While Loren Cronin, 56, president of First United Bank, is not native to Pauls Valley, he feels more at home on Oklahoma soil than any other state.
Cronin came to Pauls Valley in 2002 when he transferred from Durant’s First United location where he started in 2000, though he was familiar with Garvin County through his former job at Farm Credit. He started his banking career in 1978 and though he has seen his fair share of changes over the years, the most recent adjustments have been the most difficult to keep up with.
There is not many farms or ranches that Cronin has not set foot on, which also makes him popular through organization’s like 4-H, and said the best part of being in the banking business has been seeing people reach that point where they can support themselves. First United gained a major foothold in Pauls Valley when it bought First National Bank, which is now city hall, in 1996 and has helped several business gain a foothold in the area since then.
“Helping people and watching them achieve their financial goals is the best part,” said Cronin. “It’s great to see a new business start up and then become independent.”
Cronin also spends his spare time helping with several organizations around town including being a member of the Pauls Valley Rotary Club, Bosa foundation board member as well as trustee, Pauls Valley Industrial Corporation president, the Recreation Committee, chamber of commerce board member and Pauls Valley General Hospital board member. As a result, he said the hardest thing to do as a community member is say no when organizations seek help.
“The warmth and the welcome are the first things you see when you come to town,” said Cronin. “They just want you to be a part of the family.”
When Cronin isn’t offering financial assistance or working through a community organization he said he is a rather avid hunter and outdoorsman, though camping out is less common nowadays. He has been to several states hunting or fishing for just about anything and even has plans to help with a youth spring turkey hunt this weekend as well as go to the Yukon later on.
“I used to pack in and carry everything we had with us, though at my age that cabin gets to be more enjoyable,” Cronin said while laughing. “I still enjoy doing it, but I’m kind of a fair weather guy now.”
Though he has slowed down a bit from younger days, Cronin also enjoys several athletic activities from swimming to cycling. He said at one point he was even in the same race as Lance Armstrong before he became famous back in the 1980s.
Cronin said he plans on sticking to the area for the long haul and said there is many reasons for people to do what they need to in the region. He said when he isn’t appreciating progress like the toy museum or building of the new recreation center he loves to simply drive down the brick streets.
“If I don’t find a cave in the mountains, I’ll stay here,” said Cronin. “There is nothing like watching the crops grow in the Washita Valley.”