Dr. Mulford Retires After 35 Years of Service
Dr. Robert Mulford retired this year from The Friendship State Bank board of directors after 35 years of service.
Dr. Mulford became a director in 1985 at the invitation of then CEO Jim W. Lemon. Mulford, a Versailles native, started his relationship with The Friendship State Bank in 1974. He had moved back following his residency to open a medical practice. His parents urged him to talk to the Lemons at Friendship after he struggled to find a bank who would lend him the money due to his lack of experience. It proved to be a move in the right direction. Following his conversation with Jim Lemon, his loan was approved, and his practice became a fixture in the community for decades. This was the beginning of Mulford’s deep respect for the Friendship culture and focus on people and their needs.
“I remember being in a meeting and Jim saying I loaned so and so $500. I’m not sure if we will get it back, but I felt like they really needed it,” said Mulford. “It is the focus on people that I appreciate. That is what I love most about my personal banking experience at Friendship.”
Mulford noted the expansion of the bank to serve more communities was among the most important work during his time as a director.
“The timing was right to make the move each time under great leadership,” he said. “The growth has been tremendous. We have gone from $25 million in assets when I started to over $400 million in assets.”
Now that Mulford is retired from his work as a physician and bank director, he will focus more time on his passion for conservation work on his family farm.
“Dr. Bob had a keen interest in balancing what was best for our employees, customers and shareholders,” noted Chris Meyer, current Friendship President and CEO. “He taught me a lot about the connection between happy employees and happy customers, and was also adamant about keeping up with technology so that our community bank had all the bells and whistles that the ‘big’ banks had.”
Meyer also added that he has a great deal of respect for Mulford’s conservancy work.
“I enjoyed my family practice and my time with the bank, but it is time for other things.” said Mulford. “I am very involved with my farm and conservancy. That requires a lot of time and focus.”
Mike Davies, retired Friendship State Bank Chief Lending Officer, was voted to take Mulford’s place. Mulford offers Davies some simple advice.
“You have to be your own person,” said Mulford. “The bank chooses their directors wisely. Each director brings a different skill set.”
Mulford is grateful for his time of service and the people he met through the experience.
“I want to thank the bank and employees. I have built great relationships with the employees personally and professionally. It has been a great experience,” said Mulford.