Farmers Bank Holds Retirement Party for President and CEO Karen Gregerson

Karen Gregerson acknowledges some individuals during his retirement party. Gregerson spent seven years as The Farmers Bank President and CEO.
New Farmers Bank President and CEO Chris Cook speaks to the crowd during Karen Gregerson’s retirement party. Cook officially takes over in September

Karen Gregerson has been in banking for 41 years. But, it was her seven-year stint in Frankfort and at The Farmers Bank has been a highlight of her career.

“Seven years has gone really fast,” said Gregerson at her retirement party. “First year, just getting to know the community, getting to know the people, understanding the challenges of our community and getting to know our staff. It’s been great, it’s been wonderful. The bank has performed very well here thanks to our staff and our board of directors.”

Gregerson joined the bank in 2016 in her dual role as President and CEO. She began her banking career in Marion following her graduation from Ball State University’s Miller College of Business. She also earned a master’s degree from Indiana Tech. A Certified Public Accountant, Gregerson served as Chief Financial Officer for STAR Financial Bank before being named to her present position in 2016.

In 2020, the Indiana Bankers Association honored Gregerson with its Woman of the Year award, and inducted her into its Forty Year Club. In 2016, Bank Beat magazine recognized Gregerson as an Outstanding Woman in Banking. She was also the first female member director elected to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, where she still currently serves as Chairman, and has lent her expertise and leadership to a long list of nonprofit organizations.

Retiring Farmers Bank President and CEO Karen Gregerson talks with Kaspar Media Owner Russ Kaspar during her retirement party.
Brad Cunningham of The Farmers Bank and Fred Carter of Frankfort have a conversation during Karen Gregerson’s retirement party.

One of the things she is most proud of came during one of the most difficult times in our lives — COVID.

“While there was an incredible amount of teamwork, you remember how fast things were changing during then and the team really responded to it very well,” said Gregerson. “And by the team, I mean every single person in the bank. Not just my management team. But every person, every role, every place.”

When Gregerson retires in September, she will be replaced by Chris Cook, a lifelong resident of central Indiana who comes to The Farmers Bank from Huntington, where he was Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and a Director of First Federal Savings Bank. Cook began his career at Mutual Bank in Muncie, where he eventually became Chief Financial Officer after Mutual Bank was acquired by Northwest Bank. He’s also a Certified Public Accountant.

Cook earned an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science and a Master of Business Administration from Ball State University, where he serves as an adjunct Finance professor, teaching a course in bank management. He’s also an alumnus of the Graduate School of Banking from the University of Wisconsin.

“I think it’s how we interact with our customers whether it’s technology, whether it’s just customer experience that when customers come in, they have a good experience,” said Cook.

Cook also talked about the thing that is really important to him.

“It’s very important to me that we continue to respect our customers and respect their time,” said Cook. “We need to do things just as efficiently as possible to help the customer do their business, get a loan, open a deposit account or whatever those things are that we can fulfill efficiently for them and for us.”

Cook added there is one very important items that drew him to inquire about the position.

“There’s a very tight connection here in Clinton County with The Farmers Bank and The Farmers Bank has a 147-year legacy here,” said Cook. “You can’t create that anywhere and that’s something to be extremely proud of.”

Gregerson said she is still going to be a part of the bank.

“I’m going to continue to be on The Farmers Bank board because I’m invested in the community, this bank and I care about the future,” said Gregerson. “I think the best is yet to come.”