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Former bank CEO starts over

READ MORE: Former Bank CEO Starts Over

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's become a familiar story for many as the nation struggles with a devastating economy: losing your job and having to start over from square one. Rick Willetts was the head of Cooperative Bank. Last June the bank collapsed; the tough economy devouring what he had taken so much pride in.

"I'm a third generation of my family to run the bank," Willetts said. "That's the only job I ever wanted growing up. As a little boy people wanted to become a policeman or firemen, but I never wanted to be anything but the president of the bank."

Willetts and his staff of more than 200 were unemployed when Cooperative Bank closed. The time off allowed him to spend some much needed time with family he says. Several months later Willetts got the opportunity to get back on his feet.

"I was approached by Ron Copley, who's been a friend for many years, and asked me to consider joining his firm, a wealth management firm," Willetts said.

Willetts went from CEO to a partner, basically starting over, but he says the path ahead is promising.

"I'm thankful that I have some skills and some friends that have enabled me to pick myself up and move forward in what I believe is a real good opportunity for me," he said.

Willetts said though it was tough seeing his bank close, the experience made him realize what's most important in life: family.

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