Pub. 2 2022 Issue 6

Tammy and Raeann grad pic

A Background on Tammy Kilgore – Sr. Vice President, Farmbank

This story appears in the
The Show-Me Banker Pub 2 2022 Issue 6

MIBA sat down recently with Tammy Kilgore to discuss banking, our association, and life in general. She is presently Senior Vice President of farmbank and is a licensed CPA in Missouri and Nebraska. For 30 years, she has been married to her husband, Steve (who, for 45 years, has owned and operated a Black Angus cow/calf business), and has two children, Grant (29) and Raeann (26).

Tammy enjoys spending time with her family, both indoors and outdoors and has a great love for horses. She and her family enjoy riding their Single Foot/Racking Horses, whether on their farm, on the local trails or throughout Missouri and surrounding states. They’ve even been seen in local parades. She likes taking trips, boating and swimming, and is fond of relaxing with a good book or watching a movie.

We’re thankful she spent some time with us and hope you enjoy learning about her as much as we did.

A native Missourian, Tammy Kilgore was born to Jerry and Wilma Elsea in Kirksville and grew up with her brother, Kevin, on a farm outside Green Castle. She graduated from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) with a two-year accounting and data processing degree and then from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting.

Her accounting degree assisted her in becoming a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Missouri and Nebraska. Additionally, she is a Certified BSA/AML Professional. She was also Secretary and Board President of the Green City School Board for 17 years.

Presently, Tammy has 25 years of experience working in banking, plus another four years performing banking audits while she worked in public accounting.

No one in Tammy’s family is in the banking industry; she is a first-generation banker. While attending college, a friend introduced her to banking. Her experiences of seeing customers’ appreciation, whether they received good service, or a loan for a new home, business, or toy, confirmed her career path. Tammy recognized that there is a lot to banking; it involves all areas and is constantly changing. She knew banking would provide challenges, and as she gained more knowledge, she continued to be intrigued by the banking world. So she took the opportunity while working during college to learn as much as possible.

Tammy started as a teller and then progressed to head teller, new accounts, investment entries and loan processor. She soon realized that to advance further in her career, she would need more education and a four-year degree. She made the move to Omaha, Nebraska, when she was accepted to the University of Nebraska. This small-town country girl anxiously headed to the big city.

She landed a position with a bank that was part of a Seven Bank Holding Company in four states. While there, she continued working in new accounts and quickly learned all about cross-selling the bank’s products, including the trust and financial services available. She earned the recognition of Top Sales for two years. Later, when upper management realized she would graduate with a BSBA specialization in accounting, she was given the opportunity to work in the bank’s accounting department.

This was where Tammy experienced her first Core software conversion. During this process, she put forth the extra effort to learn all she could about the software. She created procedure manuals for all new account products. She also recognized that it is best to have all applications balance during conversion and not go to a force balance account. She learned the specific interfaces of transaction codes for all applications and told herself that if she were ever in charge of a conversion team, that team would balance before moving on. In the end, she learned Jack Henry software inside and out.
Eventually, the position led to another within the Bank Holding Company in the audit and tax department, where she and her team performed Directors’ Exams, Trust Exams, EDP (Electronic Data Processing) Exams, and Insurance and Mortgage Company Exams. She also assisted with implementing a mortgage company at the Independence, MO, location.
At this point, Tammy left the banking industry to work in public accounting to broaden her accounting experience. She was still involved with banking due to her vast experience. At first, she was just part of the team that performed bank directors’ exams and tax returns, but later, she became the lead. She believes her experience in public accounting has been very valuable in and for her career.

Tammy also has some agricultural experience due to her farm background, as well as medical, construction, food businesses and one of her favorites, the music industry, specifically a recording studio. Each of these industries provided a solid foundation for her return to Missouri, where she opened her own public accounting business.

However, after a few years, she went back to the banking industry. Tammy joined farmbank (rebranded from Farmers Bank of Green City) in 2009. As Sr. Vice-President of the bank, her main responsibilities include managing the operations of the bank’s three branches, accounting, human resources, BSA program and data processing. Having been given the opportunity to grow professionally and personally, she has been fortunate enough to be involved in all areas of the bank. Her team has grown farmbank from a $19,000,000 bank to a $75,000,000 bank. Tammy said it gives her a sense of accomplishment to see staff grow professionally and personally; they are allowed the opportunities to succeed, which makes the bank successful.

Tammy likes to invest in local communities – personally and through the bank. Some of those organizations include Winigan Youth Group, a part of the Winigan Christian Church. She, her husband, and her family like to be there for the community, individuals and families during times of need, whether it is merely providing help or financial assistance. She invests time and resources into the school system because, as she says, “These kids are our future.” She also supports St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospitals.

The most rewarding part of her career is being part of farmbank’s growth and development of the staff. She says, “It is wonderful to be able to assist customers with their financial needs and the joy it brings them.” Finding their gratitude touching, she also reflected, “It is heartwarming to be part of a community that stands strong for its members in a time of need or participating in community events.”

Regarding the benefits of MIBA membership, Tammy says that MIBA provides education for bank staff, directors, and networking opportunities. MIBA strongly supports independent community banks’ prosperity by providing political support in Missouri legislation. And the scholarship program provides deserving individuals an opportunity to further their education. MIBA benefited Tammy personally with education, networking and the opportunity to advocate for the banking industry.

When discussing the importance of mentors during her career, Tammy shared that her first mentor was her father, Jerry, now deceased. “He always challenged me to be knowledgeable,” she said. “He always amazed me with his questions.” She said he showed confidence in her but taught her that hard work, knowledge and dedication would earn the way to success.

Another mentor she mentioned is Brad Doran, the Chairman and CEO of farmbank. He created a team-oriented environment that allowed her to utilize her skills and knowledge. “I have gained a deeper insight into the management of a bank by working closely with Brad,” she told us. “He’s mentoring by giving me the opportunity to work by his side. He holds the belief, as I do, that one must be passionate about our profession and show compassion to others.” She states that Brad has pushed her to be her best and obtain results in an efficient and successful manner.

Tammy provided three recommendations for someone she may mentor:

  • Learn about the banking industry and your job responsibilities. Don’t depend on others to tell you how to perform your job. Put forth the extra effort when needed.
  • Embrace change. Banking is an ever-changing world, whether it is regulations, economics, technology or learning new software or software changes.
  • Always be team-oriented, level-headed and fair to others. Do your research and never assume.

Regarding important challenges currently facing the community banking industry, Tammy told us one of them is growing a bank in deposits and loans during a time of rising interest rates while trying to meet the customer’s expectations with interest rates and maintaining the net interest margin. Additionally, forecasting the future and budget for underlying economic events can be challenging while trying to increase the bottom line during rising costs of operations. And remaining updated with the technology is a constant concern to ensure security for the bank – and its customers – is provided.

Although complex, bankers can successfully deal with today’s challenges. They must acquire loans and deposits from an established bank or the addition of a new branch in a thriving community. Management must budget and forecast for the future, taking into consideration the past year and trend; constantly monitor the market, sources and uses of funds, loans, and interest rates; monitor other income and expenses throughout the year, then make the necessary adjustments.

Most importantly, bankers should provide education for management and staff to stay informed and conduct work efficiently.

In closing, Tammy shared that Farmbank’s motto – “Growing Together” – is how she lives her life, both personally and professionally.