Tradition: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.
In our industry, we see changes happening all around us. Progression is key to success, but there is something about the ability to adapt to those changes while also upholding our core values and traditions as a community bank. Constantly working to prepare for the future, we are certain that continuing to prioritize customer experience above all else is crucial. At Great Southern Bank, we will continue to open the door with a smile. We are more than just your bankers, we are your friends. As President and CEO, I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your story.
Pineapple: A beautiful golden fruit full of security on the exterior and sweet fulfilling juices on the interior.
With a long-standing reputation of luxury, the story of the pineapple dates back to Christopher Columbus’s second journey to the colonies. After its discovery, the pineapple was a sought after luxury item that not many could afford. The rarity of the pineapple helped to maintain its prestigious status and as the colonies grew hostesses utilized the pineapple as a beautiful centerpiece for their dinner parties and as a ‘welcoming’ symbol to both neighbors and friends.
Southern legends tell the tales of sea captains coming home from their voyages and impaling a pineapple at the gate of their home, which would signify to all surrounding neighbors that he had returned from sea and was welcoming guests in to his home to celebrate his safe voyage.
It is through these very customs and legends that the pineapple became a symbol of hospitality and friendship.
The pineapple seems the most fitting place to tell you about the philosophy behind Great Southern Bank. The most obvious parallel is our passion for protecting our customers from outside threats and internally treating them like our family.
More than just a financial institution, we are a part of this community. That means we're your friends and neighbors, as well as bankers. True, we offer the financial products and latest banking conveniences you want most, but we also offer something you don't often find in a bank today—a genuine representation of southern hospitality.
A home-town bank operated and managed by home-town people, The Bank of Quitman accepted the charge that was given to them and for over 100 years they served the banking needs of the people in their area. Even today, a proud connection to the Bank of Quitman’s beginning continues as descendants of an original founder are still major shareholders of Great Southern Bank. The bank never closed a single banking day in its history—not even during the Depression years.
Although the year 1902 became noted as the founding year for the Bank of Quitman, the year 1973 created its place in the institution’s history when bank management chose to extend its services by opening a branch office in Enterprise, MS. Prior to this extension, Enterprise had no banks within the town. With their commitment to community, management saw a need and sought to fulfill it.
The following year in 1974, the bank established the Central Financial Services, Inc. in Meridian. Since that time, Central Financial Services, Inc. has grown and is currently operating offices in Quitman, Waynesboro, Hattiesburg, Picayune, Columbia, Philadelphia, New Albany, Tupelo, Columbus, and Aberdeen.
Two years later, the Bank of Quitman opened its first office outside Clarke County. On May 3, 1976, the Bank of Meridian was established. The growth continued in 1977 with the addition of the North Meridian Office located on 52nd Street, followed by the College Park Office in 1979.
With the continued growth, the bank had outgrown its current office space and recognized a need for the main office. On July 11, 1980, The Bank of Meridian moved into its newly constructed main office. Shortly after, on October 3rd, 1980 the Quitman Banking System established The Bank of Wayne County in Waynesboro by acquiring the First National Bank of Waynesboro. Shortly after this acquisition, the history of the bank entered a new era. The Bank of Quitman changed its name to Great Southern National Bank in 1981. On October 1, 1981, the merger of the Bank of Hattiesburg and the Bank of Jackson, N.A. into the Great Southern National Bank was completed giving the new system total resources in excess of $150 million and total capital in excess of $11 million at the time of the merger.
The merger was consummated with two objectives in mind: To provide better service through geographical diversity with a strongly capitalized area bank with greater resources and lending limits, and to improve internal efficiency through combining certain operations to all individual banks in the system.
In 1986 Great Southern National Bank opened the Bank of Decatur, emphasizing its commitment to East and South Mississippi.
In 1987 the Bank decided to fully focus its efforts and resources on East and South Mississippi and sold its Jackson offices.
Just over 10 years after the creation of the main office in Meridian, The Bank of Meridian opened an additional branch in the Medical Center area, moved the 52nd Street Branch to North Hills Street in 1995. In April of 1996, Great Southern National Bank decided to incorporate all of their banks under one name and began operating under Great Southern National Bank, rather than each individual town name. In 1998, The Bank of Meridian opened a new location at Bonita Lakes Mall. Great Southern National Bank-Hattiesburg also added another location in October 1997 by opening its new West Branch on Highway 98.
In April of 2015, Great Southern National Bank converted from a national charter to a state charter, thus changing its name from Great Southern National Bank to Great Southern Bank.
We honor our past, and we are continually motivated by the achievement of the present. With our traditions in mind, it is the future where the most exciting history of Great Southern Bank remains to be written.