The staff at Texas Star Bank in Anna honored Buddy Hayes — the bank’s president and their coworker and friend — with a luncheon attended by many area residents on June 7. The occasion was a celebration of Hayes’ 60 years as a banker.
And Monday morning, bright and early, Buddy was back behind his desk to start the 61st year, reflecting on his life both as a person and a banker. He talked about growing up the son of sharecropper farmers.
"Things weren’t the greatest for us," said Buddy. "The economy was not good. I was 17 when I graduated from high school. I was the valedictorian of my class and went to the University of North Texas on a one year scholarship."
But there was not enough money to continue his education and young Buddy went to work.
"I remember my first day at work at the First State Bank in Celina," recalled Buddy. "It was Monday and we received checks from the Federal Reserve. I was sorting and filing the checks in an alphabetical file and had to check for signatures on the back. And I came across one check with what looked like a bunch of scratches on the back. So I went to one of the ladies and asked who signed that check. Well, she said, that’s Mr. C.B. Johnson, the man who hired you."
And so, the storied 60-year career of Buddy Hayes was under way.
He talked about helping folks throughout the years. "You know," he said, "lending a person money, or more money, is not necessarily doing them a favor." Buddy reflected on making loans many times that big city bankers would have frowned upon.
"There was a customer, Mr. Kimble. He drove a truck," recalled Buddy. "Had a ruptured ulcer in Louisiana, and no money to pay the hospital. We took care of that, the wife picked up the money, paid the bill and got him back home. And when she came in to pay back the loan, she told me that the biggest mistake we made was not leaving him in Louisiana."
"I had a friend a long time ago," Buddy continued. "Willie, one of my dearest friends that I ever had. He was a rich man, not in money but in friends. He always told me that I ain’t done anything to nobody that I wouldn’t want done to me." That has always been, and is, Buddy’s philosophy. "I want to be your friend and not a banker. I never put that much pride in banking."
Reflecting on changes in the industry Buddy said "Sixty years ago, banking was so simple. A man needed money, so he promised to pay and got the money. Today he has 10 pages to sign, and with all the consumer protection it’s the consumer that is paying for all of it."
Retirement plans? "I always think about retiring," was Buddy’s answer. "But I have seen a lot of my friends that retired and didn’t live long."
But Buddy will be 80 in a year-and-a-half and "if my health remains as good as it is now, I would consider retiring."
Married to Juanita for 55 years they have three children- daughter Annette, sons Duane and Darryl, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
When a few years ago the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce recognized Buddy Hayes with a Lifetime Achievement Award he said "I never wanted fame, just for people to know who I really was."
The people of Anna certainly do know who Buddy Hayes really is.