Gail Curl

Gail Curl

At the end of 2021, Gail Curl, city president of Metter Bank, was honored by the Georgia Bankers Association for her career which has spanned 50 years in the banking industry. 

The award was presented to Curl at the annual Durden Banking Company Christmas Party held at Beaver Creek Plantation in Twin City. She was congratulated by the bank employees, officers and directors, and stockholders who were present at the event.

From a job to a career

When Curl started her career in banking, she didn’t even know that banking was what she wanted to do to make a living. She was a Metter High School senior who was in the Vocational Office Training (VOT) program under the direction of long-time MHS business teacher Bernice Bland. 

“I worked at Pineland State Bank as a VOT student while I was in high school,” explains Curl. The VOT program is now called Work-Study. It is a sort of hands-on training through which students are able to leave school early to work on-site in a job at a local business.

After graduation from MHS in 1971, Curl, then unmarried, left Pineland Bank and worked for Joe Coursey at Thriftway Grocery Store which was located two doors down from Metter Banking Company. 

“Mr. Dan Parrish Sr.  would come into the grocery store almost every day to buy a snack,” reminisces Curl. “I had been hired as a cashier, so I would talk with Mr. Parrish as his transaction was made.” 

One day, out of the blue, Mr. Parrish asked if the young lady would consider going to work at Metter Banking Company. She answered with a quick, “Yes!”

Mr. Parrish instructed her to see Margaret Parker at the bank. In talking with Parrish and Parker about working at the bank, the older man questioned, “Now, you are not going to work a short time and then leave are you?” 

Curl answered, “I plan to marry James Curl and live in Cobbtown.” 

True to her word, the following year, 1972, she became Mrs. James Curl and the couple took up residence outside of Cobbtown where they have lived and raised their family ever since. 

The family business, Curl’s Body Shop, is located near the family home. She laughs when she adds, “I couldn’t even get James Curl to move to Metter!” 

The Curls will celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary in September 2022.

The man who suggested Curl go to work at Metter Banking Company, Dan Parrish Sr. seemed to want to insure that she learn all that she could about the banking industry. When Parrish’s son, Dan Parrish Jr. arrived at Metter Banking Company, he, too, took her under his wings. 

“Dan Jr. insisted that I be trained in all areas of the bank,” she explains. 

For 18 months, Curl moved through every department in the bank and learned to do as many jobs as possible. According to Curl, “That year and a half of training was more valuable than four years of college!”

The Good ole days!

When Curl thinks about the early days of her banking career, she expresses, “Those were the ‘good ole days,’ but we didn’t know how good it was.” 

The banking industry has changed dramatically over the half century that she has been employed as a banker. 

She gives the example of the paperwork required for a “note,” or loan. 

“Back then, a ‘note’ was one little piece of paper less than a half-sheet in size. It was torn from a pad and required one signature to borrow money to buy a car or a house or whatever.”

Twenty-first century borrowers now must go through multiple pages of legal paperwork. 

“Now a borrower signs his or her name about 20 times to get a loan!”

“So much of banking was done by hand in the past,” says Curl. 

She admits that computers have really changed the banking industry for the better. 

“With the workload in banking today, there is no way it could be done by hand,” she states.

A new banking home

In September 2001, Curl recalls that she was attending a training in Savannah when 9/11 happened. Shortly after that event, she left her position at the large marble-faced building that then housed BB&T, which had purchased Metter Banking Company. (That building is now the home of Hulsey, Tootle & Harrison, CPA.) 

By the end of 2001, she was employed by Metter Bank, a division of Durden Banking Company of Twin City. 

“Bank president G.W. Johnson hired me in November 2001,” she recalls. She said that the home-town bank philosophy of Durden Banking Company was what appealed to her about going to work at the new Metter Bank.

“When Metter Bank started, we were in a little storefront facing the park,” explains Curl. “All we were able to do was take deposits, and the main banking happened in the Twin City home office.” 

Before too long, Metter Bank relocated to a house that sat where the large modern bank is now located on South Lewis Street. She adds, 

“Once Metter Bank moved into the house, we were able to do more banking such as making loans and taking care of other banking business for our customers.” 

In the current bank building, all aspects of banking take place.

It’s all about the people

In thinking back over her years in banking, Curl says the best part has been working with people – customers and co-workers. 

She adds, “I have enjoyed being a part of making dreams come true by helping people get the money they need to buy a car, build a house or get whatever it is that they need.” 

She continues, “I have always worked with a great bunch of people who have been more like family than employees. 

“I had the opportunity to learn from the very best in the banking business,” recalls Curl. 

She started her career with Lanelle Jarriel at Pineland State Bank, and then was trained by banking legends Dan Parrish Sr. and Dan Parrish Jr. at Metter Banking Company. 

She also worked for what she considers three of the best bankers ever, Mike Bowen, Butch Lane and G.W. Johnson. 

Expressing her appreciation, Curl says, “They were all instrumental in my career and taught me so much.”

Curl attributes her family’s support to her successful career. “My greatest blessing in life are my family -- James Curl, my husband, and my two children and their families, son Jeremy Curl and his wife Marcy and their children, Cade and Cathryn, and Jamie Booth, my daughter, and her husband Barry and their children, Boslie and Banks.

When asked what the future brings, Curl admits that she has not set a retirement date. Currently the city president of Metter Bank, she has plenty to do to keep her busy, but she admits she might want to slow down a little in the near future. 

“We don’t know what tomorrow brings,” she surmises. 

“When and if I retire or cut back on work,” she reckons, “I will probably do some traveling with my lifelong friends.” 

She adds that husband James Curl is fine with that because he doesn’t like to get very far from Cobbtown. 

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