The Piedmont Journal

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December 21, 2014

Farmers & Merchants Bank was founded by Lin Latta’s great-grandfathers

Five generations of bankers

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 4:31 pm

So far, there have been five generations of bankers in Lin Latta’s family at Farmers & Merchants Bank. He’s hoping his 3-year-old grandson Cade will make it six.

Latta comes from a long line of bankers, entrepreneurs and lawyers. There were four generations of lawyers on his father’s side of the family, including his father, who later became a banker. His ancestors can be traced back to the Civil War.

The bankers and entrepreneurs came from his mother’s side. Latta’s two great-grandfathers, C. N. Thompson and John Barlow, founded Farmers & Merchants Bank in Piedmont in 1915. It will celebrate its 100th birthday next year.

Standard-Coosa-Thatcher Cotton Mill, which supported generations of families in Piedmont, was founded by Latta’s great-great-grandfather, Jacob Barlow.

“The bank and the cotton mill were always close,” said Latta.

Latta was born in Dyersburg, Tenn., where his father was a lawyer. When Latta’s maternal grandfather, Walt Thompson, died in 1953, Latta’s father left the law profession, and the family moved to Piedmont so he could help run the family-owned Farmers & Merchants Bank. Latta was two-years-old at the time.

Latta has worked at Farmers & Merchants since 1977. He said he’s proud of the bank’s reputation and its 52 employees in four locations -- Piedmont, Jacksonville, Anniston and Oxford.

“I like helping people succeed,” said Latta. “I think a city without a community bank is somewhat at a disadvantage. Every city needs a community bank to be strong. We’ve been here for almost a 100 years.”

Latta’s parents are the late Granger and Peggy Latta. His sisters are Margaret Whorton of Centre and Mary Watson and Betty Rankin of Piedmont. Betty is head of human resources and serves as vice president, and Mary is a teller at Farmers & Merchants. Margaret is a retired school teacher and currently sells real estate in Centre.

Latta serves on the finance committee and administrative board of the First United Methodist Church, which he’s been attending since the age of 2.

He’s been a member of the Lions Club for the past 30 years and is serving his second term on the Piedmont City Board of Education.

He enjoys golf and traveling. He said he enjoyed a Baltic Sea cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia, probably more than anywhere else’s he’s been.

“It’s a beautiful city and with all the Czar’s palaces,” he said. “It’s extraordinary. The people were very nice. We had to go through Russian guards, and they were standoffish.” 

Latta also enjoys going in old historic hotels. He has gone to The Breakers, The Broadmoor, The Empress, The Hotel Del Coronado, Le Chateau Frontenac and close by, the Peabody Hotel and Hermitage Hotel.

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