Banking CFO: Leslie Lowery, Merchants & Planters Bank

Banking CFO: Leslie Lowery, Merchants & Planters Bank
Leslie Lowery • SVP & CFO, Merchants & Planters Bank | Newport

Leslie Lowery celebrated her 23rd anniversary with Merchants & Planters Bank of Newport in September, and she’s proud of helping her hometown bank adapt to changing technology.

In addition to serving as CFO, she is the bank’s information security officer, a role that didn’t exist when she was hired in August 1998. That was just a few months after she graduated from Lyon College of Batesville with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

“Keeping up with technology and keeping all of our customers’ information safe and secure, that’s probably one of the biggest expenses we have,” Lowery said. “Keeping up with this technology keeps everything interesting, so I’m always learning what’s coming out next and learning about new things.”

She is also proud to have worked her way up to senior management.

Lowery originally applied for a human resources position at the bank, but wasn’t hired. Nevertheless, the bank saw her potential and hired her anyway. After two weeks as a teller, Lowery said, she moved into what is now called the Operations Department. There she flourished under a no-micromanagement style she has since adopted.

“I think that if you hire the right person for the job and you give them all the tools that they need, there’s no reason to hover over them,” Lowery said. “You need to trust that they know what they’re doing. And, if they happen to make a mistake, then it’s usually OK. We can go back and fix it and learn from it.”

Outside the office, Lowery has been involved with Relay for Life, March of Dimes, the Newport Chamber of Commerce and the city’s annual Christmas parade. She is also a member of the inaugural New Vision Newport leadership class and a graduate of Christian Brothers University’s banking school in Memphis.

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