James F. O’Neal

Chairman of the Board
Lamar Bank & Trust Company

When he was 10, Jim O’Neal had his first job at Lamar Bank & Trust Company — he wrapped coins and cleaned the storage room. His father, D. B. O’Neal, was one of the original investors in the bank in 1925 and served as president. After graduating from Lamar High School in 1959 and Pittsburg State University in 1969 with an accounting degree, Jim started his “real” banking job when he was hired as a teller. In 2005, Jim retired as president and currently serves as chairman of the board at Lamar Bank & Trust Company. His son, Patrick, is the third generation to lead the bank.

Jim has been married to the former Bonnie Whitten of Farmington for 54 years. Together they have raised two sons, Christopher and Patrick, and have two daughters-in-law, Chastity and Michelle, and seven grandchildren — Connor, Whitten, Sam, Brianna, Victoria, Alex and Spencer.

Jim attributes his longevity in the field of banking to …

the interactions with customers and co-workers, and even the daily challenges of banking.

Jim’s favorite part of working in the banking industry for 50 years has been …

being able to guide and help customers achieve their financial goals, both personally and in their careers.

If Jim could change one thing about banking it would be …

the continual changing of rules and regulations in banking, plus the federal and state government involvement in making these changes in banking.

Jim’s funniest story about a bank customer is ...

many years ago, a young girl asked Jim about a donation for a dance at a local church. After Jim gave her the donations, he asked her why she had asked the bank. She replied that her mother said, “Banks have lots of money!”

Jim’s advice to a young professional just entering the banking industry is …

be involved in your community and take an active leadership role in local organizations. Be seen and heard in your community.