Henry Ford once noted that his Model T came in any color a customer wished, so long as that color was black. In 1908, the first Model T came off the assembly line, sharing a birthday with Peoples Bank. That year, Mendenhall business leaders Col. Sidney McLaurin and Dewitt Enochs opened the doors of Peoples Bank with a commitment to providing service to rural Simpson County, which was largely ignored by the Jackson-based banks.
At the same time, McLaurin and Enochs convinced A.S. Davis to assume the role of Cashier, beginning the long legacy of the Davis family’s involvement in the growth and prosperity of the bank.
Sidney Davis, son of A.S. Davis joined the bank in 1932. He quickly earned “legendary status” in central Mississippi for his personal approach to the bank’s customers. As an example, Mr. Davis convinced then-President Brent Durr, who had succeeded Sidney Davis’ father in leadership of the bank, to rescind the Board’s decision to close the bank temporarily during the Great Depression. As banks locked their doors across the nation, Peoples Bank was fully prepared to follow suit until Davis took the sign off the door while saying “This bank will not close”, a decision detailed later by writers of the Los Angeles Times, who compared Davis to the screen character of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. More banks closed in America that day then any day before or since. The largest banks in Mississippi closed that day. Peoples Bank did not.
Davis served for 65 years and oversaw much of the bank’s growth beyond Mendenhall. Dennis Ammann, Mr. A. S. Davis’s great grandson, now serves as 4th generation CEO.
We have embraced the principles established by our founders and enhanced by the Davis family; traditions which begin with personal service and the relationships we share with our customers, and traditions which evoke corporate citizenship in the areas we serve. It has proven to be a formula for success and for the financial well-being of those who rely on us.
ABC News Video with Dennis Ammann