Susan Chapman Plumb
As a Native American, more specifically a Cherokee, family is an important aspect of Susan Chapman Plumb’s culture. Even the bank she works for—Bank of Cherokee County in Hulbert, Okla.—is family owned. She is the youngest of the five primary stockholders.
“I really have the privilege of partnering with individuals who are community minded and have community banking at heart,” she said.
In her role as chief operating officer and counsel for the bank, Plumb often finds herself performing multiple duties and tasks, which usually start at 6 a.m. with emails to various employees. Although she enjoys the daily work inside the bank, she says she gets more business done outside the bank.
“I like getting out and being part of the community,” she said.
She earned a juris doctorate at the University of Tulsa and practiced law for 10 years before going back into banking.
“Community banking has always been a part of my life,” she said.
Her father Gary Chapman, who has been involved in Cherokee banking for 40 years, headed the investment group of prominent Cherokee tribal members who bought Bank of Cherokee County when it was the smallest state bank in Oklahoma with about $6 million in assets.
Now the minority-owned bank is a community development financial institution with three office locations and approximately $102 million in assets.
It’s the community-minded, community-owned banking voice Plumb wants to convey as a member of the Kansas City Fed’s Oklahoma City Branch Board of Directors. She says it’s important that the Federal Reserve understands this perspective, especially with the decline of community banking on the national level.
“It’s hard to say there is any one thing that has caused the decline of small community banks in the country,” she said.
Plumb thinks it’s a combination of regulatory issues, capital constraints and workforce retention in rural communities. Besides being an advocate for minority-owned, community banks, Plumb says being a director has provided her invaluable information about the economy, business, banking and even management from her fellow directors and Fed staff.
“It’s a win-win for me,” she said. “There are so many people at the Fed who are good at what they do and so knowledgeable.”