Local resident celebrates golden anniversary in banking industry

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A well-known face in the banking world around the city of Bullard will celebrate a milestone in her career this week, as Karen Vaughan, Vice President and Branch Manager of Bullard’s Texas National Bank location will mark 50 years in banking on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

“I’m really excited and feel blessed to be celebrating 50 years in banking,” said Vaughan. “I began in banking when we had manual typewriters, with ribbons and a lot of errors made; it was really slow back then. Later, banking went into the computer industry, which brought a lot of excitement. It’s been amazing to have a career in the same field for the past 50 years and to see the world of banking change over time.”

According to Vaughan, her curiosity into the world of banking is credited to a teacher she had while attending Tyler Junior College.

“A teacher I had at TJC talked to me about various careers, and she believed that banking would be a great choice for me,” said Vaughan. “Women back in the 1960s primarily were in certain careers and fields, such as a nurse, telephone operator, store clerk, or a secretary. My teacher thought the hours of banking were great for women, being a daytime job and didn’t have to work on the weekends back then.”

Vaughan’s tenure in banking would have began earlier in her life, but she was deemed over-qualified by then-Citizen’s First National Bank in downtown Tyler after applying at the location in 1963.

Despite the rejection, Vaughan went to work at Kelly-Springfield in Tyler as a secretary/clerk for almost four years before reapplying at Citizen’s First National Bank, where she began working as a secretary in the audit department in 1967, using a manual typewriter and mimeograph machine as her tools of the trade.

“The general manager at Kelly-Springfield was actually on the board at Citizen’s First National Bank,” said Vaughan. “I had mentioned to him that I wanted to work at a bank, but ended up leaving Kelley-Springfield because I was pregnant and didn’t get rehired afterwards. He ended up getting me the job at the bank.”

Little did Vaughan know that with accepting the position at Citizen’s First National Bank in 1967 would begin a career of over 40 years within the company, which included seeing the bank change from Citizen’s First National Bank to First City National Bank, and then later Tyler Bank and Trust, and now Regions Bank.

In September 1969, Vaughan became the branch’s Executive Secretary, placing her in charge of cash management, correspondent banking, marketing, and commercial loans. During that time, Vaughan also completed the Certified Professional Secretary Exam in 1976, became a CPS, and also served on the Board of Directors for the National Secretaries Association.

Vaughan received a promotion to become the Assistant Vice President of the downtown branch in 1980, with primary responsibilities including fund management, correspondent banking, wire transfers, and marketing, followed by another promotion in 1982 to the level of Vice President and Funds Manager.

Vaughan stared the new financial services department at Citizen’s First National Bank, holding the title of Vice President and Financial Services Manager.

After serving as a sales manager in following years, Vaughan retired from Regions Bank on November 30, 2007, after 40 years with the institution. The following day, Vaughan decided to accept a position with her current employer, Texas National Bank.

According to Vaughan, she received a call from Royce Fletcher, the Chief Executive Officer of Texas National Bank, asking her to accept the position as the bank’s Vice President to build its deposit base, earning a promotion to Vice President and Branch Manager the following year.

Currently, Vaughan has spent a total of 10 years in her position at the Bullard branch of Texas National Bank, where her main goal is to make her customers welcomed.

“We want our customers to feel at home,” said Vaughan. “I want them to feel that same customer service and firm hand shake we offered customers back when I started in 1967. We want our customers to get to know us, and we want to get to know them. We are their hometown bank right here in their hometown.”

Vaughan credits her long tenure in the banking industry with the way she has treated her customers, as well as hiring those who care about the quality of customer service offered.

“I just love people,” said Vaughan. “Of course, I love my clients and the employees who are under me; I’ve been fortunate to always hire people who are interested in customer service. I still believe that customer service is key, especially with dealing with other peoples’ money. Treating the customers right is the best part about my job.”

In addition to her 50 years of banking, Vaughan has spent the last 52 years of her life calling the city of Bullard her home, and has seen the landscape and population of the city change over time.

“I was really involved with the City of Bullard in my younger years,” said Vaughan. “My husband was a city marshal and I served on a number of committees. The town was definitely smaller than it is now, with only 367 people living here. We all knew each other. With Brookshire’s coming to town, The Brook Hill School open its doors, and the great deal of growth we’ve had coming south from Tyler and north from Jacksonville, Bullard has definitely changed, in terms of population and size. We’ve had a lot of business come in because of the growth of the city, as well.”

Vaughan graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler in 1961, and attended TJC, earning an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and a degree in Bank Management Skills and Theory Applied Science. She is also a graduate of the American Institute of Banking , an education division of the American Bankers Association.

She has been married to her husband, Connie Ray Vaughan, for 53 years, having spent all but one year of their marriage as residents of Bullard. The Vaughans have two children: Chris Vaughan and Melissa Wilson; and three grandchildren: Whitney Duncan, Emily Duncan, and Molly Duncan.

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