published Friday, July 12th, 2013

Decherd teller to ring closing bell at New York Stock Exchange

  • photo
    Gwyn Holland, a teller at U.S. Bank in Decherd, Tenn., and the bank's longest serving employee, will be on the stage at the New York Stock Exchange todsay for the ringing of the closing bell.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Decherd, Tenn., bank through the years

• Founded in 1889 as First National Bank of Franklin County at Decherd

• Dominion Bank acquired First National Bank in 1988

• Firstar acquired First Union Bank in 1992

• Firstar merged with U.S. Bancorp in 2001

Gwyn Holland expected to follow her mother's career into teaching, but, as they say, love changes everything.

A summertime job and romance in 1953 switched her career from teaching to banking but kept her on the job and in her native Decherd, Tenn., for the past 60 years.

Today, at age 82, Holland is joining 10 of her colleagues from U.S. Bank at the New York Stock Exchange. Holland is the most senior of more than 62,000 employees of America's fifth largest bank and will join bank CEO Richard Davis in ringing the closing bell on the world's biggest stock market.

Holland is in New York City today to mark the 150th anniversary of U.S. Bancorp. Although she has technically only worked for U.S. Bank since the 2001 merger of First Star Bank with U.S. Bancorp, she has worked for the four corporate ancestors of U.S. Bancorp for a total of more than six decades.

"When I joined the bank, I was just looking for a summer job to make some money to go to college," Holland recalled.

What Holland thought would be a temporary job at the then First National Bank of Franklin County in the summer of 1953 turned into a permanent career after she fell in love with her job and Paul Holland, a college graduate she soon married.

"I never got to school teaching, but I have loved working in the bank," she said. "Every day is different."

Indeed, her computerized deposit and checking handling duties today are nothing like the paper filing and records she worked on when she entered the banking profession in the 1950s. Over her career, Holland worked as an assistant cashier, marketing officer, and branch manager before "retiring" to her current position as a part-time teller in 1995.

She has remained a booster of her community, serving as director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce or four years.

Terry Harrell, branch manager of US Bank in Decherd, has worked with Holland for the past two decades and calls her "a real asset for the bank.

"She knows the customers and the community and has always been very dependable," he said.

Since "retiring" at age 65, Holland has worked 30 hours a week as a part-time teller, always greeting customers with her smile and helpful voice.

"I've seen generations of customers who have banked with us," she says. "There have been a lot of changes, but I still enjoy the people the most."

Holland's son and daughter in law, James and Terrie Holland, are accompanying Holland this week in New York. When she returns, she says he hopes to keep working "as long as I feel good and I enjoy it and they allow me to keep doing it."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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