Rhonda Cox Abbey has a teaching degree, certified to teach business in any junior high or high school in the state of Texas, and yet she’s never taught, choosing instead to spend almost all of her working career within the walls of the Comanche National Bank.
This week I decided that I wanted to know why.
Why would anyone go to school to be a teacher, but then decide to be a banker?
“I really did plan to be a teacher, and I graduated from Tarleton expecting to do just that. I actually moved back home the summer after graduation to stay just while I searched for a job. After all, I was ‘never coming back to Comanche to live!’” she smiled, knowing that hundreds of kids have said the same thing at some point in their lives.
Of course, as it always does, life happened.
“My grandfather was fighting some health problems at that time, and then my Dad had surgery so I decided that I needed to stay and help Mom while I was deciding what to do with the rest of my life. Just because you turn eighteen one day doesn’t mean that you suddenly know what you want to do with your life.
“That fall, I went to work in the office for Gold Kist, and you know how busy the fall season was there. I really enjoyed it and the people I worked with but when the busy season began to slow down, they really didn’t need all of us. Daymond Power began talking to me about the possibility of working at the bank, and one day I went to Comanche National, completed an application and talked to Sue Magers.
“I did get the job at the bank, and worked both places for a short time before I finally left Gold Kist. I did not, however, take the job at the bank believing that I would be there for over thirty-one years!”
Rhonda began working for the Comanche National Bank just two days after her twenty-third birthday, and she was working there when she and Carroll Abbey began dating. Her coworkers, to whom she refers as just part of the family, watched as the couple married and had their two daughters, making them all such important players in the lives of the Abbey family.
And the years passed as they always do.
“When I started work at the bank, everyone was always required to work in bookkeeping first because it was a good way to learn our customers as we filed checks daily. As things have changed and the bank has grown through the years, that is really no longer an option.
“The thing about Comanche National Bank employees, when I started working there, is that we all worked several jobs and covered for each other when we needed to do so. This is just the way things were before the bank grew as large as it is today.
“I enjoyed bookkeeping, and from there I moved over to loans where I stayed for many years. Then, from the loan department I moved out to the lobby to be Jerry Vines’ and Kenneth Hagood’s secretary and then, I later began doing the internal audit as well.”
From that position, Rhonda gradually began to work on internal audit full-time, as more and more was required from that position. I think that my Business degree has helped me so much at the bank especially when I was the Internal Auditor.
She counts herself as very, very fortunate to have been able to work with and learn from Jerry Vines and Sue Magers. “I was fortunate to be able to work with Sue for many years and watch her work. I gained so much knowledge from her though the years.
“And then I went into customer service, which I loved because of the people! At that point, Linda McKeehan and I worked together a lot, and we made a great team because we just clicked. I did like customer service and working with Linda.”
From working in customer service, Rhonda became the secretary of current bank president, Jeff Stewart. She was his secretary for a couple of years; however, today you will find the teacher who does not teach in the bank’s Operations building (located across the street from the main Comanche National Bank building) where she works in Accounting and Finance.
“Jeff has so much knowledge and insight and he is a great leader. Today, we are busier than ever; and, with seven locations Comanche National Bank continues to grow. However, we never lose sight of the fact that we are a local community bank whose main purpose is to serve the people. We may be more spread out today, but we are still here to help our customers…just as we always have been.
“I have worked in the white brick building across the street from Starbeau’s, the main Comanche National Bank building and now, the bank’s Operations Center. I have worked under three presidents, Jerry Vines, Kenneth Hagood and now, Jeff Stewart. Having worked in so many areas of the bank, I have gotten to know a lot of employees through the years. We are a family at the bank; we always have been and always will be.”
So…if she had it all to do over again, and if she could turn back time and go back, would she do it the same way?
“Had I moved away from Comanche as I intended, I think there is a good chance that I would be teaching, but I didn’t. I love the bank and I really believe that it was in God’s plan that I go to work at Comanche National. I love the people I work with, the people we serve, and I am very thankful for the choice I made. I’d certainly do it all again!”
And as we move ever closer to the bank’s birthday celebration, here at United we salute not only Comanche National Bank for its steadfast service to this community but also those unbelievably dedicated employees who made it all possible.This is paid advertising. If you’d like to see your business featured on texansunited.com, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.