Mark told me that because his father, C.B. Wilson, Executive Vice-President at the Bank of Parrish, was his idol and chief role model, he just assumed he was supposed to be a banker also. While in high school, Mark mopped the bank's floors and did some general custodial work. After college, Mark started at the Bank of Parrish in 1969 where his dad was CEO and a board member; Mark eventually came up through the ranks as Executive Vice-President and also sat on the board of directors at the Bank of Parrish.
Because C.B. and Mark managed the bank for absentee owners, everyone assumed that the Wilson family owned the Bank of Parrish. After all, they were the front line for the customers and provided that personal banking relationship for so many. However, change was around the corner, and no one saw it coming, least of all the Wilsons (at this point, Tony Sparks, President of the BOWC, walked in Mark's office and offered me a treat so I stayed to hear more).
By 2001, Bank of Parrish was sold to an outside entity, and Mark knew that he couldn't continue in his role there, and out of that decision came Bank of Walker County (BOWC). This led him on a journey of deepening faith and trust in a power greater than himself.
|Loretta Diffy, Bi-lingual Teller|
This was a true local success story born in the upstairs former childhood bedroom of son, Walker Wilson, currently serving as Senior Vice-President at BOWC. By the way, that beautiful home on Sixth Avenue adjacent to Downtown Jasper is the oldest continually lived-in home in Walker County (1854-present). He shares that home with lovely wife Renae Mitchell Wilson, who serves as Vice-President of Jasper Main Street. Renae loves me more than she loves Mike; always offering me a hug and, of course, a treat!
|Mark Wilson and Renae Mitchell Wilson, VP Jasper Main Street|
After working from the house, Phil Laird of Laird & Robertson provided office space; Phil became a founding member of BOWC. Soon after, they raised the required capital and moved into mobile homes, acquired a board of directors, began to hire employees, and received permission from the State Banking Department and FDIC to proceed with raising capital to satisfy state banking requirements. Established on March 29, 2004, Bank of Walker County was open for business.
From all of this, Mark learned some lessons he'd like for all you humans, especially Mike, to know. We as humans are not, nor can we ever be perfect. Some days we get it right and some days, not so much. We are all sinners saved by grace, and our job is to walk by faith and trust His grace and mercy.
|Susan Dobbs, Loan Processor (look at her screensaver)|
C.B. Wilson retired from the Bank of Parrish in 1990 after 54 years of service to that community. Mark recalled what his father told him on the first day of his full-time employment on July 1, 1969: "If you don't have the trust of the people...you don't have anything."
|3 Generations of Wilson Family Bankers:|
Walker Wilson, C.B. Wilson, Mark Wilson
On this last day of his 54-year career as he was going out the door, C.B. turned to Mark and said "Do you remember the first thing I told you about banking when you started?"
Mark said, "Yes, Sir."
His dad said, "Tell me."
Mark replied, "If you don't have the trust of the people, you don't have anything."
C.B. said, "Never lose it."
Today, 51 years later and now well into the third generation of Wilsons in banking in Walker County, we live by those simple words every day. Visit Bank of Walker County at https://bankofwalkercounty.bank to find out more about this home-grown institution. Aren't we all glad that Mark didn't choose cattle farming! #jaspermainstreet #flourishwithus #tbp #pawtographslaterdahling