MBA Names Finalists for 2021 Young Bankers Leadership Award

The Young Bankers Leadership Award recognizes outstanding achievement of a Missouri banker age 45 or younger who is employed by an MBA-member bank. The winner, chosen by a selection committee of bank leaders, will be honored by MBA at the 2021 Young Bankers Leadership Conference. The following nominees illustrate how both learning and leadership contribute to their growing success.

John Hedgpeth, Ozark BankJohn Hedgpeth
Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
Ozark Bank

Community banking has played an important role in the life of John Hedgpeth, who has always wanted to be a banker. Hedgpeth is living his childhood dream as he assists residents and businesses in his hometown with their banking needs.

Hedgpeth joined Ozark Bank in 2016 as a commercial lender after spending five years as an examiner with the Missouri Division of Finance. With the pending retirement of the bank’s chief financial officer, Hedgpeth worked with the CFO to expand his banking knowledge and was named CFO in 2020. 

A graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia, Hedgpeth is enrolled in the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and will complete his studies in 2022. He is a member of MBA’s Strikeforce Grassroots Team.

Hedgpeth is a founding member of the Ozark Optimist Club and a board member and current treasurer of the Ozark Rotary Club. He volunteers for Care to Learn, a local nonprofit that provides children and their families with health and hygiene products, school supplies and food. Hedgpeth was recognized as one of Christian County’s 10 Under 40 and the Springfield Business Journal 40 Under 40.

Karen Luebbering, Legends BankKaren Luebbering
Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Legends Bank, Linn

Working in operations at Legends Bank in Linn, Karen Luebbering saw potential to enhance the bank’s technology infrastructure to provide greater service to customers. Her leadership in developing information technology solutions successfully transformed the bank’s infrastructure into one of the most progressive and well-respected in the state.

Luebbering began her career at Legends Bank in 2001, and her responsibilities have included customer service, deposit and loan operations. She was named network administrator in 2012 and led the bank’s transition to a new IT system that involved building interfaces for both internal employee functionality and external customer functionality. In 2019, Luebbering was promoted to vice president and chief technology officer. 

A Columbia College graduate, Luebbering completed MBA’s Banking Leadership Missouri in 2016. She serves on the MBA Technology Committee and MBA Technology Task Force. 

Luebbering serves on the local school board and the school’s athletic and technology committees. She has been a member of the bank’s Osage/Maries County Relay for Life team.

Craig Millington, Mid-Missouri BankCraig Millington
Community President
Mid-Missouri Bank, Springfield

Growing up, Craig Millington saw firsthand how his dad, a bank president, interacted with customers and individuals in the community. This, along with the potential opportunities that banking offered, inspired Millington to pursue a career in community banking.

Millington’s diverse banking background includes roles in multiple areas. His 15-year career involves experiences in operations, loan underwriting and credit reviews, relationship building and management. He joined Mid-Missouri Bank in 2011 and has been promoted several times at the bank, most recently community president in 2021. During the pandemic, Millington assisted the bank’s strategic direction with loans available through Paycheck Protection Program and CARES Act.

A graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield, Millington completed the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 2018. He also completed MBA’s School of Lending in 2015 and has attended MBA’s Young Bankers Leadership Conferences.

Millington is a member of Springfield Sertoma, which focuses on helping underserved youth in the Ozarks. He has served on the board of directors and chaired the Wingapalooza in 2018 and 2019. In both years, this event raised more than $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield. He also has given financial literacy presentations to middle school students.

Peter Zeiser, Midwest BankCentrePeter Zeiser
Regional President
Midwest BankCentre, St. Louis

As regional president, Peter Zeiser fulfills Midwest BankCentre’s dual mission of supporting Main Street and mid-market customers and ensuring access to capital to serve the needs of underserved communities. 

Zeiser, who joined the St. Louis bank in 2014, demonstrated this mission during the pandemic. He led a committee to ensure small businesses had access to loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. Under Zeiser’s leadership, these bankers secured $208 million in loans for regional business, which saved 30,000 local jobs.  He also started a lending program to make low-income housing tax credit available to lenders, as well as buying and selling those tax credits to others. This initiative opened the doors to the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low-income families.

A graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia, Zeiser began his banking career in 2005. He completed the Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 2021. Zeiser serves on the board for College Bound, which provides support to first-generation college students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is a board member of Gateway Community Development Fund, which provides nontraditional lending and development consulting services to underserved areas.