Growing up, Sherri Reagin saw firsthand what it meant to live a life in service to others. The preeminent example was set by her father, whom she described as “a good old-fashioned country doctor.” Today, the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Indiana’s $545 million North Salem State Bank has embraced giving back, which has elevated her profile nationally while still allowing her the ability to focus her attention locally.
Reagin is being recognized by BankBeat magazine as a 2022 “Outstanding Woman in Banking.”
One of those moments of national recognition came just two years ago when NBC’s “Today” show reached out to Reagin for comment on the nationwide coin shortage. Reagin serves on the U.S. Coin Task Force, one of only four bankers in the 22-person group. The call came while she was attending the Indiana Bankers Association Women’s Conference, for which she’s served on the planning committee since its inception.
For a small-town banker to be given a national platform was a thrill, Reagin said, though it demonstrates how “connected community banking is to everything.” And it is in community banking where Reagin is making her mark.
“I feel all roads have led me here,” said Reagin, who started her career in manufacturing and then stretched into public accounting. She was in her early 40s when she joined the North Salem-based bank as controller, responding to a job posting in the local paper. Even though she worked as a bank teller for three summers during college, the initial impression the industry left on her was not one of stability. “I was a teller at the same bank each summer, and each summer the bank had a different name,” she recalled.
She gave the industry a second look in 2011. “I’d always been interested in people,” Reagin said. “That’s why community banking is so fun, working with people but also with numbers.”
In banking, her willingness to serve has opened doors. In addition to helping the IBA plan its annual Women’s Conference, Reagin serves as a member of its Financial Management Committee. For the past five years, she has served on the Bank Operations and Payments Committee of the Independent Community Bankers of America. She also is a founding member of the national Faster Payments Council and a member of the national FedNow Pilot program.
In July 2021, Reagin was appointed to serve a four-year term on the Indiana Board for Depositories, which administers Indiana’s Public Deposit Insurance Fund. And, in November 2021, Reagin was elected to the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. She’s also politically active, faithfully attending Capital Summits with the ICBA and the FHLBI.
Closer to home, Reagin has volunteered with local economic development organizations and the local food bank. The latter, she said, “was eye-opening, the degree of food insecurity there is in our community, and that’s become a passion of mine.”
Reagin considers herself a life-long learner, always striving to do more, to give more. “To whom much is given, much is expected,” she said. “And helping people, it’s connected to what we do in banking.”
Reagin “has a heart for service, is a proven leader and upholds small town values,” said Laura Wilson, vice president of communications at the IBA. “Within Indiana and far beyond, Sherri Reagin is highly regarded and respected for her calm, clear vision and insightful leadership.”
Her leadership chops are not to be missed when recounting her robust resume of service. North Salem State Bank was a five-location, $150 million community bank when Reagin joined in 2011. Today it operates nine locations and has eclipsed the half-billion-dollar mark. All of its growth, she notes, has been organic. In addition to serving as CFO, Reagin is investment officer at the bank, is a director of the bank’s holding company and serves on the board of the bank’s subsidiary, NSSB Investments Inc.
Reagin’s career path has taken some unexpected twists, but her hope is to blaze the trail for women who follow her. “My aspiration is to help women in banking grow, and increase my role as a mentor,” she said. “I’ve been so fortunate with the opportunities I’ve been given.”
The 55-year-old’s career has progressed considerably since she joined banking. And her institution has grown and evolved with her. Reagin is excited to embrace what comes next at the bank, despite the uncertainty found in today’s economic and political landscape.
“Right now none of these things make sense. The political environment, the regulations, it could mean big changes for banks,” Reagin said. “The changing political landscape is something we have to pay attention to. There’s always opportunity for advocacy … you should never turn down an opportunity.”