M. Ray (Hoppy) Cole, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and President of The First, A National Banking Association, headquartered in Hattiesburg, has been elected Treasurer of the Mississippi Bankers Association (MBA) for 2019-2020.
As MBA Treasurer, Cole serves on the association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The MBA is a statewide trade association whose membership includes commercial banks and savings institutions operating in Mississippi. MBA members hold more than 95 percent of the bank deposits in the state.
Cole began his banking career in 1985 as a corporate banking officer at FNBC in New Orleans. In 1989, he joined Sunburst Bank Laurel as Market President. Cole then moved to The First, N.A., in 2003 as Branch Manager in Picayune, then Gulf Coast Regional Manager, and he assumed the role of CEO and President in 2009. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
Cole has previously served on the MBA Board of Directors from 2014-2017 and was Chairman of the association’s Dues Study Committee in 2015. He has also served on the MBA Legislative Committee. He is actively involved in his community through Venture Church and the Rotary Club. His serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Area Development Partnership, and he serves on the boards of the Mississippi Aquarium, and the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation.
Cole resides in Hattiesburg with his wife, Cindy. They have four sons, Keith Farrish, Dusty Farrish, Mit Cole, and Drew Cole, and three granddaughters, Emma Claire Cole, Evvi Cate Cole, and Vivian Ruth Cole.
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