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Checking in with Bonnie McCown

Fast Facts about Bonnie McCown

Bonnie McCown is the Assistant Vice President at the First National Bank of Pulaski in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

Opened in 1938, the First National Bank of Pulaski has expanded over the years from Pulaski, Tennessee, to include 12 locations in Tennessee and Alabama. The bank’s Heritage Club started in 1987 and now boasts 2,800 members. Customers 50 years or older with balances of at least $5,000 can join.

Born: Fayetteville, Tennessee

Employment: In 1974, McCown accepted her first banking position at the Union National Bank in Fayetteville. She left for a new First National Bank branch opening in Fayetteville in 1991. 

Family: McCown has been married to her husband, Larry, for 46 years. The couple has one son and one grandson, with a second grandbaby due in October.

Hobbies: McCown enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

Cutting Travel Time Became Traveling for a Living

Bonnie McCown started her career in banking not because of a well-thought-out career path but rather in response to her father’s disapproval.

“I was driving back and forth to Huntsville for my job at SCI Technology,” said McCown, assistant vice president of the First National Bank of Pulaski. “My dad didn’t want me driving that far. You know how fathers are. It’s an hour’s drive.”

To help pacify her father, McCown took a job at the Union National Bank in Fayetteville, Tennessee, in 1974. Despite the unorthodox reason for taking the job, McCown built a career around her fondness for customer service, which eventually enabled her to travel extensively with First National Bank of Pulaski’s Heritage Club.

“I love my customers,” said McCown. “I love to help people. Our travelers love to be spoiled, and we love to spoil them. Travel is just a minor part of my job, but it’s also a really fun part.”

McCown may not have foreseen her career trajectory, but she revels in discovering new hidden gems for her constantly growing Heritage Club.

Humble Beginnings

When McCown joined First National Bank of Pulaski in 1991, not only did she not have a corner office, there wasn’t even a building.

“They had just opened the new branch in Fayetteville when I transferred,” said McCown. “We started out in a trailer, so there weren’t very many of us. Needless to say, we grew very fast.”

Soon McCown began traveling with the Heritage Club on the invitation of Melinda Hughey, now owner of a bank marketing and communications firm called the RH Factor. Hughey was the bank’s marketing director at that time.

“She thought I had the personality for it because she knew I loved people and I loved adventure,” said McCown. “I traveled a few trips with her, and then she decided to start her own business shortly after. That’s how I got pushed into it.”

McCown and Hughey still work together, as the RH Factor helps craft the Heritage Club’s itineraries.

“Melinda’s great,” said McCown. “We’ve been friends since I started traveling with her. We’re still the best of friends. I know I can trust her. She’s not going to decide anything without me finalizing it.”

Leaning on a trustworthy travel planning partner allows McCown to oversee the club while also accomplishing her numerous other tasks. On any given day, McCown might work on the bank’s Student Advisor Board, hosted events and community relations. She also spends every spare second with her new grandson.

“It’s crazy busy,” said McCown. “I tell people I don’t know if I could have nothing to do all the time. I’m so used to being busy. If I sit down, I’ll go to sleep.”