Linda Leech’s favorite First Southern story doesn’t focus on money at all. Instead, it starts with a cherry Tootsie Pop.

“I was working in Lexington across from the Harrodsburg Road branch, and I wanted to set up direct deposit with my paycheck,” she said. Her husband went by the bank to set up the details, and the teller asked if he wanted a Tootsie Pop.

“Sure!” he said.

“What flavor?” she asked.

“Cherry,” he replied.

A few days later, Linda went through the bank drive-through to finish setting up her direct deposit, and the teller asked if she wanted a Tootsie Pop. Then, she asked if Linda wanted a cherry one to take home to her husband. Considering how many customers come to the drive-through, Linda was taken aback that the teller remembered such a minor detail. “I thought it was amazing!” she said. “We’ve talked about that story forever. It was the nicest thing.”

That is just part of the Leeches’ long history with First Southern. They first came to the bank as customers 25 years ago. “My husband and I moved to Herrington Lake. We wanted to do business locally, so we went to First Southern for our mortgage when we were building our house,” she said. The loan officers met them in Lexington, where they lived at the time, and the personal attention they gave the Leeches exceeded expectations. They were some of the first construction loan customers at the Lancaster branch.

“It’s been wonderful being a customer,” Linda shared. “There has never been a time they haven’t helped us. I don’t see any change from when we were first introduced to First Southern until now; they have the same steady professional service.”

Linda said that her husband was a frequent customer of the Lancaster branch, and he knew the team well. Sadly, he passed away in April 2020. “I had always paid bills, but now I had to do all of the banking as well,” she shared.

Linda with her daughter and son

“We had been in our house for 25 years, and we were getting ready to remodel the bathrooms,” she said. Linda called the bank to learn more about a home equity loan, and FSNB team member Lisa Clark explained the process. Although it was her first time borrowing money on her own, Linda said that “I felt so comfortable, and she made me feel okay with taking out a loan.”

After deciding that she wanted to set up auto-pay from her checking account for both the interest and principal of the loan, Linda called the bank to ask for help. Although initially there were some issues in setting this up, Lisa worked with team member Kara Bastin, and they successfully started the auto-payments that day. “She could’ve put me off, but instead, she took the time to help me, and it made me feel confident,” Linda shared.

Lisa loves to develop relationships with her customers. It was a special joy to work with Linda, and she considers her a friend. “Linda has been a complete pleasure to work with!” Lisa said. “I feel honored that she has the trust and faith in me to help collaborate with her in her financial decisions and navigate this new season of her life.”

Despite the unexpected challenges and loss of the last year, First Southern was able to play a small, supportive role in Linda’s life. Though taking out a loan was a new experience, she has only positive feedback to share about the process with First Southern. “I was so impressed with how quickly they handled it. It made me feel at ease with borrowing money,” she said. “I was blessed to have First Southern taking care of me, and it was a great experience.”