Wisconsin's bankers are the definition of "community advocates" in all that you do every day to improve your local economy through your bank's products and services, as well as through your generous philanthropy of time and money. This column shares and celebrates the diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and innovation of some of the extraordinary bankers in this state.
The following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Superior Savings Bank President/CEO Dawn Staples.
Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?
Dawn: After graduating from WITI-Superior from the Account Clerk program, I interviewed (and was hired) for a teller position with Superior Savings Bank in December 1985. It has been a very interesting and rewarding 34 years at the bank.
What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?
I have loved the variety of tasks and all of the different positions that I have held at the bank. In 1985, tellers not only processed customer transactions, but opened new accounts and had many other clerical duties to fill their day. Since August of 2016, I have been President/CEO and have had the opportunity to continue to meet with commercial, mortgage, and consumer loan customers as well as conduct the day-to-day management of the bank.
What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?
The balance between deposits and loan demand, and the need to attract or run off deposits as that balance changes. The way banks control their deposit levels through the interest rates they pay compared to their local competitors. Banks ask customers for so much information at deposit account opening and when applying for a loan because of the requirements of government regulation. Banking is one of the most highly regulated industries in the nation. Banks are trying to stay relevant in a cloud-based world by providing an adequate amount of face-to-face customer attention coupled with the latest electronic banking services.
Where do you believe the industry's greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?
Continuing consolidation of the smaller financial institutions as a result of both compliance costs and inability to keep up with the larger financials in relation to technology—both internal and what is offered to the customers. Also, banks are working hard to compete with "non-bank" companies that provide deposit and loan products similar to those offered by banks.
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your work as a banker?
My current role at Superior Savings Bank is President/CEO. One of the most memorable customer interactions that I have had was the day a customer came in to speak with me 15 years after originally receiving her first home loan. When she was in to make her final payment, she asked to speak with me and said, "I don't know if you remember me or not, but 15 years ago you gave me a loan for my first home. I just want to thank you for giving a chance to a single mom who didn't know anything about loans. Being able to have purchased my own home changed me and my kids' lives." This is why I love being part of the banking industry!
Do you know a banker who should be recognized as a Community Advocate for the work that they do? Nominate them today by emailing Rose!