Joyce Marie Taylor
Gray Drummond is vice president of Drummond Community Bank and he recently told about the history of the bank and why he became a banker.
“Mayo, believe it or not, is responsible for me becoming a banker, or deciding I was going to be a banker,” he said. “Even though I grew up in Chiefland, I went to a school in Gainesville called Oak Hall, which, as you all know, is not known to be a football factor,” he added with a wry grin.
He said when he was a youngster up until he was in high school his dream was to become a football star. In 1989 he thought he was on his way toward that dream when he was placed in the starting lineup for a Friday night game. That morning on his way to school he said he got pulled over by a state trooper.
“I thought, oh, man, this day is not starting out good,” he said. “Looking on the bright side, I thought, I’m going to get this bad karma out of the way and it’s just going to get better.”
Up until 7:25 that night Drummond said he still thought he was going to be a football star. He and his football team were in Mayo for a matchup with the Hornets and it was Drummond’s first time in the starting lineup for his team. When the game started at 7:30, however, things went from bad to worse. At 7:31 Drummond made a life changing decision.
“You all were kicking off to us, I get the ball, I make it to about the 20 yard line, and I hit something, or something hit me,” he said.
As he was falling, which he said was only a split second but felt like an eternity at the time, he was thinking, “We don’t hit like that at Oak Hall.”
Then he watched the ball fly up in the air and land in the hands of a Hornet.
“The next thing I know, he’s running back and scoring a touchdown,” said Drummond. “So my day got a lot worse.”
As he was laying there in the dirt he realized it was time for him to pursue a different career choice.
“So, I thank you all for that coming-to-Jesus moment,” he said, laughing. “I appreciate it.”
Gray Drummond is a third generation banker. His great grandfather started Levy County State Bank in 1948 in the city of Chiefland.
“On July 1, 1973, he was buried and that was the day I was born,” said Drummond. “So, my dad went to the funeral and after that he went over to the hospital to see me.”
Shortly thereafter, Drummond’s father took over the business and was chairman and president until the mid to late 80s when he had an opportunity to sell it to the Capital City Bank Group out of Tallahassee.
“At the time it seemed like the right thing for him to do for the family,” said Drummond. “I was old enough at the time to remember this.”
Once the bank was sold, the new owners decided not to change the name for a while in order to ensure a smooth transition.
“My dad stayed on as the area president,” he said.
During that time local businessmen, family and friends felt a need for another community bank in Chiefland, Drummond continued. He said it was a tough decision, but his father decided to start Drummond Community Bank, beginning in a small office in a strip mall in Chiefland. When a lot of the old employees from Levy State Bank decided to join Drummond’s father, Gray Drummond said their loyalty really made an impression on him.
“I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of eventually,” he said.
The bank thrived and grew over the years and in 1995 Drummond came on board. There are now seven branches of Drummond Community Bank, including the one in Mayo where Chan Perry heads up the staff as branch manager. Perry joined the Drummond team six years ago.
“It’s an amazing family to work with and to work for,” said Perry.
“We’re now going to be doubling our size,” Drummond said. “We’ve acquired Perkins State Bank, which is another locally owned bank based out of Williston. In 2013 they will be 100 years old. We’re really looking forward to that merger.”
One of the big changes to come with the merger are new technologies, including updated Internet and mobile banking, Drummond said.
“We’re a small community bank, but we want to be able to provide and offer the same services as any other bank,” he said.
What sets Drummond Community Bank apart from other banks, Drummond said, is their attention to personalized service.
“Service is a very big deal to us,” he said.