UMB celebrates 50 years of growth

Published 1:55 pm Saturday, May 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Like many things, United Mississippi Bank began with a dream — a dream of a way to help a rural Mississippi community.

One of the men behind that dream of the bank first established in 1973 was James Biglane.

Fifty years later, Biglane celebrated what that dream has become with employees and more than 100 guests on Thursday evening.

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In 1973, Biglane joined forces with other businessmen, including the late Cappy Stahlman, to build a bank, then called First Natchez Bank. It was described in those days as little more than a trailer on South Pearl Street that housed five employees, said Adrian Sandel, CEO and member of UMB’s board of directors. UMB now employs 100 people and has grown from having $500,000 in capital assets to more than $500 million.

“From very humble beginnings to the multi-state thriving community bank that we are today, the last 50 years have been filled with successes and with projects that weren’t that successful with expansions and retractions, with gains and yes, with losses, with celebrations and maybe occasionally even a raised voice or two,” Sandel said. “But all that, all those good times and those bad times have brought us here today, serving Southwest Mississippi and Central Louisiana with outstanding professional bankers, state-of-the-art loan and deposit products and a strong desire to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”

UMB has expanded from a trailer in Adams County to a total of five branches in Natchez. Over the past two decades, UMB purchased Commercial Bank in Woodville, Merchants & Farmers Bank in Melville, Louisiana, and purchased and merged with People’s Bank of the South in Bude and Gloster before building and opening the Vidalia branch in 2014, further expanding its footprint in southwest Mississippi and Louisiana. It is UMB’s vision to continue to explore opportunities for expansion, providing more jobs and enhancing nearby communities.

UMB prides itself in keeping things local and giving back to the communities it services, said Vice President and Director of Marketing, Sarah Carter-Smith.

“Whether it’s events, donations or just any kind of community sport, UMB does that for communities and it has been a pleasure for me to work here,” she said.

UMB CFO Lauren Biglane Middleton said it’s the employees who have made the banks so successful.

“Whether they are greeting customers in the tele-window, opening accounts and customer service, or even coaching the kids’ team, our employees are representing UMB in a way that sets us apart,” she said. “It’s their familiar faces that have kept our customers coming back to us for 50 years and we can’t thank them enough.”

Much of the credit for the banks’ successes also goes to James Biglane, said UMB President and Chief Credit Officer, Mike Ellard.

“I was born and raised in Natchez … and James Biglane is the finest, most fair and most generous man that I know,” he said.