CCB Community Bank celebrates 75 years of service to community

Published 9:15 am Saturday, July 2, 2022

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The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at CCB Community Bank, who celebrated 75 years of service to the local community on Friday.

The Covington County Bank opened its doors in Andalusia on July 1, 1947. At the time, six local investors with $170,000 in capital launched the dream of a hometown bank.

“It shows the significance the community has played a part in the bank, and the bank has played a part in the community. We have grown together, and it means a lot to the community to have a bank at this location in Andalusia. The things we do throughout the community have been important, and the community in turn has supported us as its bank through the good times and the bad. We treat it like a partnership,” said CEO Michael Andrews.

The first officers of the bank were President Charles Dixon, Executive Vice-President J.S. Herlong, Cashier L.R. Deal, and Directors Solon Dixon, Dixon, J.F. Colquett, A.C. Wilder, Sr., F.L. Darby, and J.S. Herlong.

The City of Andalusia issued a proclamation to CCB Community Bank for its 75-year anniversary. Pictured are, from left, CCB CEO Michael Andrews, City of Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, and Southern National Corporation Chairman John Vick. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

“I want to thank you for coming out to help us celebrate 75 years of community banking. From the beginning, CCB adopted the slogan, ‘The bank of friendly service.’ That has been our goal the past 75 years. When you call CCB, you’ll be answered by a friendly employee of the bank and none of this ‘please dial one for English.’ The key to our success has been dedicated employees and loyal customers who appreciate the personal touch. CCB has led the way with many banking firsts in our community, and we will continue to lead the way as your personal bank. Whether you choose to use our bank lobby and talk to one of our friendly tellers or go online with our electronic banking option, we want to continue to be your personal bank,” Southern National Corporation Chairman John Vick said.

CCB was the first community bank in Covington County to provide its customers with several amenities including: an auto window for drive-up banking, a 24-hour banking mail slot for envelopes, electronic imprinted numbered checks, statement check imaging, drive-thru lanes, statement check imaging, and mobile banking. Women were also recognized as officers for the first time at CCB.

Andrews said there are approximately 120 people currently working for CCB at its five locations, but the majority work in Andalusia. “We have around 90 of those employed in Andalusia. The partnerships we have with all of our businesses and all of our customers and the local governments have been tremendous for our growth. We hope we have been a part of their growth, too.”

Andrews, who was born and raised in Andalusia and has been employed for 23 years at the local branch, recanted moments growing up going to the bank.

“My parents banked here at CCB, and I’ve always been a part of CCB. I can remember coming in here as a little boy, and now being able to run it is surreal. One thing I would like to mention is how important our board members are. We have local ownership and local board members. There are many times when we are in board meetings and talking about certain things. The board members always stress if it’s good for Andalusia and the areas we serve, it’s good for CCB. That is one of the main prevalences we do. It is important to the board members and owners this remain a mainstay in Covington County.”

CCB Community Bank has extended its branch locations to Opp; Crestview, Florida; Niceville, Florida; and recently DeFuniak Springs, Florida over the years. Plans are in place to open in other markets in the future.

Recollection Specialist LaVerne Heffner started working full-time for CCB in 1976 and has 43 years of service.

“I’ve been here through every important part of my life from high school graduation to marriage, my baby being born, the loss of my husband, and the sicknesses in between. There have been a lot of ups and downs. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the people associated here at the bank. As many nice organizations and jobs there are around here, if I’m going to work in Andalusia, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else but here,” Heffner said.

“We started a tradition of going the extra mile for our customers, which continues today. Our goal was to be progressive and prosperous, so we could reinvest in our communities,” a CCB statement read.

Heffner added she has faced a lot of challenges and learning experiences in her tenure at the bank.

“Throughout all of these, I continue to grow. I came back after my husband died in 2006. When he died, I came back to work a few years. I went to Crestview to help with the bank and came back then decided to go to school at Troy’s Dothan campus. I left CCB with no intentions of thinking I was going to come back to Andalusia. It was going to be a new start. When my parents got sick and elderly, I felt like I needed to be with them. It’s as if I never left.”

She is glad to be a part of history and making history. “I think wherever you put your foot on you should make a difference. When people around me especially the young ones who go into another department, I like to feel like I had a hand in that. If they leave the bank and find better opportunities for themselves, I feel like I made a difference, which I hope to do continually and have them say LaVerne made a difference,” Heffner said.

Vice-President of Retail Barbara Pilotte started working with CCB in August 1998.

“I began working in the bookkeeping department before moving to customer service. There have been a lot of changes and growth in the last 24 years, and I am thankful to have been a part of the CCB family. I have been blessed to be given many opportunities for advancement and work with wonderful people. I will always be thankful for the management of CCB that took a chance on someone with no banking experience. CCB is much more than my work place. The people here are my family through good times and bad times, and we support each other,” Pilotte said.

“We are so much like a family here, and that includes board members, employees, and our customers. It’s great to be a part of this, and we love our customers. It’s fun coming to work every day,” Andrews said.