Business News for the Mississippi Delta

John Murry Greenlee

Portrait of a Gentleman Banker

By Jack Criss  •  Photography by Jamie Patterson

As President of BankPlus in Yazoo City, John Murry Greenlee exemplifies the best of a traditional banker. A self-described true “people person,” Greenlee could be considered old-fashioned in that he puts the customer first at all times and believes that relationships—especially in the banking world—constitute the most important part of his job and his employees.

Greenlee was born in 1973 to John Thomas and Merrill Greenlee and reared in Greenville. His father recently retired from farming after 50-plus years and his mother is the interim Executive Director of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, a position she held for eighteen years before retiring several years ago. 

Greenlee attended Washington School while growing up in Greenville—along with his only sibling, brother Warren, who is now an attorney—before proceeding to Mississippi State where many in his family had attended. “My grandfather, Murry Alexander, played and lettered in football back in the 1940s for MSU before returning home to farm,” he says, “so not only are we fifth-generation farmers but also fourth generation Bulldogs.”

Greenlee majored in Ag Business while at Mississippi State where he was a Kappa Sig fraternity member.

“All I had known my entire life was farming and that’s exactly what I planned on doing for my life’s work,” says Greenlee. “So, after graduating from State in 1995, I moved back to Greenville and lived with a few guys in a ‘bachelor pad’ and continued farming full-time for three years. It was during this time that I met my wife—the former Amanda Link—who was a Delta State grad. “We were introduced by my good friend, Harper Ross, who still lives in the Greenville/Leland area.”

“Although I loved farming, I had always had a burning desire to go chart my own path in some sort of sales-oriented job due to my love for dealing with people. I knew the natural fit was in some sort of agricultural sales roll such as chemical or seed sales.” Greenlee interviewed for a job at Delta and Pine Land with Randy Dismuke in Scott. “He offered me an intern position which I took and, eventually, I got a regional sales position in West Tennessee so Amanda and I moved to Jackson, Tennessee where I sold cotton and soybean seed for Delta Pine in a southern territory,” he says. 

Greenlee says he enjoyed the work and did well at it, enough so that he got a new position with the company which allowed him and Amanda to move to Yazoo City, where his wife was originally born and raised.

“Incidentally, my in-laws did business with BankPlus, here where I am today, and I needed a banker so one day I went to go see a man named Butch Gary, a senior vice-president and lender, as well as Bryan Jones, who was the president here,” says Greenlee. “I also saw Butch in order to get a car loan and we hit it off immediately. When I came back to sign my papers, he offered me a job at the bank right there on the spot. Believe me, I had no expectation or idea that that was coming. It had not been mentioned at all. It was obvious he had done his research on me as any good banker should do, knew that I knew farming and ag, and thought I’d be a good fit.”

Greenlee says that Gary offered him six months to consider the job and that he did just that.

“I was traveling around and driving to see customers in my truck for Delta Pine and just wasn’t sure if I wanted to sit behind a desk at a bank from 8 to 5,” admits Greenlee. “But, also, Amanda’s father’s mother was a Jones: Bryan Jones father and my wife’s grandmother were brother and sister. So there was that connection to BankPlus, too. My in-laws were obviously partial to the bank and they encouraged me to take the job. Tommy Peaster was the Chairman of the bank’s board at the time and all of them were telling me that there were great people involved in the bank.”

April 1, 2000 was Greenlee’s official hire date at his new job at BankPlus, where he worked his way up as is the normal procedure in the banking world, he says. 

“Honestly, by that time, I had gotten tired of all of the traveling with Delta Pine and was about ready to settle down,” he says. “Plus, our first child—our son—was born in February of 2000 and it was time for a stable job. All those things led me to be ready for my career as a banker and shortly moving into lending,” says Greenlee. 

Greenlee went through the Mississippi School of Banking at Ole Miss for two years as well as attending the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University to further hone his banking skills and acumen. 

Greenlee became president of BankPlus in Yazoo City three years ago and manages twenty-one total employees today. One of those employees has given him the moniker “Mr. Sunshine” because he always has a smile on his face.

“I’m very much an optimist, that’s for sure,” admits Greenlee. “Not only do I enjoy my banking career, but I still love to work outdoors and hunt on a regular basis. Plus, Amanda—who is an interior decorator by trade—utilized her skills and talent to build a home on her family’s land outside of Bentonia on the Big Black River and there’s a hunting camp on it. It’s our dream home smack dab in the middle of hunting property and I’m in paradise, believe me.”

Greenlee and his wife are the parents of three, Link, twenty-four, Staten, twenty-one and Lexie, eighteen, and are close to all of their children, he says. “They’ve grown into very fine people and we’re very proud of each and every one of them,” he says. The family are active members of the First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City, where Greenlee serves as a deacon. 

“I always tell people that I’m not the traditional, real ‘banker,’” he says. “I’m a good salesman, I love to work and talking and visiting with people and basically I’m selling money. That’s how I describe my job,” laughs Greenlee. 

“I’ll retire a banker but, deep down, I’m an outdoors guy who prefers blue jeans to a suit or even business casual dress. That said, I love my job and I love this bank. It’s been a true joy to work with some of the finest people in the industry here at BankPlus and also to have helped as many people over the years as I’ve been able to do, I have a great customer base. I’m in a great spot—there’s no doubt.”