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End of an era for Florida banking icon

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Posted at 8:44 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-02 17:14:44-04

TAMPA — She started off counting cattle and ended up counting deposits at community banks across the state.

“I'm so enthusiastic every day that I walk in and I share with my associates, 'if you don’t love what you are doing 80% of the time than most likely you aren’t doing the right thing,'” said Rita Lowman, president of Pilot Bank.

Lowman is a long way from her first job, working on the family farm, in her home state of Georgia.

“I never realized I could go into a board room and be president of a bank," said Lowman. “It was more of a men's world and it still is."

She even wrote a book about it, “From the Farm to the Boardroom.”

“I had a talent that I feel is still there for being able to develop people, I love developing emerging leaders,” said Lowman.

If you ask her colleagues, it’s Lowman who is the ultimate leader and she has the resume to prove it.

“Being the chair of the Florida Bankers Association was probably the highlight of my career because I was the third woman in 130 years to take on that responsibility and really fight for our industry,” said Lowman.

The wife of 50 years and mother of two, was also the first woman to chair the board of directors for the Outback Bowl.

“I have a very special word and that is “cause” and we all have a cause to be the best we can be,” said Lowman.

During her 45-year-career Lowman has turned around five different banks, all in the state of Florida, but this December she plans to walk away from Pilot Bank.

“I would stay in banking until I was 100 if I felt like I could do that and have the stamina, but again I want to do the right thing for the industry, I’ll still be an advocate,” said Lowman.

Lowman said she doesn’t like the word “retirement,” because when it comes to inspiring others, she has no plans of slowing down.

“She looks for people just to help out, and she’s done that for me and many many people at our institution, and anybody that needs the help and support she is there for them,” said Pilot Bank colleague Laura Schaffer.

“To know that I touched one person then it was worth it,” said Lowman.