Alumnus Named Community Bank President of The Bank of Missouri
Matthew Gowin, ’92 ΒΘΠ, was named Community Bank President of The Bank of Missouri in Mexico on Jan. 6. Gowin also serves the communities of Centralia and Hallsville.
Gowin’s new post follows a nearly 30-year career in banking after receiving his degree in accounting from Westminster College. Most recently, Gowin served as Vice President of Central Bank in Fulton. He previously worked as Vice President of Commercial Lending and as Retail Services Director at The Callaway Bank in Fulton. He began his career as a credit analyst with Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks.
When Gowin isn’t making sense of numbers, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Westminster health sciences faculty member Amanda Gowin, and his four children, Hope, 18; Olivia, 16; Katherine, 13; and Samuel, 11.
Read further to learn how Gowin’s Westminster education prepared him for his banking career and the advice he gives to current students about pursuing their dreams.
You’ve been in banking in the Fulton community for decades. How has the transition gone so far, now that you are working in the communities of Mexico, Centralia and Hallsville?
It’s been great. Having been in Fulton for years, I am somewhat familiar with the communities of Mexico and Centralia. While the people are similar, the economic drivers are more agriculturally related, so I look forward to learning more about the agricultural industry issues. I really enjoy learning more about everything, and this is just a natural succession for me professionally and personally. Now that I’m getting settled internally with The Bank of Missouri, I am starting to network with community members. It’s wonderful establishing new relationships.
What are your current goals as president of The Bank of Missouri?
My current goal is to enhance what is already in place: the quality employees and the solid performance of the bank. I didn’t walk into a lot of problems in this position. The employees are knowledgeable and personable, the bank already had a plan in place and I am fortunate to be a part of that plan. I hope to continue the success in our market areas and gain market share in mid-Missouri, to increase employee satisfaction, to be a quality leader and to be an integral part of the team.
What organizations outside of work are you involved in?
Right now, I’m cutting back on civic duties, since I want to be with my wife and children more. I’m finishing up on the Fulton Public School Board of Education, but I’ve been on several local advisory boards: Callaway Chamber of Commerce, Westminster Alumni Advisory Council, the Fulton Colleges Fund/Board of Associates, the YMCA of Callaway County and SERVE are several organizations I have helped with, and I’ve coached my daughters’ basketball teams and helped coach my son’s baseball team.
What do you consider your greatest success?
Professionally I would say my greatest success is being recognized for not only what I have done up to this point, but having a bank realize the potential in me and betting on me to be a key player. Titles don’t mean a whole lot to me. They are nice, but I’d rather be recognized for my work ethic and the results and leadership I bring to the table. The Bank of Missouri didn’t know me prior to the interview process, but it’s amazing how much two entities can learn about each other through discussion. I’m a huge believer in conversations, and it was simply some enjoyable, unexpected conversations which led me to this point.
Knowing my mom and family (including my dad who passed away in 2000) were proud of me is really important to me, because I have four children, and I’m trying to be a good example for them. Personally, my greatest success is making memories with my family and friends. I am rich by any standard when it comes to memories, but I’m also greedy in those terms — I want so many more memories to be made, because I enjoy seeing others filled with happiness.
Our accounting graduates experience close to 100 percent job placement within six months after graduation. Do you feel you were adequately prepared for a career in banking after you graduated from the College?
Yes, I certainly do. The Placement Office (what we called it back in 1992) was great. I had a couple of shadow deals at the Big 8 accounting firms in St. Louis my senior year, but I didn’t want to pay to park my car every day and have to eat $12 lunches downtown, plus commute … all the hassles of living in a city. So I went through the on-campus interviews with employers and was actually hired by Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks upon graduation. It wasn’t much pay, but I was thankful for a job. That particular job taught me so much about the banking industry.
Do you have any recommendations for Westminster students who are interested in careers in banking?
Not to be down on my industry, but things have changed so much, and the profession is really challenging. Nonetheless, I would suggest students make, not take, the opportunities to go visit with bankers (their parents should know at least one or two) and ask questions to find out more about the students’ personal interests in finance. The audit side of banking seems to be growing all the time. A lot of lenders come through the audit side and go into management. The audit side also exposes you to numerous types of commercial clients, so you can learn a lot. You may find that you have a financial interest but would prefer to be in a different industry, and having some background knowledge would be quite beneficial in your professional pursuits.
What is your favorite Westminster memory?
I’ve got several really good memories of Westminster. I enjoyed and respected the professors and administrators. In naming a few, I know I’ll sadly miss some, but Sharon Salem, Ken Reuter, Robert “Bob” Hoerber, Richard Lael, Wayne Zade and Carolyn Perry have had a significant influence on me. Seeing prestigious speakers from all over the world has simply been amazing, for our campus and Fulton. Having been fortunate to witness history and to continue to take part in these functions, most recently Dr. Madeleine Albright’s lecture, is just invaluable to my life’s experience. Also, I was able to attend Westminster with my best friend, Darren Siegel, ’93 ΒΘΠ — I’m thankful for that. I am quite grateful for all the memories provided to me by Westminster.
Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?
Absolutely. I had a great experience at Westminster, even though I was considered a “Townie” — not leaving town and choosing to attend college here. The networking opportunities available to students is simply the greatest tool available to our Blue Jay Nation. The successful students, with initiative, quickly identify this and seize numerous opportunities which end up benefitting them, be it personally and/or professionally. In its entirety, the “Westminster experience” is our real story. It’s not about originally being an all-male school and later allowing female students to attend. It’s about numerous relationships which are made and the endless opportunities provided to our student base.
Favorite spot on campus?
The intramural football field and the old porch at the Beta Theta Pi house.
Last book you read?
The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins. The book is about the on-boarding process with employers, including various scenarios. I felt I should get up to speed since I hadn’t switched employers in 12+ years.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Let me preface this by saying that Bobby Andrews, former Dean of Admissions/Enrollment, asked me to Champ Auditorium to speak to prospective students and their parents. Drawing on my life experiences and having been involved with numerous entities (be it employers, athletic teams or civic groups) over my years, and recalling my thoughts of what I was looking for as a prospective student, I shared a simple, short quote after a few opening remarks about why students should choose Westminster. I apologize for not knowing who it’s attributed to, but I feel it is a standard rule of thumb for me now. “You can’t do epic sh– with basic people” (apologies for the expletive). The point is, Westminster College people are not “basic,” and by attending Westminster, students will be able to complete tasks of epic proportions. I feel the quote is quite appropriate for Westminster alumni when you read of their incredible accomplishments on a regular basis.
Hard for me to pick one. I’ve enjoyed The Green Book, Falling Down and The Lincoln Lawyer, to name a few.
I don’t really use many apps and prefer to use my phone for talking and texting. I would have to say the Google Maps app, maybe? Pretty boring.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy being with my family and friends, cooking, attending concerts and musical events with my family and tending to a couple of car washes I co-own with my cousin.