscal 2009 net income of $82.7 million.

Fulp joined three former BancorpSouth executives at Springfield First Community Bank. In 2008, Brian Straughan, Jan Baumgartner and Kirk Bossert left BancorpSouth to start SFCB.
Other moves include Brad Weaver, who was named the CEO of First Home Savings Bank.

Weaver worked previously at BancorpSouth as senior vice president of commercial lending in Springfield before joining First Home Savings Bank, which was founded in Mountain Grove in 1911, according to www.fhsb.com, and is a subsidiary of First Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: FBSI).

Scott Tumlin was the community bank president at BancorpSouth in Springfield before joining Liberty Bank as senior vice president and chief credit officer, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

Both Tumlin and Weaver did not reply to calls for comment by press time.

Dave Kunze, who works in Springfield as state president for BancorpSouth, also did not return calls for comment by deadline.[[In-content Ad]]

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