WesBanco market president says farewell

PARKERSBURG – Today will mark the last day for Larry G. Johnson at WesBanco after working for the company for 40 years.

A retirement reception was held Monday at WesBanco’s Market Street offices for Johnson, who has served as market president of the Parkersburg Region of Wesbanco Bank Inc. Representatives from WesBanco’s corporate offices in Wheeling made a presentation to Johnson for his years with the company.

Johnson started working at WesBanco on May 1, 1973, when it was Commercial Banking and Trust Co. He also worked two years for the FDIC.

”(Today) I will finish up my 40 years here in the same building,” Johnson said. ”I have been here for 40 years in a variety of roles.”

He spent 25 years with Commercial Banking and Trust Co. and the last 15 with WesBanco since its acquisition of Commercial BancShares Inc. in 1998.

Johnson turned 65, the traditional retirement age for many people, in January. He thought he would work until he reached that 40-year mark. The bank had its annual meeting recently. He has been serving as the corporate secretary and it gave the organization a chance to elect someone new and restructure duties.

He wanted to retire at a point he could still take an active part in things that interested him and his wife, Rachel, in the community, like volunteer work and being active at Christ United Methodist Church. He also wants to remain active in the Lions Club.

They have family around the area and they are interested in doing some traveling at some point.

”I am from Parkersburg,” Johnson said. ”I don’t plan to go anywhere else, because I am committed to this area.

”I like the people and associations I have made and the groups I have worked with and known. We are going to be in town and around. I look forward to living the rest of my life here in Parkersburg.”

In looking back over his career, the biggest change in banking has been the implementation of banking regulations over the years.

”It has to be the persuasiveness of regulations,” he said.

When he started as a bank examiner, before coming to the bank, Johnson had the FDIC regulations in a little book that was probably an inch-and-a-half to two inches thick.

”By the time I came to the bank, it was two books, three inches thick each,” he said.. ”Now, they are talking about 10,000 pages coming out.

”The regulations have grown so tremendously and made it so much more difficult.”

Johnson said bankers still want to take care of customers and their needs in terms of lending and deposit products.

”You just get tied up in the regulations,” he said. ”It is going to just get worse, not better.”

To those who have worked for him, Johnson was always fair.

”Larry has been a wonderful boss,” said Rayna O’Dell, assistant vice president of WesBanco’s Ravenswood Office. ”He was always fair.

”That is what you want in a boss. He has always listened to me. He may not have done everything I wanted him to do, but he always listened and that is important when someone works for you.”

Johnson said he will miss the people the most, the customers, the employees and the people throughout the community he has regularly come into contact with through his position with the bank.

”I will miss the friends I see everyday and all the people you see on a daily basis,” he said.