By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Diane Sinn’s passion for her career, like interest on a good bank account, has grown through the years. Today, she’s hooked.
Sinn is senior branch manager/vice president at First Bank’s Columbia, Ill., location. She arrived there in November after 22 years in banking.
She started as a part-time teller with Boatmen’s National Bank of Belleville, which eventually became part of Bank of America. She left there in 2003 to work for what used to be Southwest Bank. By the time she left that post she had risen to become a branch manager. That bank transitioned to a BMO Harris Bank. She managed the bank in Belleville and a sister branch in St. Louis before leaving last fall for her new post with First Bank.
Sinn’s Metro East roots serve her well. She was born in Belleville and graduated in 1989 from Belleville East High School. She attended McKendree University for a time before getting caught up in a banking career.
Today, she lives in the St. Clair County community of New Athens with her husband Jay and 10-year-old daughter Madie. Among other things, she is a co-leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.
“Every day is a new day,” she laughed.
Sinn said she never tires of working with the public.
“My favorite part of the job is actually meeting new people,” she said. “Developing long-term relationships with clients that have banked here a long time. And, overall, just being able to help people with their financial needs.”
She said she also loves the small-business aspect.
“That’s one of the reasons I moved to First Bank. I have a very strong comfort level with small business, and I love that First Bank focuses on the small-business clients that have kept our communities going.”
She also likes that First Bank is locally and family owned.
Sinn has two primary duties. One is business development, which calls for her to get out in the community and build relationships. The other is running the day-to-day activities of the branch, located on Main Street in Columbia.
Many people enjoy Columbia for its historic, small-town feel, but they also like it for its proximity to the offerings in St. Louis.
“There are a lot of people in St. Louis and its outskirts moving over here,” she said.
When she’s not being a banker, Sinn spends a lot of time in the yard, gardening and enjoying the outdoors. Her vacations are similarly spent in the fresh air — particularly the beach.
“As long as it’s outside, I’m happy,” she said.