By: Haylie Smart | Category: Financial Services | Issue: December 2022
Left to right are AVB Board of Directors Ted Cundiff, Russell Brown, Sally Wilton, Georgeanna Thomas, Kelley Rash, Cooper Rash and Topper Causby.
With over 50-years of experience in the banking industry, Kelley Rash has learned the banking industry from the ground-up, growing up in a family of bankers and serving in multiple roles at AVB Bank (AVB). Rash is the fourth generation of her family to serve AVB, proudly continuing a family legacy that dates back to before statehood. She assumed the leadership role as AVB Chairman of the Board in 2001.
Her “People First” focus has been one of kindness and sharing within her family, community, and banking roles.
Ted Cundiff, AVB Bank President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), “Kelley Rash has a passion for the Broken Arrow community that is unmatched. Whether she is volunteering, fundraising, strategic planning, collaborating, donating, leading…she is modeling the mission of our Bank – SERVE, CONNECT and SUCCEED TOGETHER.” He continued, “A passionate advocate, Kelley is dedicated to the growth, development, and betterment of Broken Arrow. Throughout the years that I have known Kelley, I have seen her positively impact this community and our Bank, and I am consistently in awe of her kindness and generosity.”
In the words of a long-time AVB Bank customer, “Kelley Rash is the ultimate example of what is possible when quality business leaders look to give back to their community and represent something bigger than themselves.”
The Oklahoma Bankers Association recognized Kelley Rash’s outstanding 50-year banking career. At front, left to right: Topper Causby, Donna Malaguti, Gary King, Jamie Wheeler, LaTonya Cundiff, Kelley Rash, Nema Dobbins, Kelli Sowell, Jody Manning. Back row: Javier Gamarra, Ben Dejene, Ted Cundiff, Randy Waldrup, and Cooper Rash.
From one of her employees, “Kelley does not like to be the center of attention. Recognition is not necessary for her to do what she does. She is not boastful. Everything that she does for AVB Bank - our employees and customers - and for our community is done because she wants to make a difference…and she does that with HEART. I so admire this woman and am blessed that I was led to AVB and have been given the opportunity to work with, for and on behalf of her.”
Cooper Rash, Kelley’s son, shared: “My mom strongly encouraged me to explore career options upon graduating with my university degree. Seeing the love, concern and pride that she and my grandparents have always had for the Bank, how they were connected with the employees, customers and community, I wanted that. I am so proud of my mom…what she does, how she does it and who she is. And, as the fifth generation of my family to serve AVB, it is my greatest desire to make her proud.”
Kelley attributes her longevity in the banking industry to several factors. “We focus on hiring the right people and provide them with training and growth opportunities; and treating our customers right. For over, 117 years, generations of customers have called AVB Bank their bank. One thing has never changed…AVB’s respect for tradition, honesty, and integrity,” explained Kelley.
AVB Bank continues their investment into the community and Kelley and her employees work passionately to make a positive impact.
At many Broken Arrow events you will likely see where AVB has rolled-up their sleeves to contribute and employees participating to make a difference.
The banking industry has changed through the years. Kelley said her favorite part about working in the banking industry has been helping to maintain an independent financial institution through tough economic and regulatory times…even throughout a pandemic!
She and her employees have established a legacy of strength, stability, and service that their thousands of clients have come to rely upon. “A handshake is, and always has been, a symbol of our bond; a symbol of trust, stability, and passionately working hard for our customers. While there is more paperwork and documentation to be done in today’s financial industry, business is still conducted based on that personal connection between you and the customers. Rash is adamant that AVB bankers never forget the foundation and values the Bank was built upon – doing business the old-fashioned way, with a handshake, creating a lifelong bond between you, your customers, and our communities,” Kelley expressed. AVB is a strong reflection of the Brown-Kimbrough family values that Rash embraced, defined, and personally committed herself to…today, tomorrow, and for the tomorrows to come.
The joys and memories of her 50-year career encompass her early days in training as a bank teller…to demonstrating to customers how to use the Bank’s new technology, the ATM machine, outside in the summer heat wearing a dress and panty hose…working at her desk while her son was under the desk, playing or asleep…to sharing the many of life’s milestones with employees and customers who are all considered her extended family. All of these moments, and more, have been heartwarming and sometimes very funny.
The family legacy continues with Cooper Rash. From his early beginnings playing and sleeping as a small child under his mother’s desk… to multiple summer internships at AVB Bank … receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business (with emphasis in management and marketing) from Oklahoma State University, Cooper officially began his banking career in 2016. He serves as AVB Bank Vice President of Marketing, specializing in market research, data analysis, media communication, web content, search engine optimization strategy and support of customer-focused delivery channels.
He is continuing the strong commitment to hometown family banking and is the fifth generation to serve on the Bank’s Board of Directors. Regarding his election to the AVB Bank Board of Directors, Cooper stated, “AVB Bank has served our customers with honesty and integrity for over 117-years. My family has served multiple generations, and I am humbled to be part of the next generation to continue this service. The significance of such a long-lasting legacy is certainly not lost on me…successfully maintaining an independent/family-owned financial institution shows resilience and commitment to our customers, employees, community, and shareholders, and I am humbled to be a part of our Bank’s future.”
Kelley and Cooper share the same ideals set forth 117 years ago and maintain their strong sense of helping others and serving their communities.
Kelley is a life-long resident of Broken Arrow, her pride and joy are her two children, Cooper and Sara Cruncleton, and grandchildren, Lottie and August Cruncleton.
Mother and son, Cooper Rash and Kelley Rash share in continuing the legacy of AVB Bank.
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