By ROBERT CODEMO
Kim Weishaupt has worked in the banking industry for 21 years. She attended Lewis and Clark Community College, and after her children were born stayed home and ran an at-home daycare. Once they were in school, she wanted to get out of the house and talk with adults for a change.
She applied at Boatmen’s Bank and was hired as a teller and within a few months was promoted to personal banker. She was named top banker and promoted to branch manager.
“I was presented with an opportunity and said yes,” she said.
After a merger, a friend suggested she talk with Southwest Bank, and she was hired as a regional manager. From there, she went on to BMO Harris bank.
“I didn’t want to work for a large bank,” she said, and applied at First Bank.
A fourth-generation, family-owned bank, First Bank is not a typical bank, she said. It truly is family owned and operated, and decisions are made by the family for the health of the company, not shareholders.
The bank believes in doing the right thing, she said. After going through six mergers, Weishaupt has had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and to see how banks conduct themselves. Here, everyone truly respects each other and works together to succeed.
She was thrilled when she was hired and works out of the Jerseyville office. A regional manager, she oversees 12 branches from Greenville to Wentzville, Mo. “It’s a diverse market,” she said.
She loves what she does.
“It’s never boring,” she said. “It’s always changing,” and she has no plans to leave.
Her responsibilities include overseeing security, operations, sales, client satisfaction and training.
“Coaching is my No. 1 priority,” she said. A majority of her time is spent out in the field, and she learns a lot from her teams.
Her advice to women who want to work in the banking industry is to give it everything you’ve got. Banks promote from within so if you make yourself valuable, the opportunities will come. If there’s something you want to learn, figure out how to learn it and don’t wait for training.
Most people don’t understand the road women take to get where they’re at. It’s a different career path than men. As a coach, it’s her job to empower employees and show them how to get where they want to go. “I get a personal high from that,” she said.
Asked if there was a need for more women in leadership roles, she concurred.
“Women bring a different perspective,” she said. Because women work their way up through the ranks, women understand the inner workings of the industry and are the best to make decisions.
She has found that as women have moved into leadership roles, assistants have disappeared. Men still have assistants, but women do everything themselves.
“Women manage just fine,” she said, but it can be challenging.
The bank is very involved with the community, and donates sweat equity.
“We want to be part of it,” she said. “We don’t hand over money and walk away.”
One of the organizations the bank is involved with helps women buy cars to get to work. Once a woman comes through their doors, she’s part of the family and the bank remains in contact with her. Another organization the bank supports is Junior Achievement.
Each branch looks at the community where its located to see where the need is greatest and where it can have the most direct impact. “We do a lot of financial literacy,” she said. Most people don’t understand finances and that how they handle their money has consequences.
“We take care of people,” she said.
She lives in Brighton with her husband and three daughters.
Modern times: Key moments in banking history
1949 - Diner’s Club is established, providing a universal, third-party credit card. People begin carrying credit cards.
1950s - In an effort to lure new customers and remain compliant with Regulation Q, also called “the Toaster Rule,” banks begin offering free gifts to customers for opening accounts.
Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 prohibits bank holding companies headquartered in one state from acquiring a bank in another state unless that other state’s laws authorize the acquisition.
1958 - Bank of America launches a credit card in California. In 1966, the bank licenses BankAmericard, and in 1976, it changes its name to Visa.
1959 - The first ATM in the United States is installed at a shopping center in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
1972 - Northwestern National Bank opens “Future Bank”, a futuristic banking center, with video tellers, “picture phones” and a Total Teller Machine that allows customers to withdraw $100 per day.
1978 - Congress signs the Electronic Funds Transfer act.
1980s - In the advent of deregulation in the finance industry, banks begin offering free checking accounts to customers.
1988 - A new era of banking ushers in a new security hazard, cybercrime. Seven people were arrested for hacking into the First National Bank of Chicago and attempting to transfer $70 million in funds.
1994 - Stanford Federal Credit Union becomes the first institution to offer online banking to all of its members.
2000-2003 - The Federal Reserve extends “easy credit,” lowers the Federal Fund Rate from 6.5 percent to 1 percent and sets up financial “boom”
2007-2010 - Worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Many smaller banks are absorbed by others, which allowed the biggest banks to further consolidate wealth and eliminate competition.
2008 - J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. buys both Washington Mutual (the biggest bank to “fail” in the history of the United States) and Bear Stearns (the fifth-largest investment bank).
2010 - The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act becomes federal law. Most significant changes to financial regulation since the Great Depression.