Pub. 2 2022 Issue 3


A Background on Aaron Panton

MIBA recently interviewed Aaron Panton about his life, career and work perspectives.

Aaron Panton is a first-generation banker, but he said, “I am hopefully setting the stage for there to be many more generations in the Panton family’s future.”

Aaron was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, in the southern part of the state near the Massachusetts border. However, he grew up in the far north of the state, in Littleton, near Mount Washington. His interests and hobbies include his family, coaching, travel and woodworking. “I try to build a few wood projects each year,” he said.

The path toward banking was indirect. Aaron attended Johnson & Wales University, and while there, he focused on culinary arts and hotel restaurant management. He changed direction shortly afterward and landed in financial services. He has since earned a degree from The Paul W. Barret, Jr. School of Banking in Memphis. Aaron said, “I became a banker because I really enjoy getting to know people, and helping them reach their business and personal financial goals is rewarding. As my career has progressed, I have seen that our impact as community bankers is significant in the communities we serve.”

Aaron has approximately 17 years of banking experience. He started in banking in 2005 when he worked for Regions Bank as a mortgage loan officer, then spent eight years with Wells Fargo as an area sales manager. He was responsible for all mortgage operations in Arkansas, rural Missouri, southern Illinois and western Kentucky. He spent a year at Ozarks Federal as their chief lending officer and has been at The Bank of Missouri for the past seven years.

Currently, Aaron is responsible for six branches in three Missouri communities: Scott City, Cape Girardeau and Jackson. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a regional president,” he said. “I have an amazing team. The people who are part of it are focused on the customers and the communities we serve.”

Several nonprofits also benefit from Aaron’s involvement. He currently serves on the Cape Area Chamber of Commerce as the past chair, and on the Codefi Foundation board. “Codefi is a very cool organization that brings skills and opportunities to entrepreneurs and students across the southern part of Missouri,” Aaron said. “I encourage you to check out all their work.” (Codefi focuses on rural innovation and economic development; the website address is And finally, Aaron serves on the Cape Girardeau Parks & Recreation Foundation board.

He has a strong interest in continual learning. “Continual learning is the process of acquiring new skills and knowledge over time. This process helps me develop both personally and professionally. I equate learning with growing, and if you’re not growing, you’re dying. To be successful in today’s world with the speed at which things change, you must be intentional about learning. Take it into your own hands. I believe that discomfort comes with growth. I try to put myself in situations or scenarios that stretch me and force me to look at things from a different perspective,” he said.

The most rewarding part of Aaron’s career: “The impact I get to make every day on the community where I live. I hope that the impact I have is always a positive one.”
Aaron values his MIBA membership. “

I think MIBA’s statement of purpose sums it up,” he said. “MIBA provides resources to independent community banks that allow them to continue to serve the community. MIBA is also a voice at the state and federal levels to protect the community bank’s identity. I have really enjoyed the relationships I’ve formed within the association, and I have been fortunate to meet some very impressive bankers.”

As a member of ICBA, Aaron was recognized in 2021 as an emerging community bank leader in a “40 under 40” article. He said, “The ICBA is an unbelievably valuable organization. It was a true honor to receive this recognition.”

Mentors have been an important part of Aaron’s career, just as they have been for so many people. “I have had many mentors throughout my career,” he said. “The one who may have had the largest impact on me early in my career is a dear friend and former colleague, Tony Julianelle. Tony shared an important lesson early in my career. He taught me that I was responsible for my professional growth and nobody else.”

Aaron expressed the three pieces of advice he shares with those he mentors: number one, read. Number two, make sure your perspective is diverse and always open to change. And number three details one of his favorite quotes by Patrick Lencioni: “If everything is important, then nothing is.” He added, “Make sure you truly prioritize important things, both personally and professionally.”
When asked about the most important challenges facing the community banking industry, Aaron said, “There are many threats to our industry, but digitalization is the biggest. We must make sure we as an industry can ‘be where they are.’ The way our customers bank and want to bank is changing. We, as an industry, must listen to our customers, meet them where they are, and do so when they want it. Banking isn’t nine to five, Monday through Friday anymore. Customers have more banking options now than ever, and as a community bank, we must stay nimble and truly listen to our customers and our community’s needs.”

Aaron suggested solving the challenges by “staying active, engaged, and intentional about listening to your customer’s needs.
Leverage and embrace technology!”
Aaron’s parents presently live in northern Vermont, and he has two sisters. One sister lives in northern Vermont, where she owns and operates an independent insurance agency with her husband; and the other sister, also in insurance and working for a large agency, lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Aaron’s father is retired from manufacturing. Aaron and his wife, Cassie, have three children. Mia (14) will be a high school freshman next year. Elijah (11) will be in sixth grade, and Brody (9) is headed to the fourth grade.

In conclusion, Aaron said, “Love, learn and grow. Love what you do and who you are around. If you learn something every day, your growth is guaranteed!”