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Checking in with Margie Zieber

Fast Facts about Margie Zieber

Margie Zieber is the Travel Coordinator for Farmers State Bank in Cameron, Missouri.

Farmers State Bank has been a locally owned community banking staple in Missouri since it first opened in 1915, but its travel club is a recent development, launched by Zieber in 2015. The Farmers State Bank Travel Club is for any account holder over the age of 50 and includes the member’s guest, regardless of age or bank status. The travel club takes monthly day trips and roughly eight overnight trips every year, including domestic and international destinations, plus mystery trips designed to surprise travelers.

Birthplace: Pearl River, New York

Employment History: Zieber has worked for Farmers State Bank for 38 years. She started as a bookkeeper in 1985, working her way to mortgage originator before starting the travel club in 2015.

Family: Zieber has been married to her husband Mike for 40 years, and they have three children, Mandy, Jeff and Amy. They have one granddaughter named Emma and two dogs, a Cockapoo named Stewart and a Shiba Inu named Baxter. 

Hobbies: Zieber loves to travel but was also a Girl Scout Leader for over 20 years and just retired from the organization in 2021.

An Unlikely Claim

Margie Zieber claims to be boring.

“I’ve lived here in Cameron [Missouri] since I was 12, and my husband has been here since birth,” she said. “We’re like, very boring — we started our jobs at 18 and just stayed with them. He had 30 years in and could have retired, but he stayed another five years before he retired at 53. Now he goes on every trip with me.”

If working nearly every role from bank teller to mortgage lender over a 40-year span in a locally owned community bank with eight regional branches sounds less than exciting, Zieber’s creation of the Farmers State Bank Travel Club has more than made up for it. Since then, Zieber has traveled from the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and from Mount Rushmore in South Dakota to the Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With all this globetrotting, her favorite destination is usually the one she just visited.

“Lots of times, my favorite trip is the one I just got home from,” she said. “I’ll think, ‘I had so much fun with that group of people — man, that was the best trip!’ And on the next one, I’ll say, ‘Man! That was the best trip!’”

Mystery Machine

Not all of the travel club’s destinations are glamorous and far-flung, though. There are day trips every month to small towns in the region to discover hidden gems like a recent trip to North Platte, Nebraska. Some trips keep travelers in the dark — these mystery overnight tours use the element of surprise to delight travelers. Zieber got the mystery trip and other ideas at a Select Traveler Conference.

“At first I was overwhelmed [at the conference]. I had like 60 interviews with different people telling me their ideas and why to go to their town or hotel, and at that time I was so new I thought we’d never even do an international trip,” she said. “But from there, everyone who is in this position in other banks is so willing to share their knowledge that it has really helped me tremendously. They’ll tell me what worked for them, what destinations they went to and what they planned. Getting to know other people in this profession has really helped, and I’ve made some great friends.”

All Access

One of Zieber’s top priorities is to make the trips financially accessible to everyone. That’s why she designed the Farmers State Bank Travel Club to have very few limitations — being over 50 and having some type of bank account or service are the only requirements.

“We’re a very small community in Cameron — the population is 8,000 people, and the Cameron branch is one of our biggest branches,” she said. “We try to do something for everybody, from a motorcoach trip that is a couple hundred dollars to a bucket-list type trip. We just want to include everybody.”

The Best-Laid Plans

Zieber doesn’t have a website or send out a newsletter for her travel club. Instead, she hosts bimonthly dinners that highlight upcoming destinations. At the dinners, Zieber also gets ideas from attendees on where they’d like to go and builds her trips from there. After almost 10 years, members have become friends and enjoy traveling together.

“Sometimes I’ll do a little questionnaire to see what people are interested in, or sometimes people say, ‘I want to go to Hawaii, it’s my 50th state,’” she said. “We’ll create a trip and say we need at least 20 people to make this trip happen, and before I know it there are 36 people signed up. Even though the travel club is word of mouth, we are a community bank with branches in small towns. Now our members really are like a club — they’ve made friends with each other, so if one person says they’re going, someone else will say ‘I want to go!’ So, we don’t have an issue filling our trips.”

Destination Faves

1.  New York City: “I love the energy of Times Square and the lights of Broadway. I think of seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time and of all of the people who have entered this country through Ellis Island.”

2. Alaska: “Between the excitement of getting a glimpse of wildlife and the beautiful scenery, you’ll never want to go home.”

3. Rhine River cruising: “You can explore castles and vineyards, beautiful villages and charming towns in the heart of Europe and only unpack once. It’s all right there.”