When Linda Siders started working at Merchants National Bank in Hillsboro in 1971, she had no idea that 45 years later she would still be employed there. Those four-plus decades will come to a close on Jan. 10 when Siders officially retires.
“I was just looking for a job. I wasn’t looking to go into banking,” the former Linda Dodds, a Rainsboro native, said of the job she accepted from Paul W. Pence Sr. a little over a year after graduating from McClain High School in 1970. “I just like my job, I like the people, and at the time it wasn’t very far from where I lived.”
Three years after accepting the job at MNB she married Jim Siders and the couple made their home in the Carmel area. But in 1983, Jim was transferred from Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Columbus to Wright-Patterson AFB in Fairborn and the couple moved to Wilmington. Linda has been making the drive from there to Hillsboro ever since.
“I had no reason to really leave. It was a nice environment, good people to work with, and management has been good to me throughout the years,” Siders said.
Over the years Siders moved from her original job as a receptionist to secretary to the president, assistant cashier, cashier, and her present position as vice president of depository operations in the Hillsboro area.
Things are much different at MNB from when she started. In 1971, Merchants Bank had one office and $19 million in assets. It now has 13 offices and $675 million in assets.
Paul W. Pence Jr., MNB Chairman of the Board and CEO, said there are lots of things he could say about Siders, like how dedicated she is or how she is more than competent.
“Through the years since I’ve been here I’ve seen her grow in her job responsibilities and as a supervisor, and you can’t tell it, but on that little head of her’s she wears a whole lot of hats around here. She’s the go to person for problem solving,” Pence Jr. said. “I think it’s pretty neat because it doesn’t happen many times in this day and age when you start your career in one place and end it in the same place.”
The Siderses have two children, Candace Griffith and Caleb Siders, and four grandchildren, ranging in age from 16 years to 11 months. For several years Linda’s father owned Charlie’s Carryout that was located in a small building next to what is now Community Markets in Hillsboro.
While she now works mostly behind the scenes and doesn’t have a customer base like she once did, Linda said it’s the people, both those she worked with and those she served, that she will miss the most. She said she plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and go fishing.
“My husband is a big fisherman, so I’ll probably go fishing,” she said. “I don’t mind it if the fish are biting, but if they’re not biting, I read.”
The bank will hold a special observance for Siders from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.