James E. Smith
Community Bank President
OakStar Bank, Clinton
Before starting his banking career, James (Jim) Smith fulfilled his childhood dream … playing professional baseball. For four seasons, Jim was a pitcher for the New York Yankees minor league system. In 1968, he traded his baseball uniform for a suit when he joined Boatmen’s Union National Bank in Springfield.
Jim started his banking career as a computer programmer and was promoted to vice president of correspondent banking. He left Boatman’s in 1974 to join Citizens Union State Bank & Trust in Clinton, where he served as president and CEO until 2001. He was named president and CEO of Hawthorn Bancshares and Hawthorn Bank in Jefferson City, a position he served until 2010. Jim is currently community bank president for OakStar Bank in Clinton. In his career, Jim was actively involved with the MBA and the American Bankers Association. He is a past board director for both, serving as MBA chairman in 1993 and ABA chairman from 2001-2002.
Jim received his business degree from Missouri State University in Springfield and is a graduate of Cannon Trust School in Charlotte, North Carolina. He enjoys spending time on his farm.
Jim and his wife, Tamie, have been married for 54 years. Together, they have three children, Beth (Rob McKinney), Jeff (Elise) and Sarah (Kevin Goth), and seven grandchildren.
Jim’s advice to young professionals beginning their banking careers is …
treat every customer the same way. Trust me. That will get noticed.
Jim’s philosophy on banking is …
you expect your customer to trust you and the bank, so trust your customer. They really do want to do the right thing.
A heartwarming story about a bank customer is …
years ago, an elderly man came into the bank and needed a small loan. His seven children and their families were coming for Thanksgiving. He didn’t have money to buy groceries, and he didn’t want to ask his children. Jim loaned him $300 unsecured. He was so taken back that Jim would loan him $300 unsecured that he walked into the bank later that day with a large bag of old silver dollars, insisting the bank keep them until he could pay the loan back. In his words, “I’m 84 years old and might not live to pay this back and don’t want the bank to lose any money.” Ten days later, he returned to the bank with his Social Security check and paid the loan. His family had a great Thanksgiving, and he couldn’t have been happier. This was not a profitable loan for the bank, but the man told others about the bank. This showed staff the bank takes care of its customers and the community. The bank made a friend for life, and that’s what banking is about.