Dorothy Putt spent the early years of her life dreaming about becoming a nurse. Though that dream never came to fruition, she has spent the last 40 years in the banking business, which she has grown to love.
She grew up in Cabot and has lived there most of her life.
“I was raised here and graduated from Cabot High School in 1966,” Putt said.
After graduating from high school, Putt went to Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway, now the University of Central Arkansas.
She didn’t complete college but moved to Fort Smith for a brief period, where she was a clerk at the hospital.
She then moved back to her hometown, where she applied for a job at a local bank in 1973 when she thought a bank job might be something she could do.
“I started out working at the Bank of Cabot, and it eventually became Centennial Bank in Cabot,” Putt said.
She works at the Centennial Bank location in downtown Cabot.
The bank also offered Putt an opportunity outside of work.
“My [husband’s] aunt worked at the bank with me and mentioned she had a nephew she wanted me to meet,” Putt said.
The two went on a blind date to the bank’s Christmas party.
“I met him, and then we just started dating,” Putt said.
Putt started out working in the proof department, where she processed checks and bank drafts. She then moved to the accounting department, where she worked as a general ledger clerk, with trust services and in bank billing, eventually making her way into the position she’s in now.
“I’ve been a customer-service representative now for 15 years,” she said.
As a customer-service representative, Putt opens checking and savings accounts and certificate-of-deposit accounts.
“[My job] just depends on what needs to be done,” she said.
Since she has been at the bank longer than anyone else who works there, she is often the “go-to gal” when it comes to answering questions.
Though she’s got 40 years of banking in the vault, Putt isn’t looking to retire anytime soon.
“I’m still planning to work for a while,” she said.
Helping the customers she’s come to know in her many years with the bank is the reason she comes to work each day.
“I just have the satisfaction of doing something that benefits [my customers],” Putt said. “I’ve known them for so many years. [They] are like my family.”
With 40 years in the business, Putt said, she’s seen technology change everything when it comes to the banking world.
Typewriters were the main way for information to be entered into the bank’s account-information center when she started with the bank.
“When I started, we typed account information on a card with a typewriter. And if one typewriter didn’t work, we’d just go to another one,” she said. “Now everything is on a computer.”
The thought that one day money would be transferred from account to account with a smartphone never entered Putt’s imagination when she started working for the bank.
In her years with the bank, Putt said, she’s seen it all when it comes to people who come in wanting to deposit money.
“I’ve seen all different types of situations,” Putt said. “I’ve gotten buried money, or money that’s been in a jar for forever and has a musty smell.”
Putt said that other than her job title and the bank’s location, she’s been with the same bank for 40 years. The branch she works in now was previously located near the Cabot Waterworks.
“I’m kind of quiet,” she said. “Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been here for 40 years.”
She liked being in her hometown when her parents got older, and they needed her.
“When my parents weren’t well, I was right here, and it was handy,” Putt said.
In addition to the changes she’s seen in banking over the years, Putt said she’s seen the city change and grow immensely in her 64 years.
“When I grew up, we had dirt roads, and they’re now paved,” she said. “It’s amazing. What used to be a pasture is now a development [in Cabot].” She’s seen the city’s population grow, as well as residential and commercial growth.
“You lose some togetherness [of the city] when it grows, but that’s a part of progress,” Putt said. “Most of the buildings that were there when I was in school aren’t even there anymore. It’s just grown so much.”
When Putt was in grade school, she said grades 1-6 were all in one building.
“Our cafeteria was from war days,” she said.
Her hometown has become her lifelong home, and Putt said she enjoys working with the people she sees on a daily basis.
“There’s a trust relationship that’s involved,” she said.
For every customer she has come into contact with, she’s had to build a relationship.
“I’ve grown with them, and they’ve gotten older, and so have I,” Putt said. “I’ve heard about children and grandchildren from my customers. I’ve helped generations of families.”
The bank will celebrate Putt’s many years of service with a reception in her honor from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the downtown Cabot branch of Centennial Bank.
“This is all very humbling,” Putt said. “I wasn’t wanting to be the center of attention.”