Debbie Shelton considers the INB Montvale Branch like “her first child.” After joining the newly established bank in 1999, her first job was to establish a Springfield branch at the then-new Montvale Commons.
And like a kid cements you to a community, INB’s Montvale Branch cemented INB to the community.
Even today, Debbie says, “People don’t leave Montvale,” referring to both bank employees and customers. “Part of the job is to get to know your customers,” she says. “When we first opened, we worked hard getting people excited to be part of this bank. We wanted to help make the community a better place to live. We wanted to help grow with our customers’ families.”
On a personal level, Debbie, who served as Montvale branch manager, very much wanted INB to be a respected name. She’d been part of “big bank” banking in the late 80s and early 90s, and she didn’t like it. When she was asked to join INB and, as she put it, “help customers again,” she didn’t have to think long about her decision even though she had young children still at home. “I just knew it couldn’t go wrong,” she says. “I wanted to be part of the winning team.”
And that was easy given the team she was not only working for, but the team she was allowed to build. “That was exciting,” she says. “We hand-picked staff people who are still here today . . . we created a dream bank.”
Debbie notes it was “a dream” to get to set up the Montvale facility. She had a hand in everything from the way the teller lines and offices were set up to hiring an artist to create artwork for the space.
Just as business was slow at the downtown location when it first opened, so was Montvale. And then it happened. “One day we looked out and saw a car in every drive-up lane! On my gosh, the drive-up was full!!” Debbie knew they’d found success.
Because Debbie was so good at what she did, she was eventually asked to move to the bank’s Wabash location in 2005. Though she was sad about leaving her “first baby,” she knew she left it in capable hands. She only recently turned in her key to the facility.
Today, Valerie Woodrum is our Montvale Branch Manager. She began working there 14 years ago as a teller. As she describes it, she grew up at the location. “When I started I had no kids, no house. Since then, I got married, have two kids, bought a house and built a house.”
She says the atmosphere at INB Montvale is very positive. “We love each other, we take care of each other. Our work family is our family. Our customers are family, too.”
To illustrate her point, she tells some very touching stories. “We have a customer whose mother has banked with us for a while, and (the mother) is fighting alcoholism.” Valerie goes on to explain she’s helping the daughter get her mother’s accounts in order since she now needs to manage them. The daughter is struggling how to handle the situation; Valerie and others on the Montvale staff are helping her through the difficult time. Valerie says, “Yesterday, the daughter brought us flowers as a thank you.”
On a lighter notes, she talks about a customer who watches The Walking Dead, as do many employees. The customer comes by the branch after each week’s episode to discuss it. “I hear him and the staff outside my office. They’re laughing, they’re talking. They’re having a great time. The customer wants to come see us and talk to us about the show.” When that’s done, he also conducts a little banking!
Though she’s taken on new roles over the years, Valerie still enjoys getting up from her desk and working the teller line. It’s a chance to meet and greet the customers she’s made part of her work family.