By Aimee Robinette
“Planters Bank’s history is as rich as the soil it was founded upon,” says Alan Hargett, CEO, who has spent thirty years of his life weaving himself in its story. It all started back in April 1920, when Planters Bank & Trust began serving customers in the small community of Ruleville. The bank started out with $268,000 in total assets and has grown to over $1 billion, quite a feat for a small-town financial institution.
“Throughout our growth, Planters Bank has remained rooted in its mission to dedicate resources to the betterment of our customers and to the communities in which we live and work,” says Hargett.
The bank began to expand into a system of banks serving the Central Mississippi Delta Region. It opened a branch in Indianola in 1940, where the current headquarters are located. Planters Bank has grown from one bank to nineteen locations spanning thirteen communities from Louise to Southaven and Greenville to Greenwood.
“As we continue to grow, Planters Bank prides itself on giving back to our local communities while providing outstanding service to our customers with 250 employees,” adds Hargett.
Hargett moved into the position September 2019, but has served in many capacities, which makes him knowledgeable about customers and their needs. Jimmy Clayton, who served as CEO for thirty-six years, is still chairman of the board. In 100 years, the bank has seen nine presidents: S. S. Harris, J. T. Thomas, O. H. Levingston, Herman Moore, Sr., Ted Borodofsky, Henry Paris, Clayton, James B. Randall III and Hargett. Randall continues to serve as president of Planters Holding Company.
As for Hargett, he started with Planters after graduating from Mississippi State University. He has served the bank in roles from market president of the Ruleville location, to chief credit officer, president and chief operating officer and now in his current role.
Hargett can hardly contain his excitement when it comes to the future of Planters Bank.
“As we reflect 100 years of history, we have had the opportunity to gain some valuable perspective about how the bank was formed and some insight into the past leaders and their many successes. I am humbled and honored to have an opportunity to follow in some legendary footsteps. Saying that, I am extremely motivated to keep the momentum and have gathered a great team of employees that will help us grow our presence.”
When looking at financial institutions and determining which one best suits them and their needs, Hargett says people should have high expectations.
“People should expect us to care,” says Hargett. “We are local bankers that have a vested interest in all our communities succeeding. Thus, we are leaders in civic, non-profit, economic and educational initiatives around the Delta and Mississippi. Not because it is a part of our job, but because we care. We not only care about our communities but the people that make the community. We set ourselves apart by knowing and caring about you and your family and working together with you to help you succeed. We offer financial products like every other bank, but we offer time to get to know you and help you find the financial solution that works best for you and your situation.”
Hargett also knows why potential customers should choose Planters. “We are the best of both worlds. We are large enough to have expertise and skilled specialist in many areas around our bank, yet we are small enough to still care. We have all the latest technology available to make your life easy, but we pride ourselves that we are only a phone call or a quick text away if—and when—you need us,” he says.
Planters Bank currently has locations in Batesville, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Inverness, Leland, Louise, Ruleville, Southaven, Sunflower and Tunica.