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Hahn retires from banking after nearly half a century

Larry Hahn retires from Frst National Bank in Wadena after nearly 50 years.

Larry D. Hahn retired from the First National Bank in Wadena on Dec. 31, completing nearly 50 years in the banking world.

He began his banking career Oct. 10, 1960, when he received a job at the Marquette National bank in downtown Minneapolis. He left his family's home north of Verndale, riding down to the Cities with a family friend. It wasn't until Hahn received his first paycheck that he was able to rent a room for $8 a week from a widow in south Minneapolis. He rode the bus back and forth to work until he could afford a car of his very own.

His career first began as a bank messenger, which was the lowest position there was. His starting salary was $195 a month. After just three months as a messenger, he was promoted to the safe keeping department, which he said was a very interesting job. He held that position for three years, and then was promoted to the loans and discount department.

In June 1965, he accepted a job offer from Alan Pettit at the First National Bank in Verndale. He was employed there for 26 years. On April 9, 1992, he moved on, accepting a job at the First National Bank in Wadena, working for both Alan and his son, Scott Pettit. His position there was as an agriculture loan officer. He kept that position for nearly 18 years.

After 49 years and 3 months, Hahn said he felt that it was time to retire from the banking business. With all the projects he had kept on hold for a number of years, he felt it was time to "take some time" for get those jobs done. Hahn admitted he doesn't know how quickly he'll get to them, though.

Looking back, Hahn reminisced about all the changes now in the way banks are doing business. He said it's hard to believe all the work was accomplished without computers back in the 1960s. All loans were typed up on a typewriter. The interest accumulated on all the loans was calculated using a simple adding machine. Hahn said it was an "unwritten rule" to always have someone else double-check the calculations to make sure they were right.

All in all with the many years in his work, it was a great education and learning experience for him, he said, including the opportunity to meet so many good and hard-working people over those past 49-plus years.

Hahn said he's quite sure he'll miss the everyday communication with those customers and his fellow employees. He said he'd like to know that he contributed good to the local community and that he helped make a difference in the lives of his many faithful customers and friends.