The Women to Watch: No. 20, First State Bank of St. Charles' Luanne Cundiff

Register now

President and CEO, First State Bank of St. Charles

Luanne Cundiff acknowledges that a career in banking was not even on her radar when she entered college some three decades ago.

“The only concrete idea I had was that I wanted to make a difference in whatever field I chose and whatever city I landed in” after graduation, she said.

It was by chance that her school, Western Illinois University, had recently started a banking program led by a former executive at Boatmen’s Bank. Cundiff, who was majoring in finance, decided to enroll in one of his courses and the rest is history.

“After taking a couple of courses, it became clear to me that my initial goal of making a difference and the reality of the profession were one in the same,” she said.

Cundiff, who began her career as a bank examiner, joined First State Bank of St. Charles in 1998 as a vice president and, after steadily moving up the ranks, was named president in 2014 and CEO in 2016.

See the most recent rankings:
Most Powerful Women in Banking
Women to Watch
Most Powerful Women in Finance

In 2017, Cundiff’s first full year as CEO, the bank earned a record $4.1 million, thanks primarily to strong loan growth, and the momentum has continued in 2018. Through the first six months, net income was up nearly 44% over the same period last year, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

The $383 million-asset First State is widely regarded as one of the region’s best corporate citizens, so it’s not a stretch to say that its success can be traced in part to its commitment to the communities it serves.

Last year, employees of the small bank donated nearly 2,500 hours of volunteer service to more than 40 local organizations, and Cundiff herself is one of the most visible leaders in St. Charles County, having served as the immediate past chair of both the county’s economic development center and its workforce investment board. She has twice been named by the readers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as a “Best Volunteer of Charles County.”

“I believe I have a commitment to my community … and to set a service leadership example for my bank team,” Cundiff said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.