Hometown Man Loves Mint Hill and the People in It
Mike Cochrane never considered being a banker. In fact, he was attending Toccoa Falls Baptist College to become an elementary school teacher, until he ran out of money and had to leave. But even then, banking was not in the picture. He went to work at Westinghouse as a machinist, and THAT’S what led him to a career in banking. He overheard a conversation the hiring manager of the American Bank and Trust was having about needing repairs on his riding lawnmower. Mike said he could help the man with his machine, and in turn, Mike was hired as a management trainee. Not being from the industry, he had to learn from scratch. They assigned him to two weeks in each position (teller, collections, etc.) until he covered the gamut of banking positions and was ready to move into management.
Mike was witness to many name changes and buyouts. American Bank and Trust became United Carolina Bank in 1986, followed by The American Commercial Bank, through which he opened the first Mint Hill Branch. “It was a big thing,” he said, “there was not one bank in this whole town before that.” He was then with the South Trust Bank and again was responsible for bringing another bank to Mint Hill. Another name change in 1999 led to to the American Community Bank in Monroe, and in 2002, you guessed it, he brought another bank to Mint Hill (What DID the good people of Mint Hill do before Mike?)
In 2010, they became Yadkin Bank, and in 2016 were bought out by the First National Bank, as it still remains today. You can see it near the corner of Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Lebanon.
All through these transitions, Mike was loving his job and the people he encountered, and he was moving up the ranks until he became the Sr. Vice President Market Executive of Commercial Business Development. A retirement party was held for him at FNB, where the room was filled with well wishers and customers who had become good friends with Mike. “He is probably the friendliest man I’ve ever met,” one party attendee said, and another said “Mike is the kind of person you like the moment you meet him. He’s so genuine–the real thing.” There is no doubt Mike will be sorely missed at First National Bank, by employees and customers alike.
Although Mike is retiring, he is not saying good-bye to the Mint Hill community. He is not retiring from opportunities to have one-on-one contact with people he knows (and has yet to meet) and with helping others. He will be helping with some family needs, and plans to do more civic and town participation. In addition, he will have more time to help out his church, Indian Trail Baptist, where he is a deacon. He has been in the Mint Hill Business Assn. for 19 years, is a past member of the Rotary, and is the longest standing member of the Lions at 38 years. He will be able to spend more time with his wife, Ann, his three children, his four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He hopes to do some traveling as well.
Mike is thankful for the people he worked with and the people he worked for, and sent a special shout out to his boss, George Searle.
What does Mike think about his career? “I think it was a success because I enhanced the lives of other people as best I could,” Mike said. “I believe I left behind a clean house and happy people.”