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Citizens welcomes Coleman
Longtime local banker praised for commitment
ruby coleman 2 jd
Citizens Bank President Tim Perry, left, chats with Ruby Coleman, who recently joined the staff at the bank. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)
Banks often change names and owners these days, but one name has remained constant in Forsyth County — Ruby Coleman.

The county native has been involved in local banking since the opening of Forsyth County Bank in 1964.

She stayed at that building through its changes, most recently to Wachovia, but starting this week Coleman can be found at a new spot in town.

She’s taken a position with Citizens Bank of Forsyth County, the place she hoped to hear from when she left her longtime former location.

“I knew where I wanted to go,” she said. “When I came down here to talk with Tim [Perry, president of the bank], it was like coming in to Forsyth County Bank ... I felt just like I’d come home again.”

Perry said he called Coleman to find out her future plans the day after he heard she was leaving Wachovia.

“I don’t need to interview you, I’ve known you my whole life,” Perry said he told her.

Her arrival at Citizens Bank has been a homecoming for both of them.

Perry went to Coleman when he opened his first checking account at age 18.

“She told me to be sure I deposit money in it before I write checks,” said Perry, adding that Coleman had been a positive role model in his life and banking career.

He began learning the trade under her wings at Forsyth County Bank, where he spent a few summers working while in college.

Several other Citizens Bank employees have also worked with Coleman before, which was one of the main reasons she wanted to work there.

Coleman said it’s her love of the people she’s met that kept her interested in banking. While many of them are people she’s worked with, even more have been her customers.

In fact, some of her most loyal customers have come with her to Citizens.

“When you say customer service representative, that defines Ruby,” Perry said.

Her friendly and helpful attitude has been a staple since she began in the industry.

When Brenda Bagby sat down for her interview at Forsyth County Bank, she said Coleman came over to her and eased her nerves.

“She’s real special to a lot of people,” she said. “She makes you feel real comfortable.”

After working together for more than 25 years, the two became close friends.

Coleman’s friendly attitude isn’t reserved for co-workers, though. Bagby said Coleman has kept involved in the lives of customers.

“She was trusted,” Bagby said. “Everybody knew that she would do all she could for them.”

Charles Ingram, a former president of Forsyth County Bank, said Coleman knew all her clients by name.

“She was one of the best assets we had,” he said. “She more or less ran the bank.”

Ingram, who’s now on the Citizens Bank board of directors, said the institution is lucky to have such a “fine lady” working for them.

He also said the bank would allow her to return to her career roots.

“She’s back in the smaller bank, in the community bank atmosphere now,” Ingram said. “That’s where her bread and butter is.”

Coleman said she’s excited to get back to work after taking the summer off to spend time with her grandchildren.

Banking has been a part of her life since she was 19 and began work at an Atlanta bank, simply because she needed a job.

She had a brief stint working at a car dealership doing billing. Other than that, however, she’s been keeping the books at banks for more than 45 years.

Coleman said she remembers working the lone drive-up window at Forsyth County Bank, proofing the work, running it through bookkeeping and keeping track of accounts by posting them by hand.

“Then after we got through with the checks and the deposits, do you remember how we used to file them?” she said. “By name. Not by number, by name.”

Coleman took to the work with ease, helping customers and managing numbers, things she said came naturally.

She still knows the original account numbers of some Forsyth County Bank clients.

Though the number of customers and county’s population have increased, Coleman has been a familiar face for many throughout the years.

“We are very excited to have Ruby join our banking family,” Perry said. “Her commitment to this banking community is unparalleled.”