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Checking in with Peggy Fuller

Fast Facts About Peggy Fuller

Peggy Fuller is the Senior Travel Director for Citizens Progressive Bank in Rayville, Louisiana.

Formed in 1918, Citizens Progressive Bank holds assets of $195 million. Though the home office is in Columbia, Louisiana, the bank has other Louisiana branches in Winnsboro, Grayson, Rayville and a new branch opening soon in North Monroe. The bank’s travel club, known as the CPB Travel Club, has about 300 members.

Born: Monroe, Louisiana

Employment: Peggy Fuller has worked in the banking industry for 44 years. She started working at Citizens Progressive Bank four years ago as senior travel director. 

Family: Fuller is married to Jack, her husband of 31 years. The couple has three children and eight grandchildren.

Hobbies: Fuller enjoys crocheting, knitting, embroidery and shopping estate sales.

Peggy Fuller has never shied away from adventure. She grew up taking camping trips in a pop-up trailer. She has ridden a motorcycle across the country.

So when a bank representative from Citizens Progressive Bank asked her to take on creating and running a group travel program, she had only one question.

“I looked at him and said, ‘Are you really going to pay me for this?’” said Fuller, senior travel director for Citizens Progressive Bank. “And he said, ‘Yeah, and you’ll go on the trips.’ So for me, that was a no-brainer.”

Fuller dove into planning trips for the bank’s CPB Travel Club without hesitation. Along the way, she learned how to advertise trips, craft itineraries and grow membership. 

One thing she didn’t have to learn: a positive outlook. 

Early Explorer

When Fuller’s family planned a vacation, they would always opt for a rustic getaway.

“My dad liked to hunt and fish,” said Fuller. “So that’s what we did. We would go to the mountains or somewhere in nature. We always went, and we always met new people. We were taught not to be shy. We were taught to enjoy whatever we had.”

Fuller’s childhood trips in the wilderness helped her feel at ease making new friends on the road. She continued to cultivate this skill into adulthood.

“I’m a people person,” said Fuller. “I like to see new things. I like to have fun every day that I get up.”

She first started working at a local bank as a teller, then quickly moved up. During her banking career, she wore many hats, including loan officer, secretary to the board, executive secretary and, eventually, vice president.

When she transitioned to Citizens Progressive Bank to start a travel program, she used her accumulated skills of organization, planning and customer service to help her figure out group travel.

“I had traveled some on my own,” said Fuller. “My husband and I rode motorcycles. We would make long trips up the East Coast and out West. But as far as taking groups, that was all new territory.”

Not wanting to wait, she took her first trip two weeks after arriving at the bank. She settled on Natchitoches, Louisiana, a day trip away from Rayville. She called a motorcoach company for a cost estimate, then cold-called people on the phone to see if they wanted to come. The response surprised her.

“That first trip showed me there was a lot of interest in group travel,” said Fuller. “We didn’t have a definite plan on that trip. Natchitoches is a French-influenced city like New Orleans, with wrought iron and brick streets. We sat on the riverbanks and watched a fireworks show on the other side of the river. It was a lovely trip.”

Full Steam

Shortly after joining Citizens Progressive Bank, Fuller delved deep into the world of group travel at the Select Traveler Conference.

“My eyes were opened to all the possibilities,” said Fuller. “It gave me a lot of information. I networked with different people. I haven’t missed it since.”

Feeling more confident, Fuller focused on growing the fledgling travel club. She called the bank’s list of customers, mailed information on the program and eventually launched a Facebook page.

“I grew up here in a small town and already knew everybody,” said Fuller. “I was amazed that it took off so quickly. Since there isn’t a lot to do in this small town, people were ready to travel.”

Since then, the travel program has also explored Cincinnati; Nashville, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri; and Natchez, Mississippi. The club accepts anyone age 55 and older, but exceptions are made if a member would like a younger family member to accompany them. 

Over time, Fuller has developed ways to make her travelers feel special. 

“I always have some free meals included because people love to eat and travel,” said Fuller. “I also have little goodie bags with snacks and other items. I bring games they can play with. They like to play bingo. I have a big bag of games and fun prizes.”

Her style, not overly regimented, is loose enough to occasionally follow travelers’ whims. Once on a trip to Nashville, two group members wanted to diverge from the plans and visit the Grand Ole Opry. Fuller let the two members go, asking only that they stay in touch to let her know they made it back to their hotel.

“I don’t make the trip so jam-packed that you can’t rest and you can’t deviate,” said Fuller. “We sometimes stop places they want to stop at just on the spur of the moment.”

Speed Bump

Though COVID-19 slowed Citizens Progressive Bank’s travel program, it didn’t stop it. Fuller accompanied a group on a trip to the Grand Canyon in September 2020 with protocols in place and excited travelers in tow.

“The Grand Canyon is beautiful,” said Fuller. “Every time you see it, it just takes your breath away. We were the only bus at the Grand Canyon. I was so glad it worked out.”

The trip was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was canceled mere days before leaving. Instead of wanting a refund, her travelers were keen to go in September. Fuller kept in touch with her tour operator reps to ensure that everything would go smoothly.

The group of 10 bonded on the trip and asked Fuller if they could share contact information with each other to stay in touch.

In May, Fuller also took a group of 29 people to Branson, with fewer restrictions. The group saw six shows and celebrated being back on the road again.

“I visited Branson in December, and it was like night and day,” said Fuller. “They’ve lifted the mask mandates and many of the other restrictions. It is a friendly town.”

The bank’s travel club is looking forward to more experiences, including an October trip to New England and international trips to Ireland and Iceland in 2022. 

Just as she once explored the unknown on family camping trips, Fuller anticipates the travel program’s future with optimism and good cheer.

Destination Faves

1. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee — “I love the mountains. There is a variety of things to do there. It is not an expensive trip, but it is a pretty place. It has a lot of childhood memories for me.”

2. Rocky Mountains — “We rode motorcycles out there on a trip once. I loved the scenery and the weather. We were there on the last day in June. It was warm in the valley, and at the top of Pikes Peak, it was 18 degrees. It is just beautiful.”

3. Niagara Falls — “You hear about it all the time, but the experience is incredible. You feel the vibration of the falls. You can even go behind the falls. It is an awesome and beautiful place.”