Our Declaration of Beliefs
We want to share with you what we believe many companies don’t express enough to their clients: we want to begin a conversation with you about our founding values.
This commitment to our founding values has kept us strong, centered and on a steadfast path to growth for over 108 years, in good times, and bad. And we feel that many of our clients also hold these values true and exemplify them in their own business and personal lives. In today’s fast-paced environment, sometimes we need to take a step back and remember what matters.
We all know people who sometimes make promises, but don't keep them. People who say one thing, but mean another. People who forget that keeping their word is the most important thing of all.
Keeping our word is one of F&M Bank’s guiding values. I remember my grandfather Gus Walker, second president of Farmers & Merchants Bank and one of my most cherished mentors, telling me as a young man, “Dan, I can forgive almost anything you do, but I can’t forgive a lie.” From then on, I made my personal choice to always keep my word and tell the truth. And I try every day to instill that belief into our culture here at F&M Bank.
Any business can tell a client what they want to hear, whether or not the answer is true or right for them. I’m proud to say that our culture at F&M Bank is one that goes back to our founding in 1907 when my great-grandfather C.J. Walker built the bank on the core beliefs of honesty, integrity, the home, the church and service-above-self. C.J. also taught us that keeping our clients’ money safe was indeed a sacred trust.
So, at the end of the day, we will always give you, our client, the truth. You expect it, and you deserve it. Always. After all, you’ve given us your business and trust and we deeply thank you for that.
We look forward to continuing this conversation with you in the coming months.
Daniel K. Walker
Chairman of the Board & CEO
Dedication means hard work. Period. People and organizations succeed because they work hard, and those that are dedicated work harder than others. You work hard to be good at what you’re doing. That takes dedication, and that's not easy.
As CFO of F&M Bank, I'm most dedicated to growing the bottom line, deposits, profitability, and capital. But I feel that as an organization, F&M is also deeply dedicated to providing a very high level of customer service, because that's what you demand and expect from us, especially for clients who have been banking with our institution for three and four generations. They've shown us great dedication and we will always reciprocate that.
No matter what position you're in, dedication comes into play. And, our employees have shown us deep dedication. If you look at our company roster, you'll notice that out of our 656 employees, 201 have been serving us for over 10 years, 102 serving for over 20 years, and 13 for over 35 years. Now that's true dedication.
Overall, dedication is just a part of life here at F&M Bank. We keep our commitments, work hard and do our duty. And will continue to do so, because we are dedicated. To you, our clients, our employees and shareholders.
John W.H. Hinrichs
Chief Financial Officer and Cashier
As President and fourth generation leader of Farmers & Merchants Bank, I’ve grown up under the leadership and mentoring of my father, my grandfather and, of course, the legacy of my great grandfather, F&M founder C.J. Walker and his wife Carrie. They taught us to do what is best for others. When I think about Service Above Self, I am reminded of a story about C.J.; every day he would walk from 4th and Cedar to his office in Downtown Long Beach, where he would pass the same grocery store. Once a week he would hand the owner money and say “This is for someone that cannot afford a meal.” C.J. truly thought and acted in the best interest of others, and it is C.J. that we try to emulate even today here at F&M.
At Farmers & Merchants Bank, Service Above Self means putting our clients’ and communities’ needs ahead of our own. Most banks don’t embrace this philosophy, but we do. Our goal is to build relationships through which our clients benefit long-term, and therefore we benefit by their continued success and trust in us. It’s a true relationship, a two-way street.
Today it is our responsibility to carry on this type of caring, Service Above Self attitude, and something that we take ownership in doing, to preserve and pass on to the future generations of the bank. Every year F&M donates back to hundreds of local non-profits and religious organizations. These organizations put others before themselves, and are a part of the fabric of our communities that we serve, and we believe in them and their missions.
Service Above Self is deeply rooted in our heritage, tradition, and F&M’s mission. It’s something we’ll continue to genuinely provide to our clients, communities, shareholders, and employees, because it is just as important to us now as it was in 1907, when C.J. would visit the same grocery store every week, and hand the owner money so that someone less fortunate could eat.
W. Henry Walker
In my years as President of F&M Bank, including today, you can usually find me at my roll-top desk on the first floor of our Main Office, accessible to everyone. From that desk I have immediate access to every client, every employee, and every friend who wishes to say hello. This desk has special meaning to me. This was my father’s desk, and my grandfather's desk -- the founder of Farmers & Merchants Bank, CJ Walker; I wouldn't want to have my office anywhere else.
My mission during my tenure as President of the Bank is to keep clients' money safe and sound, and to create lasting relationships. Each of my clients deserves my attention, whether they entrust $5 or $5 million with F&M Bank. Having a sincere, caring relationship with our clients, borrowers, staff and shareholders has led F&M to grow consistently, steadfastly, and kept us strong for the last 107 years, and will do so for the next 107 years and beyond, I am sure.
My grandmother, Carrie D. Walker, wife of my grandfather CJ, influenced me greatly to be a humble person. She was an intelligent, wise and beautiful woman, with a huge heart. Simply put, she was superb. In 1902, after Carrie received news of a young woman found on the steps of the city's auditorium crying and homeless, she made it her mission to help, and started the city's first YWCA. Carrie taught me the importance of giving back to those who are less fortunate, and the community, always leading by example.
At the end of the day, you, our client and our friend, are the most important person to F&M Bank. As my father Gus Walker would say, "A client is never an interruption of our work, they are the purpose of it." So, to those of you whom have given me a smile, a handshake and to those I have yet to meet, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your business, your trust, your friendship, and for giving us the opportunity to service you. You are the purpose for this Bank that my grandfather created, and we value your loyalty.
President of Main Office
Faith is a belief in something special, tangible or intangible, apparent or unapparent. It’s a belief in a set of guiding values, framed in trust and supported by hope. Faith is strength. So it is altogether fitting then that faith is embedded deeply in F&M Bank. We were founded on the bedrock of our faith – it’s in the way we’ve conducted our business since 1907.
I started with the bank 21 years ago, and it quickly became clear to me that F&M was different than other financial institutions. F&M leadership would choose to take the conservative approach in many business decisions. At times, I would drive home thinking to myself, “Why are we walking away from opportunities and leaving them for other banks?” But ultimately I had faith; faith in our executives, our decisions, and our legacy of conservative practices.
Faith is tested most when the worst happens. It takes great strength to truly adhere to your faith when the world tells you differently. In 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, my faith and trust in how we conducted our business came into focus. Because of our conservative philosophies, we were able to provide uninterrupted service and support to our community without having to avail ourselves of TARP funding. We continued to finance schools, sanctuaries, and other not-for-profit organizations when they needed it most. We kept strong. We were stable, profitable, and continued to pay regular shareholder dividends without disruption or reduction. It was faith in our "moral compass" -- which the Walker family has kept firmly in place for over a century -- that led us to stay strong through the Great Recession, and will continue to do so as we grow into the new era.
It took time for the F&M culture of faith to develop within me and to fully appreciate it, but now I love being a messenger for the Good that F&M does. I can truly say it’s a blessing to come to work every day and help our organization and the community. We are indeed a family that wants to give back. Faith in our company is larger than all of us. It’s embodied in our organization, at the very core of our true character. It is the same faith-based strength that has been around since our founding 107 years ago, and that will guide us for the next 107 years, if not more.
Senior Vice President
Simply put, compassion means wanting
to help someone and taking action to do so. Compassion is the bedrock of F&M’s foundation that my great-great-grandfather C.J. Walker created in 1907.
C.J. saw that the community needed a financial institution that would act with integrity, that believed, as C.J. used to say, that "safeguarding clients’ money was a sacred trust" -- who saw the opportunity for growth within what was then just a sleepy beach town called Long Beach.
Compassion was passed on through the generations to my great-grandfather, Gus Walker, then to my grandfather, Ken Walker and today lives on through the fourth and fifth generation of Walker family members. As a child I was told countless stories of how my forefathers would lend to clients based on genuine trust through the simplest of gestures, a handshake. Trust and faith in the form of a handshake that helped many community members build their dreams.
Of course, today there are many regulations on how banks can lend, but compassion for community and our clients still runs deep within the every day practices of our business. It is still of the utmost importance for F&M to support local organizations and businesses, including local non-profits, schools, houses of worship, hospitals, the arts, our police and fire departments and many more. We truly believe that when these organizations thrive, our communities thrive.
My career and time at F&M will continue to focus on investing and supporting these local organizations’ goals and dreams, because they are the past, present and future of our communities. My mission at Farmers & Merchants is – and will continue to be – to preserve the legacy of compassion in the company and our communities that my great-great-grandfather, C.J. Walker instilled in us over a century ago.
Christine M. Walker-Bowman
First Vice President, Corporate Real Estate Management
Staying true to commitments, allowing others to rely and build trust in you - that's Dependability. It's what Farmers & Merchants Bank founder, C.J. Walker instilled in our organization 108 years ago, when he calmed a crowd of anxious clients that had fled to the bank scared that their money was unsafe because of the unstable 1907 stock market. Standing atop the teller line, C.J. waited for the lobby to be filled before introducing himself and assuring all that not only was their money safe, but if they chose, the bank would fully refund their deposits in gold. In that very moment, C.J. instilled Dependability as a core value in F&M Bank forevermore.
You see, Dependability is tested most in extreme cycles. Just like in 1907, and during the most recent financial crisis, F&M showed that even during tough economic conditions we remain focused on what is best for our clients. We stayed true to our conservative values by focusing on sound business decisions. And by not overextending the bank's capital or investing in sub-prime loans, we were able to provide uninterrupted service for our clients. By sticking to our core values, we were able to demonstrate our Dependability, and create a safe place for our clients. Again, allowing them to rely and build a trust in us knowing that their hard earned money was secure with F&M.
As F&M Bank continues to grow, we will remain focused on the best interests of our clients. Even with the development and implementation of new technologies, we will always remember that banking is a people business. When a client walks in our doors, we want to get to know their specific story, and find a solution for their unique needs. We want to ensure that, no matter what the future holds, our clients feel secure banking with F&M, and trust that they have a partner to depend on.
Phillip J. Bond
Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer