United States of Work

Meet Kate, 24, new account representative at a bank

Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar Feb 18, 2020
Matt Staver
United States of Work

Meet Kate, 24, new account representative at a bank

Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar Feb 18, 2020
Matt Staver

We talked to 10 people who roughly represent the 164 million-person U.S. labor force. Ten stories, one question: “Is the economy working for you?” Meet Kate.

  • Name: Kate Bellino
  • Occupation: New account representative, FirstBank Colorado
  • Based in: Centennial, Colorado
  • Daily commute: 20 minutes, depending on traffic
  • Age: 24

The numbers on Kate

  • Kate’s job broadly falls into “sales and office occupations,” along with the work of about 20% of the labor force. Those jobs include telemarketers, cashiers, mail carriers, receptionists and a range of others. 
  • Kate is working on her bachelor’s degree and has plans to continue in an education and training program provided by her workplace. Of workers over the age of 25, a little over 25% have only a bachelor’s degree.

Kate is a new account representative at FirstBank Colorado, a job she started in May 2019 after hearing good things about the workplace culture at the bank. Previously, she had been building a career in wedding planning but had decided to change directions. She was looking for a job that would offer more competitive pay and offered a tuition reimbursement program. While she’s working full time at FirstBank, Kate is finishing up a bachelor’s degree in business and then has plans to enroll in FirstBank’s management training program. She’s learning more about personal finance in her job and is currently working on paying off her student loans and starting to save up to buy a house.

What kind of training did you have to do to get your job?

Training within FirstBank is incredible. On the market side of operations, I participated in a week’s worth of teller training at our headquarters location in Lakewood. Once my teller training was complete, I engaged in another week’s worth of training at my specific branch location, where I learned more about being a teller and operations between the New Accounts department and the teller line. Since our branch is fairly small, about 12 employees, it’s important for representatives working in the lobby to also know how to jump in and help out should the teller line get crazy. I took additional new account classes at headquarters as well as weekly check-ins with my mentor for the first month or so. Working in a bank requires a vast understanding of federal regulations as well as our own financial institution’s policies, therefore training is never truly complete, and there is always more to learn. A type of environment I truly thrive in. I love learning.

When you were a kid, what job did you think you were going to have when you grew up?

I went through several phases of what I thought I would do when I grew up. I wanted to be a concert pianist, a restaurant manager, and a wedding planner — I NEVER imagined finding a passion within a financial institution, yet here we are.

What’s the one tool you can’t do your job without?

 My computer. My computer gives me access to all the programs I need in order to help my customers with any and all situations they bring my way.

What’s the hardest part of your job that people don’t know?

There’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be completed every day in order for our branch to operate smoothly. Even though we might not have a customer at our desk, this doesn’t necessarily mean we aren’t working. It’s rare to have down time, and if I end up finishing my projects and the bank is slow, I always find ways to help out other co-workers, finish other operational projects or take more classes/tests to further my knowledge and understanding of working for a financial institution, and specifically FirstBank.

What was your first job?

After crashing into my dad’s brand-new truck (sorry again, Dad) at 16, I needed to find a job to pay for the damages. I started working at Mount Vernon Country Club in Golden, Colorado, as a back-waiter, moving into a serving position, and finishing as a bartender over a span of four and a half years.

Click the media players below to hear how Kate’s story evolved:

February 2020 ^
March 2020 ^
May 2020 ^
Sept 2020 ^

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