GALION — After nearly 46 years serving in the banking industry, Craig Clinger, vice president in charge of the loan department at Galion Building and Loan, is retiring at the end of May.
Clinger said he kind of stumbled into the banking business, noting when he graduated high school he never even gave banking or finance a thought.
“It was all totally by accident,” he said. “I never intended to do this. I was out of high school and I was a manager at McDonald’s. I would take the deposit over to the (Buckeye State Bank) office. One day the (bank) manager asked me if I liked being a manager at McDonald’s and I told him I did, but I didn’t like working six and seven days a week.
“He then asked me if I would like a job that worked five days a week with the weekends off,” Clinger said. “And I said ‘sure.’ So he sent me up town to talk to Jack McDonald, who was president at Buckeye Bank, and they hired me on the spot.”
Clinger started at Buckeye State Bank in Galion as a teller in 1974. While at this bank, Clinger said he learned a little bit of everything, including bookkeeping, how to run the proof machines, and then moved over to the loan department at the bank in 1978.
“I just stayed with loans,” he said. “After that, in 1980, I went to First National Bank ,which is now United Bank on the square and worked there for four years. Then I went to United Bank in Bucyrus in 1984 and when they came to Galion I was the branch manager there in 1990. Then in 1992 I came to Galion Building and Loan.”
Clinger has seen many changes in the banking industry over the years. In earlier years, it only took a couple forms to get a loan. “Today, you’ve got 15 or 20 pieces of paper. Bank regulation has caused all this increase of paperwork.”
A good memory of his years in the business, Clinger said, is that many customers followed him if he left one bank to go to another.
“And it’s helped that every bank I’ve worked at was a local bank and not a big bank, like an out of state bank,” he said.
Talking about retirement, Clinger said he felt it was just the right time to step down and said he and his wife Brenda plan to do some traveling in their RV.
“I do some vintage sports car racing,” he said. “I raced in my younger days. In my 20s, I raced for about six years at Mid-Ohio. I sold my car when I started a family and I was lucky enough to find the exact same car and buy it back three years ago. So now I’m racing the same car I raced back then’”
To find the exact car, Clinger said he used Google and found race results and knew the car was still around. He found it in California. The owner passed away and the car ended up in Minnesota and Clinger found it on Craigslist while reading in bed one Sunday night.
“Who would have ever thought,” he said.
Clinger said he enjoyed his time working in the banking world. “
“I’ll miss the customers, but I sure won’t miss the paperwork,” he said with a chuckle.
Clinger’s last day at Galion Building and Loan will be Friday, May 29, and according the Galion Building and Loan Facebook page, the bank will honor him with a tribute. More information about his final day will be coming soon.