Taylor set for retirement

Published 12:02 am Friday, January 13, 2012

Frank Taylor’s desk this week has been covered in piles of papers to give to various colleagues.

Retirement: Frank Taylor is set to retire today after a career of nearly 55 years in local banks. He currently serves as a vice president of Xenith Bank.

Later today, he’ll turn off his computer in his West Washington Street office for the last time. His co-workers will have a small retirement party for him. He’ll go home and work in the garden rather than behind a desk.

And he’ll try to avoid coming out of retirement, unlike the last two times.

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“This time, it’s for good,” Taylor insists.

After a lifelong banking career of precisely 54 years, six months and two weeks, Taylor is retiring as a vice president of Xenith Bank.

“Now I’ll go home and see what it’s like to do nothing,” Taylor said.

The times sure have changed since Taylor began working for the now-defunct National Bank of Suffolk on July 1, 1957.

“There’s nothing today that even resembles how it was 54 years ago,” he said. “Nothing is done manually anymore.”

He remembers well the days bankers kept track of customer’s accounts in hand-written ledger books and institutions employed runners who walked back and forth between the banks all day long to settle checks.

In fact, being a bank runner as a part-time summer job is how he got into the business.

“It was just a general grunt job,” he said. “But it was $175 a month. It was big money.”

That job turned out to hold the key to his future. He took a full-time gig when the summer was over and worked his way up to become bookkeeper, teller, head teller, teller trainer, operations assistant, branch manager and now vice president.

“I’ve done virtually every job in the bank,” he said.

He’s also worked for virtually every local bank in Suffolk throughout the years. Ten different institutions have been his home at one time or another after buyouts, mergers or retirements. But still, he never had to move his boxes of personal effects very far — practically every one of the banks had a branch within a few blocks of downtown.

“This is my 10th bank, and I’ve been in basically the same place the whole time,” he said.

Though some of the banks didn’t last, many of the friendships and relationships with customers did.

“I’ve always been fortunate to have wonderful people to work with,” he said. “The good Lord has been good. It’s been a good career — it really has.”

As for his plans, he hopes to spend more time with his wife — “We may soon end that if I’m home seven days a week,” he said — and work in his garden more.

As for his co-workers, he’s certain they will be able to carry on his job without missing a beat.

“It’s a never-ending job, but I’m leaving it in capable hands,” he said. “I’m going to miss them.”