A tale of two bankers

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 10, 2005

The Times-Journal

Announcement of the appointment of Elam Holley Jr. as president of the Birmingham Region of The Peoples Bank and Trust Company does not mean that the Elam family will be leaving Selma forever. Their roots are deep into the Black Belt soil; their involvement in the community steadfast.

“We’ll be back someday,” Holley says, “because Selma is home.”

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The truism that “behind every successful man is a successful woman” has real meaning in the Holley household. Sandra Bonds Holley of Greensboro became his wife “35 years ago in December,” he says. They met when Sandra was a student at Judson College and Elam was at Marion Military Institute and married when he was a junior at the University of Alabama.

His wife’s role in the community has been as involved and constant as his. While she backed her husband’s career, took care of their children and their pet Labradors, she also had a career as a social worker at the Department of Pensions and Security, served for 17 years as a tourism guide for the Chamber of Commerce and taught music to children at First Baptist Church.

“This move is something you don’t prepare for,” Holley says, “and Sandra tears up when we talk about it.”

There are, however, two personal positives about the impending move: the Holleys have two sons in Birmingham, one a banker, the other an accountant.

Holley came to Peoples in 1973, 32 years ago. He was hired by Frank Wilson, started as a teller, then entered the credit area, next became an operations officer and a commercial lender. Through the years he continued to prepare for moves up the corporate ladder, including graduating from Jones Law School in 1976 and earning certificates from numerous institutes of banking, among these schools of banking at Louisiana State University and University of Wisconsin.

Holley has served as member of Alabama Bankers Association, Planning Committee, Bank Administration Institute and was named Outstanding Group Chairman of Group VI, Alabama Bankers Association.

In Selma he served with the Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority, its Executive Committee and as Chair of Target 2000 Campaign. His curriculum vitae is lengthy, and includes Leadership Selma-Dallas County Steering Committee and Leadership Alabama Graduate Class XIII, 2002-2003.

His personal affiliations are Rotary Club of Selma, Selma Country Club, American, Alabama and Dallas County Bar Association. He also filled several position with the Tukabatchee Boy Scouts of America Council; the Salvation Army, and the March of Dimes.

From his present position in Selma as president and CEO of Peoples he will be President of the Birmingham Region of The Peoples Bank and Trust Company, Senior Executive Vice President of the Peoples BancTrust Company, Inc. Director of the Peoples Bank and Trust Company and the The Peoples BancTrust Co., Inc.

In his new position his region will include Montevallo, Tuscaloosa and Centreville as well as Birmingham.

About his move he said “in the financial arena, Birmingham means something to the world. I just turned 55; I lost my Mom in May and this is a good time to leave. But our family farm right outside Marion on the Cahawba keeps me grounded to Selma. My sons and I will be back for hunting and fishing.

Moving to Selma and into Peoples Bank as President and CEO is Walter Parrent of Opelika who said “as a team, Elam and I will really do well.” Married to a Selma native, the former Sue Privett, he is familiar with the city as well as the bank He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the LSU School of Banking.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, he was stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga. as an officer in the basic training school. In 1964 he returned to Opelika and the family clothing business, “but after one year and an interview with Rex Morthland, who filled me in on banking I went into a bank operated by a close friend of his,” Parrent said.

That was in 1996. On April 30, 2003, he retired as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Colonial Bank, Georgia.

Active in community activities, Parrent has served as chairman of the Opelika Board of Education, director of the Chamber of Commerce, President of Chattahoochee Valley Chapter of Bank Administration Institute, the Opelika Parks and Recreation Board.

He also was a director of the Opelika Arts Association, Lee County Heart Fund, the Kiwanis Club and chairman of the Board of Deacons of First Presbyterian Church.

After retiring, Parrent said, “I didn’t intend to go back to work full time. I wasn’t sure about accepting this (at Peoples). I had known directors Harry Gamble, Ted Henry and David Pierce for 40 years. They presented a situation very, very enticing to me. Peoples Bank has the opportunity to be more of a factor for growth both in the state and beyond.”

Parrent has moved here but is maintaining his family home of four generations in Opelika, where three of the Parrent’s four daughters and their four grandchildren live. He plans to “go home” on weekends.

As a personal note, Parrent speaks freely of being a cancer survivor of two years from laryngeal cancer. “I am doing extremely well and I am a true supporter of the American Cancer Society. I decided to come here because I still have more to give.

“A major factor in my acceptance is my longtime association and knowledge of Selma, which to me is one of the great old Southern cities. I have always loved it.