Once a country boy thrown into bookkeeping, Mark Londagin of Grove, continues to rise in the banking world. 

The executive vice president of First National Bank, was elected on May 24 to serve a three-year term on the Oklahoma Bankers Association Board of Directors.

Londagin, one of six directors elected, said his goal as a board member is to assist in convincing lawmakers of the important role community banks play in the nation's economy.

Londagin said from 1985 to 2015, the number of community banks in the U.S. decreased by about 10,000 branches.

Community banks make 50 percent of all small-business loans, and 90 percent of all agricultural loans, Londagin said.

He said the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010 contributed to the decrease, which started before the act, but accelerated two-times as fast, afterward.

The act imposed regulation and compliance laws on community banks, hindering bankers' ability to make home and business loans, Londagin said.

“I would like to see community banks preserved,” Londagin said. “It reminds me of the show ‘Cheers.’ You walk into a community bank and everybody knows your name.”

Londagin said he favors community banks because of his father. A man of many trades, Londagin's father owned a gas station, used-car lot and poultry farm, and banked at a community bank.

 “Community banks have supported my family since the 1960s to accomplish their vision and goals,” Londagin said.

But being a banker was not always his career goal.

Londagin said he idolized his basketball coach and FFA Instructor in high school, so he planned to follow of the career paths of either Ronnie Enyart or Bill Earp.

That changed at the end of his senior year. Londagin visited Ross Stout, then president of Arkansas State Bank in Siloam Spring, Arkansas. Londigan wanted to get him out to buy steer he was showing at the Delaware County Fair premium sale.

On the way out, Stout told him to pick up an application to work at the bank. 

Londagin said he graduated from high school on a Friday in 1979 and went to work at the bank in bookkeeping the next Monday.

A first-generation college student, Londagin earned an associate degree in agricultural economics from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami and a bachelor’s degree in banking in finance from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

“I was determined to further my education in some form or fashion,” Londagin said. “And my family encouraged me.”

After college, Londagin began working as a teller at Grand Savings Bank in Grove in 1984. He eventually assumed the role of president of the bank, serving until 2015.

Londagin will attend his first board of director’s meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 30. He will also participate in the Oklahoma Bankers Association’s annual visit to Washington, D.C., in October, where the board will meet with lawmakers and officials from financial entities, such as the Department of the Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

When he is not working, Londagin enjoys running and biking with his wife, Julie Londagin, and son, Spencer Londagin.  

He said he started running when he was 28 because he was “a little overweight and out of shape.” He runs about three half-marathons a year in cities such as Las Vegas, Nashville, Joplin, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

“It’s fun to go to different cities and run through their neighborhoods and downtown streets,” Londagin said.  

Londagin said he has made great friends through biking. He started mountain biking in the late 1980s, but switched to road biking because “you move faster.”

He mostly participates in 100-mile rides, such as the Land Run 100 in Stillwater, and just recently he took part in Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, peddling 106 miles on Saturday, June 10, and 40 miles on Sunday, June 11.